Monday, December 31, 2007

British Raj

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

British Raj
Indian Empire
British colony


Flag Coat of arms
Flag Coat of arms
God Save The King
Location of India
The British Indian Empire, 1909
Capital Calcutta (1858 - 1912)
New Delhi (1912 - 1947)
Language(s) Hindustani, English and many others
Government Monarchy
Emperor of India
- 1858-1901 Victoria¹
- 1901-1910 Edward VII
- 1910-1936 George V
- 1936 Edward VIII
- 1936-1947 George VI
- 1858-1862 The Viscount Canning
- 1947 The Viscount Mountbatten of Burma
Historical era New Imperialism
- Established August 2, 1858
- Disestablished August 15, 1947
Currency British Indian rupee
¹ Reigned as Empress of India from May 1, 1876, before that as Queen of the United Kingdom.
² Governor-General and Viceroy of India

British Raj (rāj, lit. "reign" in Hindi) or British India, officially the British Indian Empire, and internationally and contemporaneously, India, is the term used synonymously for the region, the rule, and the period, from 1858 to 1947, of the British Empire on the Indian subcontinent.

The region included areas directly administered by the United Kingdom [1] (contemporaneously, "British India") as well as the princely states ruled by individual rulers under the paramountcy of the British Crown. The princely states, which had all entered into treaty arrangements with the British Crown, were allowed a degree of local autonomy in exchange for accepting protection and complete representation in international affairs by the United Kingdom.

The British Indian Empire included the regions of present-day India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, and, in addition, at various times, Aden (from 1858 to 1937), Lower Burma (from 1858 to 1937), Upper Burma (from 1886 to 1937) (the whole of Burma was detached from British India in 1937[2]), British Somaliland (briefly from 1884 to 1898), and Singapore (briefly from 1858 to 1867). British India had some ties with British possessions in the Middle East; the Indian rupee served as the currency in many parts of that region. What is now Iraq was, immediately after World War I, administered by the India Office of the British government.

The Indian Empire, which issued its own passports, was commonly referred to as India both in the region and internationally. As India, it was a founding member of the League of Nations, and a member nation of the Summer Olympics in 1900, 1920, 1928, 1932, and 1936.

Among other countries in the region, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), which was ceded to the United Kingdom in 1802 under the Treaty of Amiens, was a British Crown Colony, but not part of British India. The kingdoms of Nepal and Bhutan although having been in conflict with Britain, had both subsequently signed treaties with Britain, and were recognized as independent states and not part of the British Raj. [3][4][not in citation given] The Kingdom of Sikkim was established as a princely state after the Anglo-Sikkimese Treaty of 1861, however, the issue of sovereignty was left undefined.[5] The Maldive Islands were a British protectorate from 1867 to 1965, but not part of British India.

The system of governance lasted from 1858, when the rule of the British East India Company was transferred to the Crown in the person of Queen Victoria (and who, in 1877, was proclaimed Empress of India), until 1947, when the British Indian Empire was partitioned into two sovereign states, the Dominion of India (later the Republic of India) and the Dominion of Pakistan (later the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the People's Republic of Bangladesh). Burma was separated from the administration of the British Indian Empire in 1937 and directly administered thereafter; it received independence from the UK in 1948 as the Union of Burm


Prelude: Company rule in India

Main article: Company rule in India

On 31 December 1600 Queen Elizabeth I of England granted a royal charter to the British East India Company to carry out trade with the East. Ships first arrived in India in 1608, docking at Surat in modern-day Gujarat. Four years later, British traders battled the Portuguese at the Battle of Swally, gaining the favour of the Mughal emperor Jahangir in the process. In 1615, King James I sent Sir Thomas Roe as his ambassador to Jahangir's court, and a commercial treaty was concluded in which the Mughals allowed the Company to build trading posts in India in return for goods from Europe. The Company traded in such commodities as cotton, silk, saltpetre, indigo, and tea.

In addition to their first factory at Surat (built in 1612), by the mid-1600s, the East India Company had established trading posts or "factories" in areas that later became major Indian cities, such as Bombay and Madras. Towards the end of that century, the Company established a factory amongst three small fishing villages in Bengal, one of which was named Kalikata - from which the British probably derived the name "Calcutta". In 1670 King Charles II granted the company the right to acquire territory, raise an army, mint its own money, and exercise legal jurisdiction in areas under its control.

By the last decade of the 17th century, the Company was arguably its own "nation" on the Indian subcontinent, ruling three presidencies.

The British first established a territorial foothold in the Indian subcontinent when Company-funded soldiers commanded by Robert Clive defeated the Nawab of Bengal - Siraj Ud Daulah at the Battle of Plassey in 1757. Bengal became a British protectorate directly under the rule of the East India Company.

Map of British India, 1855
Map of British India, 1855

Lord North's India Bill, The Regulating Act of 1773, by the British Parliament granted Whitehall, the British government administration, supervisory (regulatory) control over the work of the East India Company but did not take power for itself. This was the first step along the road to government control of India. It also established the post of Governor-General of India, the first occupant of which was Warren Hastings. Further acts, such as the Charter Act of 1813 and the Charter Act of 1833, further defined the relationship of the Company and the British government.

Hastings remained in India until 1784 and was succeeded by Cornwallis, who initiated the Permanent Settlement, whereby an agreement in perpetuity was reached with zamindars or landlords for the collection of revenue. For the next fifty years, the British were engaged in attempts to eliminate Indian rivals.

At the turn of the 19th century, Governor-General Lord Wellesley (brother of the Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington) began expanding the Company's domain on a large scale, defeating Tippu Sultan (also spelled Tippoo Sultan), annexing Mysore in southern India, and removing all French influence from the subcontinent. In the mid-19th century, Governor-General Lord Dalhousie launched perhaps the Company's most ambitious expansion, defeating the Sikhs in the Anglo-Sikh Wars (and annexing the Punjab with the exception of the Phulkian States) and subduing Burma in the Second Burmese War. He also justified the takeover of small princely states such as Satara, Sambalpur, Jhansi, and Nagpur by way of the doctrine of lapse, which permitted the Company to annex any princely state whose ruler had died without a male heir. The annexation of Oudh in 1856 proved to be the Company's final territorial acquisition.

Indian Uprising of 1857

On 10 May 1857 soldiers of the British Indian Army (known as "sepoys," from Urdu/Persian sipaahi = "soldier"), drawn from the Indian Hindu and Muslim population, rose against British in Meerut, a cantonment sixty five kilometres northeast of Delhi. At the time, the strength of the Company's Army in India was 238,000, of whom 38,000 were Europeans. Indian soldiers marched to Delhi to offer their services to the Mughal emperor, and soon much of north and central India was plunged into a year-long insurrection against the British East India Company. Many Indian regiments and Indian kingdoms joined the uprising, while other Indian units and Indian kingdoms backed the British commanders and the HEIC.

The policy of annexation pursued by Governor-General Lord Dalhousie, based mainly on his "Doctrine of Lapse", which held that princely states would be merged into company-ruled territory in case a ruler died without direct heir. This denied the Indian rulers the right to adopt an heir in such an event; adoption had been pervasive practice in the Hindu states hitherto, sanctioned by religion . The states annexed under this doctrine included such major kingdoms as Satara, Thanjavur, Sambhal, Jhansi, Jetpur, Udaipur, and Baghat. Additionally, the company had annexed, without pretext, the rich kingdoms of Sind in 1843 and Oudh in 1856, the latter a wealthy princely state that generated huge revenue and represented a vestige of Mughal authority.

The justice system was considered inherently unfair to the Indians. The official Blue Books — entitled East India (Torture) 1855–1857 — that were laid before the House of Commons during the sessions of 1856 and 1857 revealed that Company officers were allowed an extended series of appeals if convicted or accused of brutality or crimes against Indians.

The economic policies of the East India Company were also resented by the Indians. Most of the gold, jewels, silver and silk had been shipped off to Britain as tax and sometimes sold in open auctions, ridding India of its once abundant wealth in precious stones. The land was reorganised under the comparatively harsh Zamindari system to facilitate the collection of taxes. In certain areas farmers were forced to switch from subsistence farming to commercial crops such as indigo, jute, coffee and tea. This resulted in hardship to the farmers and increases in food prices. Local industry, specifically the famous weavers of Bengal and elsewhere, also suffered under British rule. Import tariffs were kept low, according to traditional British free-market sentiments, and thus the Indian market was flooded with cheap clothing from Britain. Indigenous industry simply could not compete, and where once India had produced much of England's luxury cloth, the country was now reduced to growing cotton which was shipped to Britain to be manufactured into clothing, which was subsequently shipped back to India to be purchased by Indians.

Aftermath of the rebellion the new Raj

The proclamation to the "Princes, Chiefs, and People of India," issued by Queen Victoria on November 1, 1858.  "We hold ourselves bound to the natives of our Indian territories by the same obligation of duty which bind us to all our other subjects." (p. 2)
The proclamation to the "Princes, Chiefs, and People of India," issued by Queen Victoria on November 1, 1858. "We hold ourselves bound to the natives of our Indian territories by the same obligation of duty which bind us to all our other subjects." (p. 2)
A 1887 souvenir portrait of Queen Victoria as Empress of India, a full 30 years after the Great Uprising.
A 1887 souvenir portrait of Queen Victoria as Empress of India, a full 30 years after the Great Uprising.

Although the Great Uprising of 1857 had shaken the British enterprise in India, it hadn't derailed it. Until 1857, the British, especially under Lord Dalhousie, had been hurriedly building an India which they envisaged to be on par with Britain itself in the quality and strength of its economic and social institutions. After the rebellion, the British became more circumspect. Much thought was devoted to the causes of the rebellion, and from it three main lessons were drawn.

  • At a more practical level, it was felt that there needed to be more communication and camaraderie between the British and Indians; not just between British army officers and their Indian staff, but in civilian life as well. The Indian army was completely reorganized: units composed of the Muslims and Brahmins of the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh, who had formed the core of the rebellion, were disbanded.[6] New regiments, like the Sikhs and Baluchis, composed of Indians who, in British estimation, had demonstrated steadfastness, were formed. From then on, the Indian army was to remain unchanged in its organization until 1947.[7]
  • It was also felt that both the princes and the large land-holders, by not joining the rebellion, had proved to be, in Lord Canning's words, "breakwaters in a storm."[6] They too were rewarded in the new British Raj, by being officially recognized in the treaties each state now signed with the Crown.[7] At the same time, it was felt that the peasants, for whose benefit the large land-reforms of the United Provinces had been undertaken, had shown disloyalty, by, in many cases, fighting for their former landlords against the British. Consequently, no more land reforms were implemented for the next 90 years: Bengal and Bihar were to remain the realms of large land holdings (unlike the Punjab and UP).[7]
  • Lastly, the British felt disenchanted with Indian reaction to social change. Until the rebellion, they had enthusiastically pushed through social reform, like the ban on suttee by Lord William Bentinck.[6] It was now felt that traditions and customs in India were too strong and too rigid to be changed easily; consequently, no more British social interventions were made, especially in matters dealing with religion, even when the British felt very strongly about the issue (as in the instance of the remarriage of Hindu child widows).[7]

Many existing economic and revenue policies remained virtually unchanged in the post-1857 period, but several administrative modifications were introduced, beginning with the creation in London of a cabinet post, the Secretary of State for India. The governor-general (called viceroy when acting as representative to the nominally sovereign "princely states" or "native states"), headquartered in Calcutta, ran the administration in India, assisted by executive and legislative councils. Beneath the governor-general were the governors of Provinces of India, who held power over the division and district officials, who formed the lower rungs of the Indian Civil Service.

The Viceroy of India announced in 1858 that the government would honour former treaties with princely states and renounced the "Doctrine of Lapse", whereby the East India Company had annexed territories of rulers who died without male heirs. About 40 percent of Indian territory and 20–25 percent of the population remained under the control of 562 princes notable for their religious (Islamic, Hindu, Sikh and other) and ethnic diversity.

Effects on economy

In the second half of the 19th century, both the direct administration of India by the British crown and the technological change ushered in by the industrial revolution, had the effect of closely intertwining the economies of India and Great Britain.[8] In fact many of the major changes in transport and communications (that are typically associated with Crown Rule of India) had already begun before the Mutiny. Since Dalhousie had embraced the technological change then rampant in Great Britain, India too saw rapid development of all those technologies. Railways, roads, canals, and bridges were rapidly built in India and telegraph links equally rapidly established in order that raw materials, such as cotton, from India's hinterland could be transported more efficiently to ports, such as Bombay, for subsequent export to England.[9] Likewise, finished goods from England, were transported back, just as efficiently, for sale in the burgeoning Indian markets.[10] However, unlike Britain itself, where the market risks for the infrastructure development were borne by private investors, in India, it was the taxpayers—primarily farmers and farm-labourers—who endured the risks, which, in the end, amounted to £50 million.[11] In spite of these costs, very little skilled employment was created for Indians. By 1920, with the fourth largest railway network in the world and a history of 60 years of its construction, only ten per cent of the "superior posts" in the Indian Railways were held by Indians.[12]

The rush of technology was also changing the agricultural economy in India: by the last decade of the 19th century, a large fraction of some raw materials—not only cotton, but also some food-grains—were being exported to faraway markets.[13] Consequently, many small farmers, dependent on the whims of those markets, lost land, animals, and equipment to money-lenders.[13]. More tellingly, the latter half of the 19th century also saw an increase in the number of large-scale famines in India. Although famines were not new to the subcontinent, these were particularly severe, with tens of millions dying,[14] and with many critics, both British and Indian, laying the blame at the doorsteps of the lumbering colonial administrations.[13]

Beginnings of self-government

The first steps were taken toward self-government in British India in the late 19th century with the appointment of Indian counsellors to advise the British viceroy and the establishment of provincial councils with Indian members; the British subsequently widened participation in legislative councils with the Indian Councils Act of 1892. Municipal Corporations and District Boards were created for local administration; they included elected Indian members.

The Government of India Act of 1909 — also known as the Morley-Minto Reforms (John Morley was the secretary of state for India, and Gilbert Elliot, fourth earl of Minto, was viceroy) — gave Indians limited roles in the central and provincial legislatures, known as legislative councils. Indians had previously been appointed to legislative councils, but after the reforms some were elected to them. At the centre, the majority of council members continued to be government-appointed officials, and the viceroy was in no way responsible to the legislature. At the provincial level, the elected members, together with unofficial appointees, outnumbered the appointed officials, but responsibility of the governor to the legislature was not contemplated. Morley made it clear in introducing the legislation to the British Parliament that parliamentary self-government was not the goal of the British government.

The Morley-Minto Reforms were a milestone. Step by step, the elective principle was introduced for membership in Indian legislative councils. The "electorate" was limited, however, to a small group of upper-class Indians. These elected members increasingly became an "opposition" to the "official government". Communal electorates were later extended to other communities and made a political factor of the Indian tendency toward group identification through religion.

World War I and its aftermath

World War I would prove to be a watershed in the imperial relationship between Britain and India. 1.4 million Indian and British soldiers of the British Indian Army would take part in the war and their participation would have a wider cultural fallout: news of Indian soldiers fighting and dying with British soldiers, as well as soldiers from dominions like Canada and Australia, would travel to distant corners of the world both in newsprint and by the new medium of the radio.[15] India’s international profile would thereby rise and would continue to rise during the 1920s.[15] It was to lead, among other things, to India, under its own name, becoming a founding member of the League of Nations in 1920 and participating, under the name, "Les Indes Anglaises" (British India), in the 1920 Summer Olympics in Antwerp.[16] Back in India, especially among the leaders of the Indian National Congress, it would lead to calls for greater self-government for Indians.[15]

In 1916, in the face of new strength demonstrated by the nationalists with the signing of the Lucknow Pact and the founding of the Home Rule leagues, and the realization, after the disaster in the Mesopotamian campaign, that the war would likely last longer, the new Viceroy, Lord Chelmsford, cautioned that the Government of India needed to be more responsive to Indian opinion.[17] Towards the end of the year, after discussions with the government in London, he suggested that the British demonstrate their good faith – in light of the Indian war role – through a number of public actions, including awards of titles and honors to princes, granting of commissions in the army to Indians, and removal of the much-reviled cotton excise duty, but, most importantly, an announcement of Britain's future plans for India and an indication of some concrete steps.[17] After more discussion, in August 1917, the new Liberal Secretary of State for India, Edwin Montagu, announced the British aim of “increasing association of Indians in every branch of the administration, and the gradual development of self-governing institutions, with a view to the progressive realization of responsible government in India as an integral part of the British Empire.”[17] Although the plan envisioned limited self-government at first only in the provinces – with India emphatically within the British Empire – it represented the first British proposal for any form of representative government in a non-white colony.[17]

Earlier, at the onset of World War I, the reassignment of most of the British army in India to Europe and Mesopotamia, had led the previous Viceroy, Lord Harding, to worry about the “risks involved in denuding India of troops.”[15] Revolutionary violence had already been a concern in British India; consequently, in 1915, to strengthen its powers during what it saw was a time of increased vulnerability, the Government of India passed the Defence of India Act, which allowed it to intern politically dangerous dissidents without due process, and added to the power it already had – under the 1910 Press Act – both to imprison journalists without trial and to censor the press.[18] Now, as constitutional reform began to be discussed in earnest, the British began to consider how new moderate Indians could be brought into the fold of constitutional politics and, simultaneously, how the hand of established constitutionalists could be strengthened.[18] However, since the Government of India wanted to ensure against any sabotage of the reform process by extremists, and since its reform plan was devised during a time when extremist violence had ebbed as a result of increased governmental control, it also began to consider how some of its war-time powers could be extended into peace time.[18]

Edwin Montagu, left, the Secretary of State for India, whose report, led to the Government of India Act of 1919, also known as the Montford Reforms or the Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms.
Edwin Montagu, left, the Secretary of State for India, whose report, led to the Government of India Act of 1919, also known as the Montford Reforms or the Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms.

Consequently, in 1917, even as Edwin Montagu, announced the new constitutional reforms, a sedition committee chaired by a British judge, Mr. S. A. T. Rowlatt, was tasked with investigating revolutionary conspiracies and the German and Bolshevik links to the violence in India,[19][20][21] with the unstated goal of extending the government's war-time powers.[17] The Rowlatt committee presented its report in July 1918 and identified three regions of conspiratorial insurgency: Bengal, the Bombay presidency, and the Punjab.[17] To combat subversive acts in these regions, the committee recommended that the government use emergency powers akin to its war-time authority, which included the ability to try cases of sedition by a panel of three judges and without juries, exaction of securities from suspects, governmental overseeing of residences of suspects,[17] and the power for provincial governments to arrest and detain suspects in short-term detention facilities and without trial.[22]

With the end of World War I, there was also a change in the economic climate. By year’s end 1919, 1.5 million Indians had served in the armed services in either combatant or non-combatant roles, and India had provided £146 million in revenue for the war.[23] The increased taxes coupled with disruptions in both domestic and international trade had the effect of approximately doubling the index of overall prices in India between 1914 and 1920.[23] Returning war veterans, especially in the Punjab, created a growing unemployment crisis,[24] and post-war inflation led to food riots in Bombay, Madras, and Bengal provinces,[24] a situation that was made only worse by the failure of the 1918-19 monsoon and by profiteering and speculation.[23] The global influenza epidemic and the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 added to the general jitters; the former among the population already experiencing economic woes,[24] and the latter among government officials, fearing a similar revolution in India.[25]

To combat what it saw as a coming crisis, the government now drafted the Rowlatt committee's recommendations into two Rowlatt Bills.[22] Although the bills were authorized for legislative consideration by Edwin Montagu, they were done so unwillingly, with the accompanying declaration, “I loathe the suggestion at first sight of preserving the Defence of India Act in peace time to such an extent as Rowlatt and his friends think necessary.”[17] In the ensuing discussion and vote in the Imperial Legislative Council, all Indian members voiced opposition to the bills. The Government of India was, nevertheless, able to use of its "official majority" to ensure passage of the bills early in 1919.[17] However, what it passed, in deference to the Indian opposition, was a lesser version of the first bill, which now allowed extra-judicial powers, but for a period of exactly three years and for the prosecution solely of “anarchical and revolutionary movements,” dropping entirely the second bill involving modification the Indian Penal Code.[17] Even so, when it was passed, the new Rowlatt Act aroused widespread indignation throughout India, and brought Gandhi to the forefront of the nationalist movement.[22]

Meanwhile, Montagu and Chelmsford themselves finally presented their report in July 1918 after a long fact-finding trip through India the previous winter.[26] After more discussion by the government and parliament in Britain, and another tour by the Franchise and Functions Committee for the purpose of identifying who among the Indian population could vote in future elections, the Government of India Act of 1919 (also known as the Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms) was passed in December 1919.[26] The new Act enlarged both the provincial and Imperial legislative councils and repealed the Government of India’s recourse to the “official majority” in unfavorable votes.[26] Although departments like defense, foreign affairs, criminal law, communications, and income-tax were retained by the Viceroy and the central government in New Delhi, other departments like public health, education, land-revenue, local self-government were transferred to the provinces.[26] The provinces themselves were now to be administered under a new dyarchical system, whereby some areas like education, agriculture, infrastructure development, and local self-government became the preserve of Indian ministers and legislatures, and ultimately the Indian electorates, while others like irrigation, land-revenue, police, prisons, and control of media remained within the purview of the British governor and his executive council.[26] The new Act also made it easier for Indians to be admitted into the civil service and the army officer corps.

A greater number of Indians were now enfranchised, although, for voting at the national level, they constituted only 10% of the total adult male population, many of whom were still illiterate.[26] In the provincial legislatures, the British continued to exercise some control by setting aside seats for special interests they considered cooperative or useful. In particular, rural candidates, generally sympathetic to British rule and less confrontational, were assigned more seats than their urban counterparts.[26] Seats were also reserved for non-Brahmins, landowners, businessmen, and college graduates. The principal of “communal representation,” an integral part of the Minto-Morley reforms, and more recently of the Congress-Muslim League Lucknow Pact, was reaffirmed, with seats being reserved for Muslims, Sikhs, Indian Christians, Anglo-Indians, and domiciled Europeans, in both provincial and Imperial legislative councils.[26] The Montagu-Chelmsford reforms offered Indians the most significant opportunity yet for exercising legislative power, especially at the provincial level; however, that opportunity was also restricted by the still limited number of eligible voters, by the small budgets available to provincial legislatures, and by the presence of rural and special interest seats that were seen as instruments of British control.[26]

1930s: Government of India Act (1935), Elections of 1937

British Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald to the right of Mahatma Gandhi at the Second Round Table Conference in London, October 1931.
British Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald to the right of Mahatma Gandhi at the Second Round Table Conference in London, October 1931.

In 1935, after the Round Table Conferences, the British Parliament approved the Government of India Act of 1935, which authorized the establishment of independent legislative assemblies in all provinces of British India, the creation of a central government incorporating both the British provinces and the princely states, and the protection of Muslim minorities.[10] The future Constitution of independent India would owe a great deal to the text of this act.[27] The act also provided for a bicameral national parliament and an executive branch under the purview of the British government. Although the national federation was never realized, nationwide elections for provincial assemblies were held in 1937. Despite initial hesitation, the Congress took part in the elections and won victories in seven of the eleven provinces of British India, [28] and Congress governments, with wide powers, were formed in these provinces. In Great Britain, these victories were to later turn the tide for the idea of Indian independence.[28]

World War II

With the outbreak of World War II in 1939, the viceroy, Lord Linlithgow, declared war on India’s behalf without consulting Indian leaders, leading the Congress provincial ministries to resign in protest. The Muslim League, in contrast, supported Britain in the war effort; however, it now took the view that Muslims would be unfairly treated in an independent India dominated by the Congress. The British government—through its Cripps' mission—attempted to secure Indian nationalists' cooperation in the war effort in exchange for independence afterwards; however, the negotiations between them and the Congress broke down. Gandhi, subsequently, launched the “Quit India” movement in August 1942, demanding the immediate withdrawal of the British from India or face nationwide civil disobedience. Along with all other Congress leaders, Gandhi was immediately imprisoned, and the country erupted in violent demonstrations led by students and later by peasant political groups, especially in Eastern United Provinces, Bihar, and western Bengal. The large war-time British Army presence in India, led to the movement being crushed in a little more than six weeks;[29] nonetheless, a portion of the movement formed for a time an underground provisional government on the border with Nepal.[29]

With Congress leaders in jail, attention also turned to Subhas Bose, who had been ousted from the Congress in 1939 following differences with the more conservative high command;[30] Bose now turned to the Axis powers for help with liberating India by force.[31] With Japanese support, he reorganised the Indian National Army, composed largely of Indian soldiers of the British Indian army who had been captured at Singapore by the Japanese. From the start of the war, the Japanese secret service had promoted unrest in South east Asia to destabilise the British War effort,[32] and came to support a number of puppet and provisional governments in the captured regions, including those in Burma, the Phillipines and Vietnam, the Provisional Government of Azad Hind (Free India), presided by Bose.[33][31] Bose's effort, however, was short lived; after the reverses of 1944, the reinforced British Indian Army in 1945 first halted and then reversed the Japanese U Go offensive, beginning the successful Burma Campaign. Bose's Indian National Army ended with the recapture of Singapore, and Bose died in a plane crash soon thereafter. However, the trials of the INA soldies at Red Fort in late 1945 however caused widespread public unrest and nationalist violence in India, including in the Armed Forces.[34][35][36][37]

Post-war developments: Transfer of Power

1909 Prevailing Religions, Map of British Indian Empire, 1909, showing the prevailing majority religions of the population for different districts.
1909 Prevailing Religions, Map of British Indian Empire, 1909, showing the prevailing majority religions of the population for different districts.
Map of India and Pakistan as envisaged in the Partition Plan
Map of India and Pakistan as envisaged in the Partition Plan
Viceroy Louis Mountbatten eleven days before the Transfer of Power.
Viceroy Louis Mountbatten eleven days before the Transfer of Power.

In January 1946, a number of mutinies broke out in the armed services, starting with that of RAF servicemen frustrated with their slow repatriation to Britain.[38] The mutinies came to a head with mutiny of the Royal Indian Navy in Bombay in February 1946, followed by others in Calcutta, Madras, and Karachi. Although the mutinies were rapidly suppressed, they found much public support in India and had the effect of spurring the new Labour government in Britain to action, and leading to the Cabinet Mission to India led by the Secretary of State for India, Lord Pethick Lawrence, and including Sir Stafford Cripps, who had visited four years before.[38]

Also in early 1946, new elections were called in India in which the Congress won electoral victories in eight of the eleven provinces.[39] The negotiations between the Congress and the Muslim League, however, stumbled over the issue of the partition. Jinnah proclaimed August 16, 1946, Direct Action Day, with the stated goal of highlighting, peacefully, the demand for a Muslim homeland in British India. The following day Hindu-Muslim riots broke out in Calcutta and quickly spread throughout India. Although the Government of India and the Congress were both shaken by the course of events, in September, a Congress-led interim government was installed, with Jawaharlal Nehru as united India’s prime minister.

Later that year, the Labor government in Britain, its exchequer exhausted by the recently concluded World War II, decided to end British rule of India, and in early 1947 Britain announced its intention of transferring power no later than June 1948.

As independence approached, the violence between Hindus and Muslims in the provinces of Punjab and Bengal continued unabated. With the British army unprepared for the potential for increased violence, the new viceroy, Louis Mountbatten, advanced the date for the transfer of power, allowing less than six months for a mutually agreed plan for independence. In June 1947, the nationalist leaders, including Nehru and Abul Kalam Azad on behalf of the Congress, Jinnah representing the Muslim League, B. R. Ambedkar representing the Untouchable community, and Master Tara Singh representing the Sikhs, agreed to a partition of the country along religious lines. The predominantly Hindu and Sikh areas were assigned to the new India and predominantly Muslim areas to the new nation of Pakistan; the plan included a partition of the Muslim-majority provinces of Punjab and Bengal.

Many million Muslim, Sikh, and Hindu refugees trekked across the newly drawn borders. In Punjab, where the new border lines divided the Sikh regions in half, ghastly bloodshed followed; in Bengal and Bihar, where Gandhi's presence assuaged communal tempers, the violence was more limited. In all, anywhere between 250,000 and 500,000 people on both sides of the new borders died in the violence.[40] On August 14, 1947, the new Dominion of Pakistan came into being, with Muhammad Ali Jinnah sworn in as its first Governor General in Karachi. The following day, August 15, 1947, India, now a smaller Union of India, became an independent country with official ceremonies taking place in New Delhi, and with Jawaharlal Nehru assuming the office of the prime minister, and the viceroy, Louis Mountbatten, staying on as its first Governor General.

Provinces of British India

At the time of independence, British India consisted of the following provinces:

Eleven provinces (Assam, Bengal, Bihar, Bombay, Central Provinces, Madras, North-West Frontier, Orissa, Punjab, and Sindh) were headed by a governor. The remaining six (Ajmer Merwara, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Baluchistan, Coorg, Delhi, and Panth-Piploda) were governed by a chief commissioner.

There were also several hundred Princely States, under British protection but ruled by native rulers. Among the most notable of these were Jaipur, Gwalior, Hyderabad, Mysore, Travancore and Jammu and Kashmir.

[edit] Notes

  1. ^ Firstly the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland then after 1927, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
  2. ^ Sword For Pen, TIME Magazine, April 12, 1937
  3. ^ British Empire - Relations with Bhutan
  4. ^ British Empire - Relations with Nepal
  5. ^ "Sikkim." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2007. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 5 Aug. 2007 <>.
  6. ^ a b c Spear 1990, p. 147
  7. ^ a b c d Spear 1990, pp. 147-148
  8. ^ (Stein 2001, p. 259), (Oldenburg 2007)
  9. ^ (Oldenburg 2007), (Stein 2001, p. 258)
  10. ^ a b (Oldenburg 2007)
  11. ^ (Stein 2001, p. 258)
  12. ^ (Stein 2001, p. 159)
  13. ^ a b c (Stein 2001, p. 260)
  14. ^ (Bose & Jalal 2003, p. 117)
  15. ^ a b c d Brown 1994, pp. 197-198
  16. ^ Olympic Games Antwerp 1920: Official Report, Nombre de bations representees, p. 168. Quote: "31 Nations avaient accepté l'invitation du Comité Olympique Belge: ... la Grèce - la Hollande Les Indes Anglaises - l'Italie - le Japon ..."
  17. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Brown 1994, pp. 203-204
  18. ^ a b c Brown 1994, pp. 201-203
  19. ^ Lovett 1920, p. 94, 187-191
  20. ^ Sarkar 1921, p. 137
  21. ^ Tinker 1968, p. 92
  22. ^ a b c Spear 1990, p. 190
  23. ^ a b c Brown 1994, pp. 195-196
  24. ^ a b c Stein 2001, p. 304
  25. ^ Ludden 2002, p. 208
  26. ^ a b c d e f g h i Brown 1994, pp. 205-207
  27. ^ (Low 1993, pp. 40, 156)
  28. ^ a b (Low 1993, p. 154)
  29. ^ a b (Metcalf & Metcalf 2006, pp. 206-207)
  30. ^ Nehru 1942, p. 424
  31. ^ a b (Low 1993, pp. 31-31)
  32. ^ Lebra 1977, p. 23
  33. ^ Lebra 1977, p. 31
  34. ^ Chaudhuri 1953, p. 349
  35. ^ Sarkar 1983, p. 411
  36. ^ Fay 1993, p. 496,498,499
  37. ^ Hyam 2007, p. 115
  38. ^ a b (Judd 2004, pp. 172-173)
  39. ^ (Judd 2004, p. 172)
  40. ^ (Khosla 2001, p. 299)


Further Reading

  • Bairoch, Paul, Economics and World History, University of Chicago Press, 1995
  • Bhatia, B. M., Famines in India: A study in Some Aspects of the Economic History of India with Special Reference to Food Problem, Delhi: Konark Publishers Pvt. Ltd, 1985
  • Bowle, John, The Imperial Achievement, Secker & Warburg, London, 1974, ISBN-13: 978-0316104098
  • Coates, Tim, (series editor), The Amritsar Massacre 1919 - General Dyer in the Punjab (Official Reports, including Dyer's Testimonies), Her Majesty's Stationary Office (HMSO) 1925, abridged edition, 2000, ISBN 0-11-702412-0
  • Davis, Mike, Late Victorian Holocausts: El Niño Famines and the Making of the Third World 2001, ISBN 1-85984-739-0
  • Dutt, Romesh C. Open Letters to Lord Curzon on Famines and Land Assessments in India, first published 1900, 2005 edition by Adamant Media Corporation, Elibron Classics Series, ISBN 1-4021-5115-2
  • Dutt, Romesh C. The Economic History of India under early British Rule, first published 1902, 2001 edition by Routledge, ISBN 0-415-24493-5
  • Forbes, Rosita, India of the Princes', London, 1939
  • Forrest, G. W., CIE, (editor), Selections from The State Papers of the Governors-General of India - Warren Hastings (2 vols), Blackwell's, Oxford, 1910
  • James, Lawrence, Raj - The Making and Unmaking of British India, London, 1997, ISBN 0-316-64072-7
  • Keay, John, The Honourable Company - A History of the English East India Company, HarperCollins, London, 1991, ISBN 0-00-217515-0
  • Moorhouse, Geoffrey, India Britannica, Book Club Associates, UK, 1983
  • Morris, Jan, with Simon Winchester, Stones of Empire - The Buildings of the Raj, Oxford University Press, 1st edition 1983 (paperback edition 1986, ISBN 0-19-282036-2
  • Sen, Amartya, Poverty and Famines: An Essay on Entitlements and Deprivation, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1982
  • Srivastava, H.C., The History of Indian Famines from 1858-1918, Sri Ram Mehra and Co., Agra, 1968
  • Voelcker, John Augustus, Report on the Improvement of Indian Agriculture, Indian Government publication, Calcutta, 2nd edition, 1897.
  • Woodroffe, Sir John, Is India Civilized - Essays on Indian Culture, Madras, 1919.
  • Bibliography
  • India,PakistanThis article contains material from the Library of Congress Country Studies, which are United States government publications in the public domain.

See also

External links

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