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History Notes > Empire and Nation: Britain and India Since 1750 Notes

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"Far from being an age of increased racial diference, the period afer the Revolt of 1857 was a golden age of cooperation between the British and Indian elites". Discuss. Argument This essay suggests that the period afer the Revolt of 1857 was born out of historical processes marked by an interplay of

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A deconstruction of the question necessitates Relativity of the term increased, this requires an understanding of the level of racial difference that existed prior to 1857

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The need to define the period after the Revolt of 1857 British and Indian elites - hence the subject mater of this essay excludes a focus on peasants, sepoys etc. A definition of elites. According to British experts of the term, the new western-educated intelligentsia were both neglibible in number as well as untrustworthy. Rather, it was the landed aristocracy, in particular the princes, that constituted what Claude Markovits refers to as the ' natural' elite of India1. The intellegentsia too operated in a socio-economic context of landed wealth over mobavle wealth

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Creates conditions of

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This essay seeks to argue Essay The immediate consequence of the Revolt was that India came under the direct sovereignty of the British Crown. The Act of 1858 completely altered the basis of government in India, as the mercantile corporation that was the East India Company lost control of the subcontinent. Following the suppression of the Sepoy Revolt, the colonial state reorganized itself. British rule began to be contested by a nationalist movement manifested within the Indian National Congress formed in 1885.

YES THERE WAS A GOLDEN AGE OF COOPERATION According to Claude Markovits, the colonial government endeavored to consolidate its relationship with local Indians, especially the elite, since it was expected that this would be followed by acceptance from the masses2. The Queen's proclamation of November 1858 promised the Indian princes that their rights, dignity, as well as the integrity of their territorial possessions would all be respected. This signaled a break from the policy of annexation of princely states practiced by Lord Dalhousie. Thus in 1862 Lord Canning permited princes to adopt heirs in accordance with their religious laws and customs3. These personal concessions to individual rulers give credence to the idea that the years afer the revolt were indicative of a golden age of cooperation between British and Indian elites. of In 1861 the creation of the order of the Star of India led to the integration of notable Indian princes into a purely British honours system. The Royal Titles Act of 1861, it can thus be argued, was an illustration of the growing sense of understanding and cultural assimilation between the British and Indian elites wherein Queen Victoria was proclaimed Empress of India in a durbar before an assembly of the principal notables and princes of India. Other measures taken by the British to appease Indian princes

1 Claude Markovits, "The Colonial State and Indian Society (1854-1914)" in A History of Modern India 1480-1950 (London, 2004) p.347

2 Claude Markovits, "The Colonial State and Indian Society (1854-1914)" in A History of Modern India 1480-1950 (London,

2004) p.347

3 Sir George Dunbar, "India Under The Crown" in A History of India From Earliest Times to the Present Day Vol II (Great Britain, 1943) p.525

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