East India Company

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1. The replacement of the East India Company, by the British Government, had a substantial effect on the way India was governed. How far, though, did this improve the way in which India was governed?

One must not forget that the East India Company was a commercial company, and that its solitary purpose was to make yield profit in everything it did. In this sense, the British Government was better than the company. The British Government, on the other hand, wanted to improve trade with India – it was ready to pay for Indian goods, such as tea and cotton, thus improving the Indian economy, and making life better for the locals (even though in reality, the Indians weren’t really paid what they deserved).

Furthermore, because the Government was not a commercial company, but rather a political establishment – it did things that helped the locals as well (along with themselves). One instance of how the British did something to help the Indians was the fact that railways and roads were built all across India, at the Government’s expense – this helped transport goods and people. The building of the railways and roads provided jobs for the local Indian population. Britain furthermore helped India by introducing public schools, thus making education available (this was only made available to the most elite Indians, though).

The British also established a postal service for the first time – a service that never existed in the regime of the East India Company. Another extremely important facility that was introduced by the Government was the fact that public hospitals were set-up all cross the sub-continent. This helped save many lives – and this was a thing that one would rarely get to see under the rule of the Company. The government also introduced new farming methods to help the Indians yield more of their farms – thus helping them agriculturally. Finally, under the supervision of the new regime, the Indians were also able to establish their own political party (which was called the Congress).

There were also though, drawbacks of the new British regime One of these drawbacks, was the fact that India was now divided – the British community segregated themselves from the Indians, increasing racist problems. British isolation meant that the Indian people were prevented from high posts. The company though didn’t care – it was only interested in exploiting the country for its riches. Furthermore, the British also tried to ban the Indian customs – such as the suttee, and the thugee, along with infanticide, and the introduction of missionaries. Indians were also not paid as well as the British people were – even though queen Victoria promised to treat the Indians as equals. Finally, the fact stood, that even though a political party had been established (which was a good thing); it was of no use, as it got no say in the Government (until “Morley-Minto Reforms” in 1909).

Thus, in conclusion, as one can see, even though there were political reforms that helped administer India in a better way, there were also downfalls that made the governing equivalent to that of the East India Company – causing misunderstanding between the nations.

2. “The Chinese never truly accepted western trade and ideas which were thrust upon them in the nineteenth century.” How far is this statement right?

The Chinese were “Officially…not much impressed by Western traders. Emperor Ch’ien Lung (1735-1799) wrote to King George III after a trade delegation had arrived in Peking during 1793:

“I accept the royal gifts of clocks, guns and telescopes because you have taken so much trouble to bring them to me…But I must point out that there is nothing we lack! We have never set much store on strange or ingenious objects, nor do we need any of your countries manufactures”.” This quote goes on to show how several leading Chinese resisted foreign trade. Emperor Ch’ien Lung detested the foreigners and officially gave them only one port (Whampoa) where to trade, initially. There were several reasons why the emperor didn’t like and didn’t trust.

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