What did the British ever do for India and the rest of the Raj? ?

In the Monty Python film Life of Brian there is a a scene known to Python fans as the ” What have the Romans ever done for us” . This involved John Cleese asking repeatedly “What have the Romans ever done for us ?” with various members of the cast coming up with things such as Roman roads, clean drinking water, education, medicine. All of this was done for comic effect but it had a serious message because the British Empire like the Roman one brought a great number of useful things to the subcontinent .Hence we can play What did the British ever do for us?, viz

What did the British do for India (and the rest of the subcontinent) ?

Created an entity called India from an amalgam of warring states

Stamped out many vile practices such as thugee and Sati.

Gave India the largest railway system in the world

Gave India modern roads

Gave India introduction to western Science

Gave India a modern education system

Gave India a modern system of law

Gave India a modern police force

Gave India a modern civil service
Gave India a modern Army

Gave India a modern navy

Gave India an air force

Gave India a modern civil service

Gave India an inside track to modern medicine

Gave India an inside track to industrialisation

Rescued much of the subcontinent’s history

Stopped serious Muslim/Hindu massacres of one another

Gave India a form of representative government

Built New Delhi

Introduced cricket to the subcontinent

The what did the British do for us? can be employed when judging the British Empire generally .

British official colonial policy from around 1900 was (1) to eventually raise the culture of the indigenous peoples in those colonies to a state where they could rule themselves .and (2) until those people were fit to rule themselves to act as guardians to those people.

As to the specific things the British brought to the colonies in general, those I listed for India were brought in part to to the colonies widely the most widespread being schools and universities, medical facilities and the idea of representative government.

More generally the exercise can be employed for any country. Why not have a go?

Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: