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It is a fact that the British Empire had a vast expanse of spheres that was totally unparalleled, despite the fact that many European colonies were totally embroiled in the scramble and partition of Africa and Asia. This is to the effect that the British Empire consisted of colonies, dominions, mandates, and even protectorates. The emergence and spread of the British Empire springs from trading posts and overseas colonies which were well established at the close of the 16th century. Not only is the might of the British Empire attested by the fact that it became the world’s largest empire when in its zenith, but also by the fact that the British Empire became the foremost global power, having total control of 458 million people and total authority over 13 million square miles. The widespread distribution of the political, linguistic and cultural legacy of Britain further underscores the great extent to which the British Empire had already suffused itself into different spheres and regions. India is such an area that rested under the yoke of the British Empire, with the effects of British involvement therein being widespread and some being felt up to the moment.
Discussing The Impact of Britain’s Involvement in India on a Local (Or Individual) National (Either India or Britain or Both), And Global Level
The rule of the British in India paved way for the advent of Christianity, as the rule opened the way for missionary and evangelical activities such as Christian proselytisation, the opening up of churches, opening up of humanitarian and self help centers such as hospitals and schools. While some gladly accepted the message, others had accepted it out of the fear of enraging the company. Given that the British rule in India lasted two centuries, the socio-cultural impacts in India became so profound. Leading to cultural variegation in India; art, education, architecture, literature, painting, drama, philosophy and religion became subjected to gradual change, with this change being palpable in India’s culture up to the moment.
It must also be noted that the activities that were carried out in India by the East India Company led to the pauperization of the Indian farmers to a great deal, thereby even draining the country of its native populace. Given that the cardinal aim of the British settlers was to make East India an agrarian country that would serve as the resource centre for the industrialized England, Indian farmers were exposed greatly to high land revenue; and this culminating into the seizure of their land by the Zamindar class. Additionally, Indian and locally manufactured products were sold off at very cheap rates in Britain. Making money for the locals became very hard with the graph even running penniless. This was virtually an artifice by the British company and settlers to ensure that Indians were locked out of the lucrative agronomy, to the benefit of the industrialized mother country, England (Edwardes, 75).
The global societal degradation that characterized the 20th century also gripped India, since by being a colony of Britain; problems that courted Britain were shared by the colony, India. This societal degradation took the form of World War I and the Great Depression.
As a colony of Britain, the Indian government remained under the Queen and the Governor who represented the Queen and reported to her. Similarly, given that the Provinces of the British India were under the United Kingdom, these had to be by default, part and parcel of the Allied states. Thus, it was legally and logically easy to conscript Indian young men into the military to participate in the World War I. to this effect, two million troops were sent from India to fight against Germany and the Axis states. East India became too embroiled in the World War I when it became clear that all its princely states had to make large donations so as to keep the Allied war campaigns afloat. India’s involvement in World War I economically cost India, as it denied it of the source of manpower. The remittance that East India’s princely states had to make to Britain to keep the Allies campaigns successful also proved a costly affair to India’s economy.
This above developments set up India as a victim for the Great Depression. The shortchanging of the locals by setting very low prices for their produce; the subsequently penniless population; a demography that is bereft of the youth as the source of both skilled and unskilled manpower (due to India’s forced participation in World War I), India’s princely sates’ monetary contributions to the UK and allied forces are all factors that precipitated the effects of the Great Depression in 1929. The economic protectionism that lopsidedly benefited the United Kingdom but shortchanged the Indian economy under the tutelage of the Government of British India had crippled India’s economy. Thus, from 1929 to 1937, the export-import trade took a headlong, thereby stalling the international trade that was being strategically facilitated by the proximity of the Indian Ocean. The fact that the agricultural and the railway sectors were the most affected attests to the degree of devastation the Great Depression dealt India, given that agriculture was India’s economic mainstay, and it relied heavily on the railway for transporting these agricultural produce (Griffiths, 84).
The effects the British rule had on India are not only limited to the time that antedate World War I and the colonial era. Given that India became part of the commonwealth at the closing of the British rule, it has always been seen by Arabic and/ or Islamic states as an ally to the west and a friend to the US. Particularly, Pakistan, the country with second largest Islamic population harbors numerous pockets Islamists, and Islamic terrorists who continue to attack and make incursions into India. Despite the fact that Pakistan has neither at one time apprehended terrorists nor subjected to any serious and conclusive trials, Pakistan will not hand over the same to India; that India is making a lot of subsequent losses, notwithstanding (Kothari, 139).
As a member of the British Commonwealth, it must be said that India is headed towards the right direction, economically. The validity of this standpoint is well supported by the fact that India is the country that was the most colonized, in terms of chronology. India was colonized for over 200 years while most of other countries were colonized for slightly over half a century. Nevertheless, it is important that India makes concerted efforts to internationalize her war on terror by prevailing on the UN to make Pakistan accountable, concerning its role in terrorism. The gravity of this move can then be underlined by trade embargoes and sanctions.