India has a rich history of working closely with the Western world. Despite periods of being exploited, occupied, or in other ways heavily influenced, it has retained its unique culture and customs. India's diversity and flexibility have made it a strong and valuable ally to many other nations. It has retained these important relationships even during the violence, disease, and famine that have occasionally tormented this massive country. With more than a sixth of the world's population, India is now seen and respected as a partner on the world stage.
Europe and England began trade with India in the 16th century. The famous East India Company was born out of these agreements. As the company grew, it acquired lands and power. The government's response to this was to repeatedly add regulations and take control of certain operations. After an uprising in 1857, Britain fully nationalized and dissolved the East India Company. They eventually leveraged their position into ruling two-thirds of the subcontinent. Even after two world wars severely damaged the British empire, it wouldn't be until 1947 that India regained sovereignty.
The Indian caste system is a hereditary classification of individuals based on social class. There are conflicting reports on the prevalence and severity of the caste system before English rule, but it is clear that the British census and other programs strengthened and codified the discrimination. After Indian independence, the new constitution abolished discrimination based on caste, at least legally. Today, there are affirmative action programs to counter the continued class discrimination.
The East India Company, and later the British Crown, controlled a vast amount of land. The states of India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh were all once directly controlled by the Kings and Queens of England. The diversity in India caused unique problems in seeking independence. Hindu-Muslim...