Politics and Government in South Asia
September 17, 2013
Colonialism is very evident in South Asia.
The political legacies of colonialism have shaped the region.
-Shri Lanka took a bit of a different direction.
The focus of this lecture will be on British colonialism.
History of Colonialism:
-Ideas and education
-State and institution
-Political representation and electoral experience
Partition (the partition of Pakistan from India). The extent of violence, etc.
The British were in India for about 200 years.
The British East India Company was created in 1600.
But the real political control of India began in 1757, when they won a key battle in
India, winning the province of Bengal.
You can divide British colonialism into two separate legacies.
The fist was “Company Rule” and the second was “Crown Rule”.
The second period, from 1858 on was when the British crown officially took over
rule of India.
What did India look like before the British showed up?
-India was very politically fragmented in the 1500s. Between 10-15AD India was
marked by constant invasions and immigration.
-Degree of political sophistication- legal systems- armed forces- tax extraction
-Weak impulse towards modernity.
The Mughals was not moving towards what we would think of as a modern state as
others were from the industrial revolution elsewhere.
The height of this empire was before British control. The British were not the only
ones with colonial control. The Dutch and French also had colonies, but the British
took majority control after defeating the French.
Because the British industrial revolution was in such a rising situation, they needed
places like India to help with their production. The territory the British took was a gradual process. It took place over a 90-100
year period. This meant that institutions of the state had to govern these states.
What we see then is the British beginning to centralizing political organization.
-Establishment of state apparatus
-Centralized political administration by civil servants. Parlimentary supervision of
Company activities. The British crown began taking control over the East India
-The recruitment into the army grows significantly.
Aspects of Indirect Rule:
-they were areas of India that were under indirect control of the British. In these
areas local princes were still in charge of much of the domestic affairs.
-there were varieties of arrangements with traditional elite.