How Much Did The British Really Influence India

Discussion in 'Hinduism' started by Silverbackman, Aug 23, 2005.

  1. redindica

    redindica New Member

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    Hi All,

    There's no denying that The British influenced India (like all invaders have) however we must bare in mind that at the time of the British takeover India was the second largest economy in the world at the time of independance the Indian state had been reduced to that of a "third word" nation. Like all emipres it was intrinsicley about greed. And is it a conincidence that less then 100 years after the yoke of Imperialism has been shed India is once more an economic power?



     
  2. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Staff Member

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    Seems an odd statement to make about India being the second largest economy just before British control - it would be good to see a source justifying this in comparison to other world economies, and the criteria used to define it. Would be interesting to see in such figures the influence of European trading.

    As for India being reduced after British withdrawal - my reading of the British Empire is very poor, but my distinct impression given is that a contributory reason for the breakdown of the British Empire was that Britain struggled to provide funds for administration of the empire - not least in being made effectively bankrupt by the two "world wars".

    2c.
     
  3. redindica

    redindica New Member

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    Hello Brian

    economic history is a relitively new subject but my information comes from Angus Maddison and a qoute from Wikipedia for you, please read : -


    The fact that Britain had overstratched itself over the two world wars does not negate the fact that India had been reduced to a "third world" economy by the time of Indias independance, as stated above.

    The Greeks were better (lol) :)
     
  4. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Staff Member

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    Thanks for the reference - much appreciated. It would be interesting to see how other economist view the hypothesis. I can't help but feel that they're not factoring the difference industrialisation made to the world economy, though.
     
  5. redindica

    redindica New Member

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    Hi Brian

    I can’t find any references (at least on the net) to your inquiry. However of we are analogous to the present, yes the UK as of the middle part of the 18th century did (obviously) have a greater industrial base then the rest of the world, but this does not necessarily equate to a greater GDP.

    In modern times Norway is by far the richest country in the world without having a vast industrial base....they have resources (oil) however even though Britain is something like ten (approx) places below them could easy invade and take over Norway because of it's military.

    It's a complex issue the books are very expensive. I'll get back if I learn anything new.

    Peace
     
  6. lucius

    lucius New Member

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    I hope you won't mind if I turn this question around and ask 'how much did India influence the British?'

    I have always suspected that during the empire period, there must have been many Brits who became interested if not enthralled with Indian culture, esp. spiritual culture. I think that it was probably something which would have been frowned upon, and so perhaps such people tended to remain silent.

    There are a few exceptions - most well know to me being the case of Sri Krishnaprem, aka Ronald Nixon, a British university lecturer in India who became the first westerner to be initiatad into the Vaishnava tradition. Krishnaprem's story is quite fascinating. He met many of the spiritual luminaries of India in his day, including Ramana Maharishi and Sri Aurobindo, and developed a close friendship with Begali musician, later guru Dilip Kumar Roy.
    Roy wrote a biography 'Yogi Sri Krishnaprem' - it is out of print I believe, but can be found second hand (try abebooks.co.uk).
    Both Sri Aurobindo and Ramana Maharishi had a very high opinion of him, and he is one of the very few non-Indians to be accepted by Indians as a guru.
    For me, his work is an inspiration in many ways.

    I'm sure though that many others must have been influenced to some degree by Indian culture.

    Just one other point - under British rule, India never became a 'Christian nation' - nothing even resembling it.
     
  7. I am free

    I am free And anything is possible

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    This is an interesting point you make. Thanks for highlighting this. Infact during the 1000 years of various muslim invasions, India never became an islamic nation as well, though we do have a very large population of Muslims.
     
  8. Silverbackman

    Silverbackman Prince Of Truth

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    Which says a lot about the validity of Santana Dharma ;).

    Actually such a private narrow attitude about sex has never been a big attribute of Indian culture. Tantric sex was holy and what now :p. In Christianity, sex is looked down upon as a dirty act only done for reproduction. Same with Islam to a certain extent.

    The Brits also brought homophobia to India. Christianity is very homophobic.
     
  9. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Staff Member

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    The point of Indian influence is an interesting point to raise, lucius - certainly in the mid-19th century there was an explosion in interest in Asian culture in general - we have mass translations into English of various major texts, and the formation of groups such as the Theosophists.

    The point about not converting India to Christianity - so far as I understand it so far, the conquest of India was a somewhat accidental process - with the East India Trade Company using British troops to protect it's own trade interests against French and Portugese aggression - an issue that continually escalated, until Britain found itself in political control of India once the French were removed.

    Of course, my source is British, and it would be a valid objection to claim bias. :)
     
  10. lucius

    lucius New Member

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    I think that's an accurate summary of how the Brits came to rule India.
    And there were some attempts to introduce Christianity, but it never gained a very large following. This 'evangelizing' still goes on to-day in India, amid many accusations of mal-practice etc. As far as my knowledge of this goes, it's mainly American style evangelists and Catholics who are active in India nowerdays.

    It's perhaps worth noting that some modern Hindu seers, Sri Ramakrishna for instance, have seen Jesus as another Avatar, and Christianity as another branch of Sanatana Dharma.
     
  11. PrachandaChandikA

    PrachandaChandikA New Member

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    Since I'm in a posting spee today I'll add my feelings being an Indian

    India has been a place of visit for various races over many milleniums, the genetic diversity is said to be quite vast. However we suffered only 2 lasting invasions in known history. Ancient invations ~ there were a few, but culturally it enriched India and the invaders became absorbed in the native tradition, not to mention the variety of native traditions that India produced by itself. By itself India produced 2 of the biggest faiths Hinduism and Buddhism. Jinas were also plentiful, but their population have since decreased.

    However things have been different with the muslim conquest~it was one of the bloodiest invasions of history. They still are the major disunifying factor in India and a major question on India's future progress and survival.

    British Invation was after this. It didn't started as an invasion, but did become a conquest after sometime. Like moslems british didn't integrate~but they didn't stayed back as well.

    I have mixed feelings about it~probably many has. From british angle I don't think there was anything proud about it. It was one pointed economic exploitation and they killed 6m people just by regular famines. India which was once richest and never had people dying of hunger lost in millions due to this british import~and we still have it. May be treatment wasn't so one sided as in Africa as british stay in India was ressult of inner fighting and eneimity of the indian rulers. Like in case of muslim invation, I think brits wouldn't have had a chance if India was united~anyway we never were since (forgot the name of the last major hindu ruler of india). Even the lone tipu sultan and decaying marathas proved a difficult proposition with indian help.

    However on the bright side british did something good and did not do a few bad things which they could have done.
    They did help to unite India to start with and there were examples of countless individual british men who felt deeply for the country and all british development were efforts of such men.
    They could have tried to force christianity like the spaniards or the portuguise, but they left the misssonaries on their own. Look at the destruction of the native culture where other colonial powers also had a say.
    Latin america ~ the seat of red indian civilization destroyed for ever.
    Africe~only the lion hunting masai's are the indigenious tribes now a days ... LOL
    North america was mainly limited tribal inidans and they fought more among themselves causing their annihilation. So we can't blame the british for a christian america.

    In inidia the surge in conversions has started after the brits have left ... but going into apathy of present day india is out-of-scope here.

    *sigh*
     

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