For better or for worse, Britain has had a lasting effect on India. India became a part of the British Empire in the 1876 but gained its independence in 1947.
The East India Trading Company first managed India. After the failure of the first voyage to India by William Hawkins, it appeared that business could not be conducted there. However, things improved and the East India Trading Company expanded into India. Over the years, many achievements were made and records were set, and there were many successes and failures on both sides. But which one was the most crucial? And how did it all end?
Thomas Coryate was one of the first British men to travel across India. He was originally a jester in the court of King James I before he set off on his Grand Tour. His main motive in the Far East was to preach Christianity to Indians and try and convert them. However, his progress was slow because he travelled by foot. Once he reached Indian, he preached Christianity from Muslim towers, but no one really took notice of him. The Indians thought that he was strange, but harmless. This proved to be their undoing. Assuming all the British were similar to the slightly deranged Coryate, the Indians were grossly unprepared for the British invasion in 1876.
Thomas Coryate died of dysentery in Surat in 1617. However, he left many books describing his travels across India and Europe, providing modern historians with a clear impression of civilisation at the time.
The history of India shows how the British used cunning to achieve their aim of invading India. Robert Clive captured the province of Bengal after tricking Mir Jafar into signing a contract promising not use the Indian troops against the British in battle. The scene in the painting shows the signing of the unfair contract. Clive then went on to become the first Governor of Bengal.
Rammohan Roy was an Indian who made a major impact on Indian Hindu’s lives in the 19th century. There is a statue of him in Bristol – where he died. Roy became famous because he was the man that campaigned to stop the Hindu tradition of ‘Sati,’ (also known as Sutee) when wives commit suicide on behalf of their dead husband. After Roy saw his sister-in-law do this, he appealed to the British Governor and the General of India, who then abolished this ancient tradition throughout the whole of India in 1829. At the time, this act made the Indians very angry. They felt hurt that a tradition that had been around for centuries had been banned. They also felt betrayed by their own person. Modern Indians think differently. They thank Rammohan Roy for saving the lives of their female ancestors. They believe he was a great reformer. This shows that the British had quite a big impact on India because it was the first time that the British had interfered with Indian customs and changed one. On the positive side, it stopped many wives committing suicide. It was a turning point of the history of British rule in India.
A big change...