Impact of British Rule

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : May 26, 2022, 7:26

Though the majority of India was a rural economy, India has always been a financially-rich country. From the first century till the beginning of British colonization, India's GDP varied between ~25% - ~35%; but by the time the British left India in 1947, it had gone down to ~2%. Such has been the Impact of British Rule.

Indian artisans produced enough goods to meet the need of Indian and Arabic nations and Rome. British traders primarily came to India for trading purposes only. But subsequently, the demand for Indian goods and exports increased, leading mainly to Britain's Industrial Revolution.

Social and Cultural Impact of British Rule

The British rule bought a lot of social and cultural reforms to India -

  • Liberty, Freedom, Equality, Human Rights, and Women Empowerment concepts were introduced by Britishers in India. This also led to age-old traditions prevalent in those times, like Untouchability, Child marriage, Sati, Female Foeticide, and others, being demolished.
  • British education systems were introduced and they empowered people of all caste and religions to get formal education. Women could also gain an education, which led to mass reforms and improvement in the quality of life for women.
  • The caste system was demolished, led not just by the British laws but reforms brought by Indian reformers and mass leaders too.

Despite the reforms, the British policy of 'Divide & Rule' was continued and led to constant unrest and distrust due to caste, religious and ideological differences.

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Impact of British Rule on Economic Conditions

  • The advent of the British in India introduced modern technologies and infrastructures like telegrams, railways, hospitals, schools, and factories. However, these developments were meant to facilitate the exploitation of India's resources and not to enhance Indian lives.
  • The creation of jobs and new opportunities, thanks to industrialization in India, created a new urban middle-class.
  • Indian Handicrafts were taxed heavily while importing, which led to the higher price of the commodities. In contrast, cheap machine-made clothes and commodities from Britain were made abundantly available due to no duties while entering the Indian market. This led to the downfall of the Indian handicrafts demand in the local markets.
  • Farmers were forced to grow certain specialized crops like cotton, jute, sugarcane, tobacco, groundnut, etc., which would be traded to the international market and not used for consumption in the Indian market. This destroyed India's economy and led to an increasing poverty rate in the country.
  • Mismanagement in the agricultural system by the British led to regular recurrence of famines and malnourishment. It is estimated that around 2.8 crore people died in famines between 1850 and 1900.

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The Impact of British Rule in India was both destructive and constructive. It disturbed India's traditional economy and looted its rich heritage and wealth but also had a profound impact on the social, cultural and political life of every Indian. It transformed India as much as it hurt the economy.

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FAQs on Impact of British Rule

Q1. What was the Impact of British Rule in India?

The greatest Impact of British Rule in India was the destruction of the Indian economy. The British introduced many regulations to promote their factory-made products, destroying the local handcrafted business. Their policy to force Indian farmers to grow raw materials like cotton, indigo, tobacco, and other crops also impacted the agriculture system, leading to many famines in India.

Q2. What were the social and cultural Impacts of British Rule in India?

The British introduced many policies that led to a change in Indian social and cultural traditions. For example, age-old traditions like child marriage, Sati, untouchability, etc., were abolished. However, the British policy of 'Divide & Rule' led to severe unrest in Indian society, which eventually would be the reason for the partition of India.

Q3. What is the negative Impact of British Rule in India?

The Negative Impacts of British Rule in India include the destruction of local industry and agriculture system, the divide and rule policy that led to constant unrest in different castes, creeds and religions and infighting, constant famines, exploitation of peasants with heavy taxation and high revenue rates, to name a few.

Q4. What is the positive Impact of British Rule in India?

The positive Impacts of British Rule in India include the introduction of modern education, improvement in women's lives thanks to the reform movement, improvement to India's infrastructure led by railways, hospitals, and schools being built, modern governance systems, and the introduction of the introduction industrialization in India.