British Imperialism India Dbq Analysis

1370 Words6 Pages
Madi Hellwege
Imperialism in India After 90 years under imperial rule, India gained its independence from the British in 1947. How could they be under this rule for so long? In 1707, the Mughal Dynasty, the ruling power in India, started to collapse. The East India Company, a British company, took advantage of this opportunity and became the leading power in India. In 1875, the British government took full control after the Sepoy Rebellion. The British valued India for their raw materials and potential market for their products, calling them the “jewel of the crown.” The British rule was effective, setting up a framework for India’s government, building new infrastructure, and spreading the English Language. Although they did this, the British
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According to Lalvani, the British built the Indian mining industry which started “producing nearly 16 million tons of coal a year.” While they may have created a new industry, they ended up destroying one of the biggest, the weaving industry. In Bengal, weaving was flourishing, so to promote their own cloth the British placed taxes on Indian made fabric causing weavers to no longer be able to sell and make their creations in the city (Doc. 5). This is significant because Bengalis were driven into poverty and “weavers became beggars (Doc. 5).” Indians were forced to leave the city because the British made it impossible to compete with. For example, “the population of Dhaka, which was once the great center of cloth production, fell from several hundred thousand in 1760 to about 50,000 by the 1820s (Doc. 5).” Lalvani also asserts that the British “worked to preserve the environment and animals of India.” However, they did the opposite. The British used the Indian land to grow cash crops, such as indigo, cotton, or tobacco, which “totally degraded the farmland and made it unfit for growing other crops (Doc. 7).” This is important because the land that was once farmed for food crops could no longer be used for that purpose, so people had to rely on the…show more content…
Lalvani states that “the spread of the English language allowed communication between people from different backgrounds who previously could not communicate” which was important for the unification of the country. Those different groups, however, were the British and Indians, not people in India. For example, they wanted to “form a class who may be interpreters between us and the millions whom we govern (Doc. 10).” Their intent of spreading English was not to help unify Indians, but to cause them to think, act, and believe what they do, helping them stay in power. To illustrate this point further, the British say they wanted their interpreters to be “Indians in blood and colour, but English in taste, in opinions, in morals and in intellect (Doc. 10).” Along with this, Lalvani claims that the British improved the health and life expectancy of Indians because “malaria was tackled and vaccination against smallpox introduced.” They may have started to tackle diseases like malaria, but if they really wanted to increase the life expectancy of Indians they would have done something about the 26 million people who died of famine in 1875 to 1900 (Doc. 11). During the famine, they only made things worse by forcing the Indians to grow cash crops instead of food and raise taxes to collect the

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