The process of British conquest of various parts of India extended over a period of nearly a century. The English suffered many diplomatic failures and some military but ultimately emerged victorious. A number of causes explain the victory of the British against their Indian adversaries.
The British were superior in arms, military tactics and strategy. The firearms used by Indian powers in the 18th century were slow firing and cumbersome and were outclassed both in quick firing and in range by European muskets and cannons used by the English. Again European infantry could fire three times more quickly than the heavy Indian forces. Many Indian rulers including Nizams, the Mysoreans and the Marathas imported European arms, employed European officers to train their troops in the use of European arms. Unfortunately Indian military officers and the rank and file could never rise above the level of amateurs and as such could not be match for English officers and trained armies.
The English had the advantage of military discipline. The company ensured loyalty of sepoys by strict discipline and regular payment of salaries. On the other hand most of the Indian rulers suffered the chronic problem of lack of means to pay salaries; some of the Maratha chiefs had to divert their campaigns for collecting revenues on personal retinues or mercenary soldiers who were deficient in military discipline and could mutiny or desert to the enemy when victory seemed doubtful.
The English had the advantage of civil discipline of the Company’s servants. Men of discipline without any hereditary connections or ties directed the Company’s army. Further European military officers were given command of armies only after rigorous discipline; they were reliable as well as skillful and were given overall direction of affairs. In contrast Indian military command was usually given on caste basis to relatives whose military competence was doubtful and who could prove refractory or disloyal to sub serve their personal ambitions.
The brilliant leadership gave the English another advantage. Clive, Warren Hastings, Elphinstone, Munro, Wellesley, Lord Hastings and Dalhousie etc. displayed rare qualities of leadership. They had the advantages of a long list of secondary leaders like Lord Lake, Arthur Wellesley who fought not for the leader but for cause and the glory of their country. The Indian side too had brilliant leaders like Haider Ali, Tipu Sultan, Scindhia, Nana Phadnavis and Ranjit Singh etc. but they more often lacked a team of second line trained personnel. Indian leaders were fighting against one another as against the British.
The British were superior in economic resources. The East India Company never ignored the trade and commerce. Towards the end of the 18th century the company’s foreign trade crossed 10 crores dollars. The East India Company earned enough profits in India to pay dividends to their shareholders and finance their military campaigns in India. England was also earning profits from her trade with the rest of the world. These natural resources in money and troops were available to the British in India in times of need thanks to the advantage of superior sea power that Britain possessed.
Education in British India
The introduction of modern education was an event of great historical significance for India. It was definitely a progressive act of the British rule. Three main agencies were responsible for the spread of modern education in India: the foreign Christian missionaries, the British government and progressive Indians. Christian missionaries, who did extensive work in the sphere of spread of modern education in India, were inspired mainly by a proselytizing spirit to spread Christianity among the people. These missionaries started educational institutions which along with imparting modern secular education also gave religious instructions in Christianity. The British Government was, however, the principal agent in disseminating modern education in India. It established a network of schools and colleges in India which turned out educated Indians well-versed in modern knowledge.
The introduction of modern education in India was primarily motivated by political and public-administrative and economic needs of Britain in India. However, they were convinced that the spread of British culture would bring about a social and political unification of the world.Modern education including online education is beneficial in India, specifically if obtaining a Master of Public Administration, which offers essential and advanced knowledge for forthcoming elected and appointed officials at all levels of government. Persons like Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Keshab Chandra Sen, Rabindra Nath Tagore, Ishwar Chander Vidyasagar, Ranade, Dayanand Saraswati, Ramakrishna Vivekanand, etc. worked towards the establishment of modern education. Modern education had fundamentally different orientation and organization as compared to traditional education. Thus, with the introduction of the Western system of education both the meaning and content of education underwent significant changes.
Modern education was also the medium for spread of modern science and ideas of equality and liberty. It becomes less religious. Besides, many new branches of learning were introduced. The printing press revolutionized the educational system in that the emphasis shifted from personal, oral communication to impersonal communication of idea through books, journals and other media. It brought the sacred scripture within the reach of many castes who had not been allowed by custom to read them. Modern education was gradually thrown by custom to read them. Modern education was gradually thrown open to all castes, religious groups and to women. Education became the basis of exploiting new economic opportunities which were to a large extent caste-free.
Integration of Native States
At the time of Indian independence there were 562 native states in India. These states were ruled by hereditary rulers and had been in existence since ages. The size and strength of native states varied from place to place. The socio-cultural aspects of life also differed from one state to another.
Out of 562 native states 30 were located with in the geographical area of proposed Pakistan and 532 were located within the realms of Indian Union.
The integration of these states was a challenging task because these states were scattered through out the length and breath of India. The native rulers were apprehensive of democratic system of polity being pursued in British India. These native rulers wanted to preserve their traditional rights and privileges and their independent existence.
The British policy had also aggravated their problem because the Mountbatten Plan gave three choices to native states and sovereignty was transferred to them. According to the Mountbatten Plan the native states could join India or Pakistan or could remain independent. This led to tremendous pressure on Congress leadership.
The independent existence of native states would have made Indian freedom meaningless and there could have been complete Balkanization of India. In such a scenario the political stability could have been remained a distant dream in India.
The activities of some of the native rulers had further heightened this fear. Some of the native rulers led by Nawab of Bhopal cherished the dream of creating a third union in India and such efforts had to be crushed immediately.
Sarder Patel shouldered the responsibility of the integration of native states with the Indian Union. He formulated a well thought and multi prolonged strategy to bring about the integration of native states with India. He used the policy of carrot and stick to prevail upon the native rulers to accept their accession to India.
Sardar Patel used the spirit of nationalism to arouse the patriotic sentiments of the native rulers. This technique was quite effective as many of the native states agreed to accept their integration with India.
The native rulers were promised complete safety of the traditional privileges and influence. Privy purse was guaranteed to them and their rights was accepted over the properties controlled by them at that time. This policy of conciliation was highly successful.
Sardar Patel also used pressure quite effectively to force the native rulers to sign the instrument of accession. They were threatened with mass agitation and popular revolt. They were also pressurized by the threat of military action and the combined effect of policy of carrot and stick produced remarkable result.
The problem created by the native states of Junagarh and Kashmir clearly reveals the challenge of the task of integration of native states. Sardar Patel succeeded in integrating the states of Junagarh and Hyderabad by using mass revolt and police action assertively but the integration of Kashmir proved to be most troublesome.
Though Raja Hari Singh signed the instrument of Accession on Oct 26,1947 but the problem was created by proxy war organized by Pakistan.
Press under British Rule
In 1550 first press was established by Portuguese. In 1780 James Augustus Hicky started the first newspaper weekly in India called Bengal Gazette .This paper attacked both Warren Hastings and Chief Justice E Impey.In 1785 Madras Courier Weekly was started. In 1790 Bombay Courier and in 1791 Bombay Gazette merged with Bombay Herald in 1792.
In 1818 Digdarshan was started as the first Bengali weekly by Marshman from Srirampore.On December 4th 1821 Raja Ram Mohan Roy started Samvad Kaumudi.In 1822 he published a weekly Mirat-ul-Akbar in Persian language. In 1837 Syed-ul-Akbhar a weekly in Urdu was published. In 1838 Dilli Akbhar was published. In 1840 Hindu Patriot was started by Harishchandra Mukherjee. In 1851 Gujarati fortnightly Rust Goftar was started by Dadabhai Naroji.In 1862 Indian Mirror was started .Initially the editor was Devendranath Tagore followed by Keshavchandra Sen and Narendranath Sen.On 28th September 1861 Bombay Times, Bombay Standard, Bombay Courier and The Telegraph merged together to form Times of India. Its editor was Robert Knight. It was established by Carey, Ward and marshman in 1818.Initially it was monthly but latter changed to weekly. In 1875 Statesman was started by Robert Knight. In 1890 Statesman and Friend of India merged to become Statesman. In 1865 Pioneer was started from Allahabad.On 20th September 1878, Hindu was started from Madras by G.Subramanium Aiyar as a weekly.later it was made triweekly in Oct 1883 when Kusturiangar became its editor. In 1889 it was made a daily.On 2nd January 1881 Kesari and Mahratta was started by Lokmanya Tilak and Kelkar.
Censor Act 1799 by Lord Wellesley
Every newspaper should print the names of printer, editor and proprietor. Before printing any material it should be submitted to the secretary of Censorship. This Act was abolished by Hastings.
Licensing regulation Act 1823 by John Adam
Every publisher should get a license from the government, defaulters would be fined Rs 400 and the press would be ceased by the government. Government has right to cancel the license. Charles Metcalf abolished the Act.
Vernacular Press Act IX 1878
Vernacular press criticized British rule. Therefore British Govt came down heavily on vernacular press. Magistrates were authorised to ask any publisher of newspaper to give assurance of not publishing anything threatening peace and security. Fixed amount to be paid for security guarantee. The magistrate’s decision was final in any dispute. This law was not applicable to English Press. It was repealed by Lord Ripon in 1882.
Newspaper Act 1908
Magistrate had the power to confiscate the assets of the press. Against this confiscation one can appeal to High Court in 15 days. Under this Act as many as 7 presses were forfeited.
Press Regulating Act 1942
Registration of journalists was made mandatory. Limitations were imposed on the messages regarding civil disturbances. Prohibition of news was imposed regarding acts of sabotage. Limitations on headlines and space given to news on disturbances. Limitations on headlines and space given to news on disturbances.Govt had the authority on arbitrary censorship.
Basic Tenets of India’s Foreign Policy (1947-1961)
India emerged as an independent nation on 15th August 1947 and it was an epoch making phenomena for millions of Indian citizens. The Indian government adopted a well thought out and well planned foreign policy after assuming political powers in India.
The basic tenets of India’s foreign policy had been influenced by socio-cultural, economic and political conditions of India and the world. It reflected the rich Indian cultural values and the urges and aspirations of Indian citizens. The policy was based upon the principle of mutual co-existence.
India believes in respecting the identity of other nations and had always been active to preserve her own identity.
Indian Foreign Policy is also characterized by firm belief in the efficacy of peaceful methods to resolve the mutual international differences. India had never supported militarism and never used it as an instrument of foreign policy.
India believes in the principle of equality of nations and had always been against the discrimination among the nations on the basis of geographical size, economic strength and military power.
The spirit of internationalism also characterized the foreign policy. Indian leadership had always believed in the efficacy of closer international cooperation among the nations to ensure the mutual progress.
Non –alignment with any of the power blocks was another important feature of the foreign policy after independence. At the time of Indian independence cold war had already begun within the communist bloc led by Soviet Union and Capitalist bloc by USA.Indian leadership decided to stay away from bloc policies and pursued the politics of non-alignment. India was the founding member of NAM started in 1961.
Indian foreign policy was secular and ideologically neutral.India had never allowed its foreign policy to be dominated by either the capitalist or the communist ideology. India had maintained close cooperation with both the capitalist and communist nations.
Maintaining an independent opinion on international issues had been another important feature of the Foreign policy. India had always cherished her independence and had never allowed its foreign policy to be influenced by either pressure or inducements offered by the powerful nations of the world.
Non-interference in the internal matters of other nations had been basic tenet of Indian Foreign policy ever since India’s independence.