British “Raj” in India

British Raj is associated with British rule in the Indian subcontinent. The period embraces 1858-1947. The region which we call India nowadays was under the rule of the United Kingdom and was called the British Indian Empire. Great Britain started to expand its power in India in the beginning of the 1800s and in the middle India was under the full control of the British Empire. Nevertheless, India tried to rebel against expansion and the Indian Rebellion of 1857 appeared to be a turning point in the British history in Indian region.

India tried to resist British rule as Britain provided their life standards which contradicted Indian way of life. For example, the British Empire provided cow fat and pork which were unacceptable for Hinduism being practiced in India. Nevertheless, the rebellion had failed and the British Empire provided a number of reforms which included recruitment of Indians into the civil service and tolerance of religion. The reforms aimed at preventing further reforms through conciliation and to strengthen the British military.

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Many historians argue that the British Empire didn’t try to take full control over the Indian region, but when rebellion started to threaten British interest, it had to step in. McNamara writes that “resentment toward the British had been building for some time and new policies which allowed the British to annex some areas of India exacerbated tensions”. (McNamara, 1998) The office of the Viceroy became the first embodiment of the new British Raj in India. When Prime Minister Disraeli proclaimed Queen Victoria as “Empress of India” in 1876, the affection the British crown felt for its colony.
Throughout the remainder of the 19th century the British Raj continued and was characterized by unpopular policies caused emergence of series of Indian nationalist movements. Only after 1947 India had managed to gain certain independence and sovereignty from the British Empire. In 1947 the British Indian Empire was divided into the union of India and the Dominion of Pakistan. Bibliography McNamara, Robert. 1998. “The British Raj Defined India Throughout the 1800s”. Database on-line. Available from http://history1800s. about. com/od/thebritishempire/tp/indiatimeline01. htm

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