Did the Indian Mutiny of 1857 create the British Raj?
The Indian Rebellion of 1857, which was also called the Indian Mutiny, or the War of Independence was a turning point in the history of Britain in India. However, whether this lead to the formation of the British Raj, will be explicitly explored in this essay.
The East India Company traded in cotton, silk, tea and opium. They won over Bengal after gaining victory in the Battle of Plassey in 1757, under Robert Clive. The East India Company functioned as the military authority in growing sections of India, as well. By 1770, heavy taxation and other policies had left millions of Bengalis deprived. While British soldiers and traders made their fortunes, the Indians starved. Between 1770 and 1773, about 1/3 of the population died from famine. At this time, Indians also were barred from high office in their own land, which meant people like Robert Clive had more opportunities and privileges. The British considered them inherently corrupt and untrustworthy. The Company began to vigorously expand its area of control in India, making it easier for young aristocrats from Britain to exploit its potential. The British felt there were two positive economic benefits provided by the India. It was a captive market for British goods and services, and served defence needs by maintaining a large standing army at no cost to the British taxpayer. Amongst these benefits were the large scale capital investments in railways, canals and irrigation works, shipping and mining; the commercialisation of agriculture and the establishment of an education system in English. This emphasised law and order creating suitable conditions for the growth of industry and enterprise; and the integration of India into the world economy.
Conversely, the British Raj are criticised for leaving Indians poorer and more prone to devastating famines; exhorting high taxation in cash from penniless people. Also, draining Indian revenues to pay for an...
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