James Mill, a Scottish economist and political philosopher of 19th century, thought the following about India.
The Asian societies were at a lower level civilization than the British. Hindu and muslim despots ruled the country. British rule ,miller felt, could civilize India. Finally ,he thought, the period of India before British arrived on its shores was a period of darkness.
Putting aside the racist and the disdainful undertone of his thinking, the British rule in India did definitely have some positive effects on the Indian sub-continent.
- The transformation of India from independent monarchical states to an united democracy. They captured every state/province and controlled them. They introduced the democracy. The concept of Legislature was introduced beginning from the acts of “Indian councils act of 1861”, through acts of 1892, 1909, 1919 and finally 1935. Because of this, India was able to go from provinces with bitter animosity among themselves to an unified nation. Perhaps there may not be a unified India if not for the British (or any other Imperial country which may have taken the place of British)
2. It helped in generating a feeling of nationalism inside people’s heads. This in turn helped in organizing various social reform movements. Also, with the onset of British came the western thought because of which many social reformers were able to constructively criticize the supreme authority of the Vedas. Western thought ignited logical resoning in Indian minds, which in turn helped in abolishing social injustice (monopoly of Brahmins, Sati, widow remarriage, child marriage, women education, polytheism etc) prevalent at the time
3. The conservative and uptight nature of the then British society can also be seen in its colonial administration. They made exhaustive records of every plan, instruction, policy, decision, agreement and investigation. This method of record keeping was adapted by the independent Indian administration(Can this be the reason for the slowness of the bureaucracy? ). It also helped historians in later centuries learn about the British rule in India.
4. The inadequate measures by the British government took to advance education in India were often guided by reasons other than philanthropy such as ensuring the supply of cheap educated Indians to subordinate posts in the administration and hope that educated Indians would expand the market for British manufacturers in India. Though inadequate, it introduced Indians to the modern political and social thought. They gained knowledge of the revolutions which raged Europe at the end of the middle ages.