Britain’s need for raw materials and markets to sell in which their goods is what motivated the imperialism of India. British imperialism was beneficial to the Indians because it provided peace for India, developed new infrastructure, and improved their standard of living. First off, British Imperialism was beneficial to Indians because it provided peace. The British pulled up Indian civilization- brought peace, introduced western style education, modern thought, modern science, and modern lifestyles. (Document 4).
Although Britain benefitted from the resources in India and the Indian people benefitted from modernization, India lost control of their government and became dependant on the British. British imperialism in India had reciprocal effects towards each other. For example, in order to help India, Britain had to pay for improvements. Clearly, both the English and Indians were greatly affected by imperialism whether it was positive or negative. For starters, the English helped and hurt themselves when they imperialized India.
This left the tribes in the areas suddenly changing their view of British colonists from that of oppressors to peacekeepers. At first the British had come into the tribes land and simply said it was theirs, offering them nothing in return. However they did bring stability and unity to the once rival tribes. The British did two things, they united the tribes through a dislike or distrust of the colonists, but they also protected the tribes; be it from each other or western powers. Lord Curzon also helped improved the development of India, helping add around 6000 miles of railway to India’s network, and settling up a railway board.
In the beginning of the English-Indian relationship, things flowed very easily. The British desired a trade relation with the Indians and in an attempt to ease the tension British merchants assorted themselves into their culture. They did things such as eat the same foods, practiced their religion, and even wore the same clothing. Essentially, they become “White Mughals.” This refers to Englishmen who assimilate themselves in the Indian culture. (Dalrymple) The character Sir David Ouchterlony is the best example of this.
Therefore I believe Lord Curzon was indeed a successful viceroy. Of the Sources, source two is intended to convey Lord Curzon’s tenure as Viceroy in the most positive manner .It lists his positive qualities that made him “India’s best ruler under the raj” . However given the nature of the British Empire in countries such as India the main priority is not always the well fair of the country. For instance many believe Britain was draining India of its wealth rather than helping develop the country, Dadabhai Naoroji's created this “drain theory”. Britain had used combination of force as well as divides and conquers to control India Up until this point.
Between 1900 and 1919 there were many reforms made by the British which concerned the ruling of Indian within the empire. During this time there was difficulty concerning the nationalist movement in India. The reforms were made for individual reasons however the reforms may have been for various main reasons. There are arguments that Britain were only making reforms to ensure control over India, this is shown in source 13, this is where the British only decided to reform to help themselves and not India as a whole. But the reforms can also be seen as reducing British rule over the subcontinent as in sources 14 and 15 where they are either to grant India nationhood or to reduce tensions between the nationalist movement and the British Raj.
The British made it seem that they were actually trying to help India out. However, referring to document 2, “the natives call the British system...‘the knife of sugar’. That is to say there is no oppression, it is all smooth and sweet, but it is a knife, nevertheless.” No matter how supportive or good the British may seem, every action taken by the British are mostly for their own selfish benefits. There was however a good that came from the British Imperialism India which is they introduced western education. This has brought ancient and civilized nation in touch with modern sciences and modern life.
WAS THE BRITISH EMPIRE A FORCE FOR GOOD IN THE WORLD? The question I am trying to answer is ‘Was the British Empire a Force For Good In the World?’ Objectively, I would have to say that The Empire was not a force for good in the world as after all many of the positive points of The Empire are outweighed by the negative, with key issues such as the Slave Trade, exploitation of the indigenous peoples, and capital gain. Nevertheless, The Empire also brought in many western ideals (like democracy) and a new form of currency which had an aim of uniting many nations with this common ‘denominator’. The British also brought over the English language (in place of their native language) to ease communication between the lands. This ‘change’ did not really go down well with the indigenous people so one has to think ; What right did the British have?
I believe that the British did only make concessions to strengthen their power and control over India. However there are arguments suggesting that these concessions were made purely to benefit India and to increase Indian participation and decision making within the government. The argument that supports this statement is demonstrated through source 13. In Source 13 it tells us that ‘these concessions can be seen as a way of strengthening the Raj and their control within India’, it then continues to say that this opinion is exemplified within the Rowlatt Acts. From my own knowledge I know that these acts, passed by the Imperial Legislative Council in London on the 10th march 1919, gave authorization to imprison people for up to two years without trial, anybody living within the Raj suspected of terrorism.
Mercantilism allowed for the belief that wealth was power and that a country’s power could therefore be measured in gold and silver—placing wealth at the forefront of their minds. Colonists were to help supply Britain with the resources Britain lacked (i.e. tobacco and sugar). The Navigation Laws, Wool, Hat, and Iron Acts, and the Molasses Act were all instituted to achieve the goal of mercantilism; they limited trade with countries other than Britain and prevented Americans from earning profit on anything that could potentially be earned for the British. All these acts, however, were loosely enforced and barely protested by colonists.