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British Imperial power in the Indian Sub Continent lasted from 1858-1947. During this time the Empire consisted of what is now India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and the disputed territory of Kashmir.

At the beginning of the 18th century most of the Mongul power that had been in Italy had disintergrated. Many of the European super powers started to come into India to trade, it was ultimately the British who ended on top and in charge on India.

This was confirmed primarily by the defeat of the Bengali army at Plassey in 1757.

India officially became part of the British Empire on August 2, 1958 when the Parliament of England passed the Government of India Act. Before this happened the East India Company had primary control over the colony. The East India Company had helped to develop many of the British interests and political power in the Indian sub-continent. On November 1, 1858 the announcement was officially proclaimed in India

India was controlled by British Viceroys, but there would still be Indian princes who would rule over the seperate states of India In the 40 years from 1858-1909 Britian worked on creating a bureaucracy in India, one that would be the largest in all of the Imperial world. In 1861 The Indian Council Act was passed in which a miniature cabinet was set up.

Under the British Empire India flourished as a center of textiles, which soon became India's number one export. The textile industry in part flourished because of the extensive railroad network the British government built. In total there ended up to be over 35,000 miles of railroad in India by the first World War. The railroads provided links to villages and other places that had never been linked before, because of this agriculture and many other industries grew rapidly.

In 1885 the first assembly of the Indian National Congress was held in India. Their was also a smaller Muslim congress which eventually turned into the Muslim League in 1906, this would ultimately lead to the creation of Pakistan. The first assembly was attended by at total of 73 representatives from all of the Indian provinces. Most were Hindu, only 2 were Muslim and there was even a smaller number of those who were of the Parsi or Jaina.

In 1905 Bengal was added to the Indian Empire. Because it was too big to be considered one province it was divided into two separate provinces primarily based on religion. Hindus were part of western Bengal's Bhadlarok region (respectable people) while the Muslim majority was created with its capital in Dacca. The British government of India clearly favored the Bhadlarok who were intellectuals over the Muslims. Because of this division, the Muslim groups began to have stong feelings of nationalism and unity.

The Indian Councils Act of 1909 under John Morley provided that the Indian councils were more of an elective principle. This simply eliminated any majorities in the legislatures.

When World War I came in 1914 India contributed many of its men to the war effort in hopes of being repayed for their help by some kind of Independence within the next couple of years after the war. By the end of the war nearly 1,000,000 troops were involved in the conflict in Europe.

In 1919, Indian troops were ordered to fire upon people holding a public demonstaration which at the time had been forbidden to Indian citizens. This event inspired Gandhi to begin his campaign for indepence through silent protests.

Gandhi was a significantly powerful man in India, known for his silent protests, he alone was one of the major factors that led to the Indian independence. This was achieved through boycotts, faith and silent protests. Gandhi did not agree in putting both religion and politics together.

During the last years of British rule in India there was a lot of conflict between Hindus and Muslim. Though a seperate electorate for Muslims had been set up in 1909 many Muslims were still feeling under represented in the Indian parliament. A number of reform acts in 1919, 1932 and 1935 had attempted to change many factors but not alot changed in the end. The reform on 1935 gave India a good amount of self-governance.

The movement for independence had many problems though as there were conflicts between the Muslim league and the Hindu dominated congress. Because of escalating violence between the two parties Lord Louis Mountbatten was sent to India in 1947 to decide on the partition of India. Hindu India would be governed by Mountbatten with Nehru as a prime minister. Pakistan was formed with the leader of the Muslim League Muhammed Ali Jinnah as the leader.

The partition caused much fleeing and mass migrations by the Muslims and Hindus to be in their respective countries.

Freedom of worship

The British followed a policy of not intervening in India's religion. This is said to have brought about many religious tensions between Hindus and Muslims.

In 1891 the Age of Consent Act was proclaimed which raised the statutary rape age for many young Indian brides from 10 years old to 12.

Once a congress was set up in India, many Muslims began to complain about being under represented in the Indian parliament. There were many fights over the accused slaughter of many cows and pigs by both groups. Cows are sacred for Hindus while pigs are sacred to Muslims. This only caused more religious tension between the two factions.

Because Muslims were a minority many Muslims started to think about having an independent nation for Muslims to live in.

On December 22, 1939 a Muslim "Day of Deliverance" was declared in which Muslims were exempt from much of the tyranny that was invoked on them by different members of congress. The Muslim League was quickly set up, and in March of 1940 in Lahore the ancient capital of Punjab they met for the first time and declared the Lahore Resolution (Pakistan Resolution), which set up the steps for an independent state to be set up in the Northern parts of India which would be Muslim in majority.

The British People in the Continent.

The British who lived in India were the elites of the country. They had the best of the world with their own private clubs and nice houses.

For the most part the British did not understand the Indian system of ways because of the lack of contact with the average Indian people.

The Results of the British In India

Western education and science as well as technology were introduced, English became a common language over the country's many languages and railroads were set up.

Indian nationalism started when the European powers started to invade and exert their influence over India.

More information under Ethno-Nationalism

Reasons for the British dominance in the Indian Sub-Continent.

  1. Indians had just started to learn to live together and were trying to put their country together, because this system had not yet been completed many Indian rulers were much more willing to trust the British. This lead to a lot of British dominance
  2. The British were far superior than many of their European counterparts and had control of the Indian ocean which allowed them to control the trade to and from India by sea.
  3. Britain because of its hegemon had much more wealth to put into the country than other countries did. This created a fairly good administrative system in the country.