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How did British Imperialism in India negatively affect Indian society in terms of the...

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zaverps | Student, Grade 10

Posted February 8, 2012 at 9:52 PM via web

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How did British Imperialism in India negatively affect Indian society in terms of the caste system and religion?

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justaguide | College Teacher | (Level 2) Distinguished Educator

Posted February 8, 2012 at 10:39 PM (Answer #1)

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The British like almost every other imperialist power used a tactic referred to "divide and rule" to create barriers between people based on their religion, caste, ethnicity, etc. Dividing people in this way allowed them to easily assert their authority over the smaller groups of people that were created. It would have been very difficult if not impossible for the British to establish their rule over India if the Indians had stayed a strong united group that did not spend their resources fighting among each other and find that once they had done that it wasn't possible for them to defend themselves against the British.

The British found small differences in the societal structure of people that lived together peacefully as a large united group. One example is that of Hindus and Muslims. Using the difference in religion the British split the two groups and made the two begin to look at each action of the other with suspicion. It finally led to large battles between kingdoms that were made up predominantly by Hindus and Muslims. Even after the British had been able to create their empire in India it was essential for them to not allow a large movement demanding freedom from rising. This required a continuous need to divide people that negatively affected Indian society, something that has not been corrected even though India has been independent for over 50 years.

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