India’s gains from British Rule
The debate about British rule in India
Gains from British rule in India:
Social and Cultural gains
Excerpt from Dadabhai Naoroji’s The Benefits of British Rule, 1871
In the Cause of Humanity: Abolition of suttee and infanticide. Destruction of Dacoits, Thugs, Pindarees, and other such pests of Indian society. Allowing remarriage of Hindu widows, and charitable aid in times of famine. Glorious work all this, of which any nation may well be proud, and such as has not fallen to a lot of any people in the history of mankind.
In the Cause of Civilization: Education, both male and female. Though yet only partial, an inestimable blessing as far as it has gone, and leading gradually to the destruction of superstition, and many moral and social evils. Resuscitation of India's own noble literature, modified and refined by the enlightenment of the West.
Politically: Peace and order. Freedom of speech and liberty of the press. Higher political knowledge and aspirations. Improvement of government in the native states. Security of life and property. Freedom from oppression caused by the caprice or greed of despotic rulers, and from devastation by war. Equal justice between man and man (sometimes vitiated by partiality to Europeans). Services of highly educated administrators, who have achieved the above-mentioned results.
Materially: Loans for railways and irrigation. Development of a few valuable products, such as indigo, tea, coffee, silk, etc. Increase in exports. Telegraphs.
Generally: A slowly growing desire of late to treat India equitably, and as a country held in trust. Good intentions. No nation on the face of the earth has ever had the opportunity of achieving such a glorious work as this. I hope in the credit side of the account I have done no injustice, and if I have omitted any item which anyone may think of importance, I shall have the greatest pleasure in inserting it. I appreciate, and so do my countrymen, what England has done for India, and I know that it is only in British hands that her regeneration can be accomplished. Now for the debit side.
Rise of Middle Class and free Press:
Legal and Administrative machinery
The impact of British rule was not uniform, and it depended greatly on the nature of institutional arrangements that the British fostered in different areas. Though British rule established various institutions and developed infrastructure, it was mainly for their economic advantage. And with the rise in Indian Nationalism, this faultline in British rule was recognised and protests against the rule began.
While the British took a lot from India materially, it left India with a functioning democracy and great leaders who could guide India to a new future.
Dadabhai Naroji, in his book The Benefits of British Rule, 1871 wrote:
To sum up the whole, the British rule has been: morally, a great blessing; politically, peace and order on one hand, blunders on the other; materially, impoverishment, relieved as far as the railway and other loans go. The natives call the British system "Sakar ki Churi," the knife of sugar. That is to say, there is no oppression, it is all smooth and sweet, but it is the knife, notwithstanding. I mention this that you should know these feelings. Our great misfortune is that you do not know our wants. When you will know our real wishes, I have not the least doubt that you would do justice. The genius and spirit of the British people is fair play and justice.
Verifying, please be patient.