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How far do these sources suggest that the aim of British rule in India was to...

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simplesmriti | High School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 26, 2012 at 5:04 PM via web

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How far do these sources suggest that the aim of British rule in India was to ‘elevate’ the Indian people?

SOURCE 9

(From a letter written in 1883 by the British Viceroy, the Marquis of Ripon, discussing a plan to allow Indian judges to try cases involving Europeans)

 

“It is England’s duty to try to elevate the Indian people, to raise them socially, to train them politically, to promote their progress in material prosperity, in education and in morality. It cannot be the purpose of her rule to maintain a precarious power over what has been called ‘a subject race with a profound hatred of their rulers”.

 

 

SOURCE 10

(From George Bernard Shaw, Fabianism and the Empire, published 1900. He was referring to the Empire as a whole, including India. Shaw was well known as a socialist writer.)

 

The majority of our fellow-subjects are black, brown or yellow, Muslim, Buddhist or Hindu. We rule these populations by a bureaucracy as undemocratic as that of Russia. But if we substituted for that bureaucracy local self-government by the white traders and residents, we should get the oppression and, in some places, open extermination of the native population

 


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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted May 26, 2012 at 5:13 PM (Answer #1)

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According to these sources, the British are not necessarily interested in "elevating" the Indian people.

Source 9 is an official government source.  As such, it reflects British policy as conceived of by the government.  It argues that the entire goal of British imperialism is to elevate and to improve the Indian people.

Source 10 takes a more nuanced view.  It argues that the British rule is completely undemocratic.  It implies that it is not meant to help the Indians.  However, it also admits that government by a British bureaucracy is much better for the Indian people than government by white traders and merchants who would care about nothing but economic gain.

Between them, the sources imply that British rule was at least somewhat aimed at helping the Indians.  It was ideally meant to improve them, but at the worst it at least protected them from the depredations of British traders.  

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