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Political Science
POLI 211
Fillippo Sabetti

India PRE-INDEPENDENCE INDIA: CIVILIZATION AND EMPIRE TO COLONIALISM AND NATIONALISM Civilization and Empire: The Sources of Identity and Unity in South Asia • Indo-Aryans: ligher-skinned, newly transplanted, concentrated in northern and central plains of India, speak languages based off of Sanskrit • Dravidians: darker-skinned, native to india, concentrated in southern part, language not from Sanskrit • ethnic divide has played a significant role in Indian electoral politics and center- periphery relations • no official indian language ◦ Sanskrit and offshoots of it ◦ Hindi ◦ English ◦ Urdu • common civilization began to take shape in northern and central plains ◦ empires under powerful princes, conquering several regional kingdoms • Caste is a key aspect of social life for organizing work and ordering social life ◦ families associated with different traditional occupations were ranked on hierarchical scale of "purity" ◦ at the top: Brahmins (priests) ◦ at the bottom: untouchables ◦ what really counted was the membership in one of the specific subdivisions (jati) of the five castes within a given region ▪ jati determines occupation, social status, rules, habits, obligations, marriage prospects ◦ caste system finally abolished by the Indian constitution after Independence • muslim Moghul Empire was tolerant and respectful towards Hindu The Encounter with the West: British Colonial Rule (1757-1947) • arrival of British traders marked South Asia's first really important encounter with the West • British East India Trading Company (EIC) ◦ began establishing trading stations in coastal towns ◦ regional rulers signed agreements with EIC enhancing their political and economic position in exchange for trading concessions ◦ British have increasing economic control over the region ◦ Battle of Plassey ▪ British troops defeat Bengali prince that tried to turn on them ▪ Britain rapidly proceeded to defeat dozens of other regional armies ◦ 1840 establishes colonial empire ◦ initially proceeded through indirect rule ▪ series of alliances with regional princes ◦ later became a more formalized system of direct rule ◦ Sepoy Mutiny ▪ discovery that animal grease from pigs (hated by Muslims) and cows (sacred to Hindus) being used in rifle cartridges ▪ became organized campaign supported by princes to end British rule in India ▪ Britain establishes direct rule ▪ viceroy leads on behalf of the Queen • political legacy ◦ establishment of institutions that would be adopted by a postcolonial indian nation-state ▪ created the civil service ▪ later became the Indian Administrative Service, the backbone of modern Indian bureaucracy ▪ national and regional assemblies with elected reps ▪ offered a semblance of legitimacy ▪ basis for parliamentary democracy ▪ systematized the division of labour between central and provincial administrations ◦ heightening of mistrust among groups identifying with different castes, regions, and religions ▪ differential treatment of various groups ▪ strategy of "divide and rule" ▪ taken advantage of the fact that native elites in different regions could be made to compete with each other for status or influence ▪ upper-caste Hindus recruited the most into the colonial administration ▪ manipulation of tensions between Hindu majority and Muslim minority in order to justify British colonial administration ▪ 1905 partition of Bengal into a predominantly Muslim eastern half (H40%) and a predominantly Hindu western half (M20%) ▪ claimed division was necessary to administer the region more efficiently ▪ designed to stifle a nationalist movement that was gathering steam in Bengal • economic policies ◦ new mining and construction, building factories and machinery, construction of extensive network of transportation and communication ◦ middle class and working class emerge, setting the stage for class division ◦ much of the infrastructure they set up was designed not to boost indigenous industrial growth but to facilitate the extraction of valuable resources and the transportation of British-manufactured goods to distant markets ◦ working class severely exploited (cheap labour) ◦ expanded production of cash crops took away land and labour from subsistence agriculture, intensifying poverty and hunger among rural people ◦ monopolies on the production of key necessities (like salt) make the native popu
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