The British Take Over India!. It was only a matter of time!. Africa, the Middle East,…. I. The East India Company & the Sepoy Rebellion. Overview Early 1600S ; The british east India company won trading rights on the fringe of the Mughal Empire.
It was only a matter of time!
Africa, the Middle East,….
Early 1600S; The britisheast India company won trading rights on the fringe of the MughalEmpire.
2. By the mid-1800s, it controlled 3/5ths of India.
1. Win-win situation?
a. Main goal of the East India Company was to make money.
b. To make money, you’ve got spend money: company improved roads and preserved the peace.
2. By the early 1800s, British officials introduced western education, law, and religion.
Got a feeling of déjà vu?!!?!
a. disapproval of the caste system
b. wanted to improve the lives of women
c. outlawed sati!!!!
A closer look at sati…
Sati (Su-thi , a.k.a. suttee) is the traditional Hindu practice of a widow immolating herself on her husband's funeral pyre.
"Sati" means a virtuous woman. A woman who dies burning herself on her husbands funeral fire was considered most virtuous, and was believed to directly go to heaven, redeeming all the forefathers rotting in hell, by this "meritorious" act. The woman who committed Sati was worshipped as a Goddess, and temples were built in her memory.
Sati was prevalent among certain sects of the society in ancient India, who either took the vow or deemed it a great honor to die on the funeral pyres of their husbands. IbnBatuta (1333 A.D.) has observed that Sati was considered praiseworthy by the Hindus, without however being obligatory. The Agni Purana declares that the woman who commits sahagamana goes to heaven. However, Medhatiti pronounced that Sati was like suicide and was against the Shastras, the Hindu code of conduct. It is believed that they were not coerced, although several wives committed Sati. The majority of the widows did not undergo Sati.
Indian leader Rajaram Mohan Roy, through his organization BrahmoSamaj was among the first who fought to eliminate Sati. The ritual of sati was banned by the British Government in 1829 (see a timeline of Sati). However, it took a large scale social reforms by Mahatma Gandhi and the like to actually stop the practice. In the modern times, there was one instance of a Sati reported in Rajasthan (late 1980s), and another in Madhya Pradesh (in year 2002) that caused a lot of controversy and social turmoil.
Were the British right to outlaw it?
– arrogance or compassion?
a. 1850s; East India Company makes several unpopular moves.
1.)1st it required sepoys, or Indian soldiers in its service, to serve anywhere, either in India or overseas.
A.) For high caste Hindus, overseas travel was against their faith.
B.) It passed a law that allowed Hindu widows to re-marry.
C.) Hindus viewed moves as part of a Christian conspiracy to undermine their beliefs.
2. 1857: the British issued new rifles to the sepoys.
A.) troops were told to bite off the ends of cartridges before loading the guns.
B.) Cartridges were greased with animal fat (either cows or pigs)
C.) Refusal to obey orders = no pay OR imprisonment.
a.Severalsepoy regiments marched to Delhi and hailed the last Mughal ruler as their leader.
B. Sepoys brutally massacred British men, wind own.
C. Eventally, it would be crushed by the British.
1. Viceroy ruled in the name of the Queen
2. British officials held the top government jobs and army positions
3. made India “the brightest jewel” in its empire
4. Goal of Modernization: adoption of western technology and culture…
B. An Unequal Partnership
1. India was to serve “the mother country” via raw materials and markets
a. Britain invested in roads and railroads
b.Introduced and used the telegraph
3. After the Suez Canal opened in 1869, British trade with India soared.
D. Population growth and famine!
1. Better sanitationand increased food production led to rapid population growth.
2. BUT the food supply was strained as farmland was increasingly used for cash cropsinstead of food
3. Famine further aggravated the situation – can’t blame Europe for that but it certainly didn’t help!
Domestic Tranquility (peace)
Transportation aided mobility
Telegraph and postal system improved communication
Upper classes sent sons to Britishschools and trained for gov’tpositions.
B. Western Attitudes Varied
1. Admiration, respect, and adoption of ideas surrounding Hinduism and Buddhism existed but tended to be an ethnocentric view
Overall, the British knew very little about Indian achievements and exhibited “ethnocentrism.”
English Historian: Thomas Macaulay wrote,
That “a single shelf of a good European library is worth the whole native literature of India and Arabia”
“We must at present do our best to form a class who may be interpreters between us and the millions of whom we govern; a class of persons, Indian in blood and color, but English in taste, in opinions, in morals, and in intellect.
IV. Indian Nationalism
A. Late 1800s: Western-educated Indians spearheaded a nationalist movement
B. Schooled in Enlightenment thought (democracy, equality), they dreamed of ending imperial rule.
And what do you think the Indian
Students are thinking about this
a. Indian National Congress
b. Formed in 1885
c. Consisted of mostly urban Hindus
d. Believed in peaceful protest
e. Would eventually be led by Mahatma Gandhi
a. Formed in 1906
b. Resented Hindu domination of the INC
C. Feared potential oppression
d. Wanted independence and a separate Muslim state (partition which is now Pakistan)
e. Led by Muhammad Ali Jinnah
Reality of lingering Hindu-muslim Resentment
Kashmir: considered the unfinished business of partition!
1998 – brink
Of Nuclear War….