Nurul Hanisah Kamarul Zaman (18499129) Week 9
HIST 103 101
Imperialism:AProduct of Economic Exploitation and Political Inequality
Imperialism in this critical reading will be defined as a superior power’s domination over
an inferior power motivated politically and economically. By specifically focusing on the British
colonization in India in the 1940s, I would like to opine that the motivation behind British
Imperialism is, in actuality, an overlap between economic exploitation and political inequality.
To begin, the British invasion in India in the 1900s was primarily due to its economic interest; it
needed to find resources for its economic activities. Due to that, India was regarded as a ‘jewel in
Britain’s crown’(Kinney).As for its political gains, it was deemed necessary for the British to
retain its territory in India in order to establish its credibility as the most dominant power in the
world which will benefit its foreign relationship in various aspects.
When the anti-colonial uprising led by Mohandas K. Gandhi and Jawahrlal Nehru began
to prevail, the British decided to label the progress as revolutionary movements that create
instability in India whilst maintaining that their presence in India is necessary under the pretext
to protect the Indian princes. Ironically, it was them who massacred approximately 400 unarmed
Indian citizens during a peace gathering atAmritsar Bagh (Kinney). In addition, it was also them
who dragged India in the British-Japanese conflict for power. These examples are among the few
that prove that the British just appeared to be altruistic in their action when in reality, it was
purely an imperialist mission.
In conclusion, imperialism is a product of economic exploitation and political inequality.
It is usually difficult to discern the motivation behind an imperialist’s action as they tend to
appear as being altruist to the colonized countries under some pretexts. Just like what have been
outlined in Gandhi’s principle of non-violent non-cooperation, it is better for a state not to accept
a foreign intervention in handling one’s affair and bribe as there tend to be an underlying
motivation. Nurul Hanisah Kamarul Zaman (18499129) Week 9
HIST 103 101
1) Is it economic exploitation or political inequality that defines imperialism?
- It could be both. See how Winston defends it. Something about Jewel of ???
- Political sense = grants power and prestige, economic exploitation = economic
It can overlap since to possess the credibility as a big power, you have to be a
strong economic power and to having a belief helps with establishing a vision a
way of developing a collective sense
2) What are the British motivations for holding onto India?
3) Colonialism seems outdated to us today, but can you find any reasons to argue that
Churchills’ desire to hold onto India was actually somewhat realistic and possible?
- Rowlatt Acts: a wide range of emergency powers to deal with anti-colonial protests
- Miles Irving was reporting about a general strike by the Congress Party. In the letter:
Suggests for an increase in the military forces. Not having any aid will cause the
British Army to be vulnerable to any attack. Also because they are not equipped with
good weaponry. Irving then requested for better type of munition that can fulfill the
purpose of defending the Brit