Britishers looted India for nearly two centuries. Not a big deal, we are generous. “India’s contribution to world economy before Britishers arrived was 23% and it reduced to 4% when they left”, said Shashi Tharoor. The speech that he delivered at “Oxford Union Debate” is a perfect verbal chronicle of the British “loot”. Loot through oppression was only motive behind the colonization and nothing good was done or left back (as some self-obsessed experts tell). Railways, Civil Services, each and every thing was instituted with an aim to exploit.
We were gifted a lot of evils touted as reforms by the Britishers. None of them with an intention to uplift, rather aimed to downgrade. But fortunately, with passage of time, we shaped them into indispensable ideas that are now foundations of various significant organizations in India. The bad news is that we couldn’t get rid of some of them.
Let us take a look at few of them.
Regiments in Indian Army
After the revolt of 1857, Britishers felt the need of expanding the size of the forces. So, they started recruiting Indians on basis of “martial races”. Thus, regiments were created with an aim to divide the Indians in the Army. Apprehensions were obvious, as the Indians were being handed the weapons. Fearing mutiny again, the Britishers enforced the concept of “martial races”. But, the concept of regimental structure today is brilliantly encapsulated in the basic formation of a 1.2 million strong Army. The 32 Regiments today signify “pride”&“valor” and not “race”. Excellent, isn’t it?
Introduced by Lord Warren Hastings, and later reformed and modernized by Charles Cornwallis. Civil Services during British rule were divided into two categories – covenanted and uncovenanted. The covenanted civil services were occupied by the Britishers on the higher ranks, while uncovenanted services were introduced to recruit the Indians at lower ranks. The sole reason to introduce the uncovenanted services was to open up the lower rung of the British administration to the Indians. Indians were placed below the Whites. Colour of the skin decided the ranks. But, how we dealt with it? Well, the structure today is the backbone of Indian Administration. The “un-covenanted” system is now abolished and replaced by the selection made purely on merit-basis.
Britishers introduced English
With an aim to garner cheap labour and interact with the locals for whatsoever reason, the language was introduced to Indians. Britishers never introduced schooling for upliftment of the Indians. Lower rung was reserved for the Indians. To make them a medium of interaction imparting the language was necessary. But, as times changed, so did the trend, and today we are world’s second largest English speaking country with 125 million English speakers. The numbers are expected to quadruple in the next decade. We surely enjoy learning new languages. And competing with the World is necessary too.
Britishers seeded Reservation
The gift which is still haunting the hard-worker(sometimes) in the country. The most destructive policy which was seeded by Britishers was reservation. The policy was implemented to divide and rule the Nation. The reforms of 1909 were the nefarious designs to disintegrate the unity through reservation. It had ruined the talents and still continues to do so. Initially after Independence the system was launched temporarily to uplift the under-privileged. But soon, politics overtook the urgency in order to garner votes. Hence, the basic design was changed. Under-privileged status was mingled with the caste. And hence, entire caste enjoyed reservation inspite the fact that many of them already had all the resources. The after-effects of the policy are still visible in India.