British imperialism in India can be traced back to the seven years’ war between major colonial empires. India was the envy of all of Europe. It had vast resources which included cotton, silk, indigo dye, saltpeter, tea, and opium. However these resources were heavily contested between the French, Dutch, and Portuguese. Corporations in Britain pressured the government to take control of India. Inhabitants were recruited to fight for European forces; large communities in India were devastated with the resulting casualties. With Britain taking over India and turning it into a part of the British empire, they changed the day to day lives of many people .Britain gave India more advanced technologies; however, many Indians died due to the famines and poor living conditions. India went from one of the healthiest countries economically to being poor and industriously backwards. Before India was taken over, they had one of the strongest economies, even more so than Britain.
In India the British colonization had some positive effects just like negative. Britain’s industrial revolution, which gave them newer technologies and jobs, also affected India in this manner. India was rapidly developed with railways, roads, canals and bridges to bring raw materials from the hinterland to its ports. For instance, when the British colonized India they produced a faster way of transportation by building 40, 000 miles of railroads and 70,000 miles of paved roadway. Another good affect that the British had on India was the start in agriculture, through large scale irrigation works, about 30 million acres were put into cultivation. But anywhere there is good there is always some bad in the hiding. Many of the people in India were farmers in rural areas. Most of the food that they grew was sold to far off markets. Many of the small farmers, dependent on these markets, lost land, equipment and animals to money lenders. The end of the 19th century also saw many famines which led to many farms being shut down and millions of people dying. The British leaders destroyed India’s self-sufficient village economy.
The British embarked on deindustrialized India so that Britain would have all of the wealth. The British also perturbed the Hindu population by making English the official language. They prohibited the practice of suttee and infanticide but they allowed widows to remarry and allowed missionary activity. Many Indians died during the time Britain ruled over India. Between 6.1 million and 10.3 million people died during the 1876-1878 famine and 1.3 million and 10 million during the 1899-1900 famine. Because the reported deaths have such large ranges, shows that the British administration did not care for the Indian people as they would for their other-more British- colonies. There were several pandemics of cholera and the bubonic plague killing over 50 million people in India alone. About 4.7 million Indians died due to small pox between 1868 and 1907. Over 120,000 Indians were leprosy patients in 1881. Many vaccines for these diseases were found in India helping out the rest of the world with battling these diseases. The East India Company’s takeover was selfish and destroyed the way Indians lived. Many Indians are poor and live in terrible conditions. However, the Indians would most likely be in a worse position because they would not have the advanced infrastructure and technology that Britain gave to them. They wouldn’t have any hospitals or medical research and many would die to diseases. They also helped aid in medical advancements that affect the entire world because of Britain’s administration in the country.
British imperialism on India had many positive and negative effects on both the mother country, Britain and the colony, India. Many people would argue the effects which were more prominent in these countries and some would agree that the effects were equal. That is beside the point because in both cases there were actually both equal and reasonable. British Imperialism in India has changed the face of India. Although Britain didn't necessarily have the right to invade India, they did- that is history. The treatment of Indians was at many times deplorable and methods of control crude. Britain did however add to the overall infrastructure of India, which added to India's economic ability. Overall, imperialism had its benefits but was unfair. India did not ask for Britain's help, nor did Britain have the right to invade. British Imperialism had indeed its ups and its downs.