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Why Do the Events of 1857-8 in India Matter?

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Why Do the Events of 1857-8 in India Matter?

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  • March 2013
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The events of 1857-8 are extremely significant and have changed India dramatically into the India we see today. We see the British taking over India from the East India Company after a ‘mutiny’ in 1857 and welcoming it into a colony in the British Empire. It was described as “the jewel in the crown” of the British Empire because of their rich sources such as silk that were deported from India to countries in Europe. This made Britain considerably richer and greedier as they increased their power by continuing to expand their empire. The British made many positive changes as well as negative changes in India during their rule such as introducing technology such as expanding railways for everyone to use, and education for some Indians. These are just a few changes that helped a trade-inspired outlook within India. Nevertheless, they also took advantage of the Indians by making money from their resources, charging them heavy taxes to use in Britain and sending many Indians to fight for Britain in the First World War. We see that many changes shaped the modern India today, but why do these changes matter to us? We find out much about British rule in India from the outbreak of fighting of the mutiny before 1857 as it tells us about how the East India Company forced strict rules and intervened upon the Hindu society such as ignoring their religious beliefs, which was one of the key factors leading up to the Indian ‘mutiny’. We see that although some changes did benefit from the Indians, the general attitude was negative, since all Indians were heavily taxed as discriminated. The way Britain changed from a trader to a ruler reveals to us how greedy Britain were at the time and how powerful as they could gain control of such a big country like India. We also can see how the British abused their power as they treated the Indians unfairly, as, in an account written by Vishnubhat Godse, an Indian who was living in the city of Jhansi in 1857, described how they British took...

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