Colonialism completely changed the world. British colonialism, more specifically, changed the face of 53 nations thereby tagging them as the ‘commonwealth nations’.
While British rule brought about untold change and modifications to India, it is hard to imagine an India without its embedded British characteristics.
So what would India look like today, had it not been colonised by the British?
Had India not been colonised by the British, the country would’ve still been inclusive of present-day Pakistan and Bangladesh. The Partition would not have occurred and such a grave loss of life, property and familial ties would not have taken place.
Existence of princely states
Secondly, India would perhaps still be a set of princely states with independent rulers, governing specified territories and battling it out for power.
First and foremost, there is no denying the fact that the British introduced railways in India. Had it not been for their efforts, India would’ve developed such a strong and well-connected network of railways much later, sometime around the 20th century. 1871 marked the beginning of the largest railway network in the world.
The breakdown of our economy
The Indian economy was a booming one before the coming in of the British. India had diplomatic and trade relations with Europe, Central Asia, Africa etc. and had a massive network of trade, industry and artisanal activity.
The British systematically broke down India’s networks of trade and industry by converting it into an importer of British finished goods from an exporter of Indian textiles. The textile industry broke down and there was loss of employment.
Had the British not colonised us, India would have perhaps even industrialised like Britain did in the 19th century.
English education was the brainchild of British colonialism. Through the Charter Act of 1883, the spread of Christian Missionaries and the setting up of English schools in India, the British introduced English education.
Without British colonisation, the standard and expanse of English education as it is in India today would not have existed.
Racial, religious and caste divisions
In order to govern better, the British began categorising the Indian population. This led to greater religious and caste divide as they pitted communities against each other. This strengthened communal divide and caste.
The situation today, excluding the era of British domination would’ve perhaps been better. The communal, religious and caste divide would’ve been milder and maybe to an extent even non-existent.
The British even strengthened racial divide between the ‘dark natives’ and the ‘white British’. This reinforced notions of racism as they prevail today.
GLANCING BACK AT HISTORY
The hypotheses presented above are part of a hypothetical scenario and are open to interpretation. While some changes might’ve been good and other bad, the fact of the matter is that, British colonialism completely changed the face of the nation for better and for worse.
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