What Kind Of Political Legacy Did Colonial

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What Kind Of Political Legacy Did Colonial Rule Bequeath To Independent India? Essay, Research Paper In the approximately two hundred years of British rule in India, the British did many things that still have an impact on India. The civil service set up by the British has managed to survive relatively intact until the present day for example, and large parts of the Indian transport network were built under British supervision. Two hundred years of colonial rule must have a major effect on the colony, for it’s people were not allowed to govern themselves; they had to rely on the colonial power to impose laws on them as they had little power in their own right. This paper aims to examine closely the British rule in India and its subsequent independence, and attempt to

ascertain what impact British colonial rule has had on Indian politics since the British left. India’s colonial experience is in many ways untypical of the colonial experience of the rest of the British Empire. One of the major reasons for this was the exceptionalism of India itself, the ‘jewel in the crown’ of the British empire. Logistically, India was (and is) a massive country, one that did not lend itself to harsh rule from the centre, unlike some other British colonies. It would be wrong, however, to paint a picture of the British as some kind of enlightened educators of the Indian masses, for their original and major reason for colonising India was to exploit the great untapped wealth of the Indian subcontinent. Bearing this point in mind, it would also be wrong to

dismiss the British rule of India as producing nothing good, despite the fact that some of the advantages that India gained through colonial rule were not achieved with the express purpose of improving India’s lot. A good example of this is the fact that colonial rule bequeathed to India an excellent army and police force, while these were set up by the British to safeguard their own colonial interests and keep order. It is impossible to make a case that any of the ex-colonies, on gaining independence, did not have some sort of colonial legacy. The major question is how much the colonial period affects countries after their independence in the many different spheres of national life. Britain left India a legacy in most areas of Indian life after independence, but the political

legacy that they left was particularly strong, both in the political system that was drawn up after independence and in the political culture. The Indian Constitution that emerged in January 1950 “bore an uncanny resemblance to the Government of India Act of 1935″ (Manor, 1990:p33). The Act expanded the electorate to approximately one-sixth of the adult population and greatly increased Indian participation in government, with one of the most notable consequences of this being that the members of the Congress gained valuable governing experience which was to aid them to rule India when it eventually gained independence. The Act also provided for a federal structure of power for India, with states gaining their own powers, and the Congress gained power in 7 of the 11 provinces.

It was one of the main political legacies of the British that the Congress gained some (albeit limited) governmental experience and it helped greatly in the Indian transition to independence. In many former colonies, their post-independence politicians had little or no experience in government but the 1935 Government of India Act provided a good interim measure between British and Indian rule and became the basis for the Indian constitution. Although the Act provided the basis for India’s constitution, it was not just repeated wholesale as the new constitution. Important changes had been made, such as the introduction of universal suffrage, the guaranteeing of certain fundamental rights, and the removal of the principle of dyarchy, but the core of the two documents remained