British Rule in India
Colonial India
The Sepoy Mutiny
Britain’s entrance into India was led by the British East India Trade
Company, a private company who had permission from the British
crown to do business and act on behalf of the British Government.
The Mughal Empire in India had kept Britain from colonizing. The
Mughal empire were a powerful Muslim dynasty, but as they lost
power Britain took advantage using their army , made up of British
soldiers and native soldiers known as sepoys.
Cultural difference led to the Sepoy Rebellion. The initial problem
centered around the British soldiers greasing their ammo with pig &
cow fat, derived from 2 animals sacred to Hindus. The Sepoys
refused to touch the ammunition for fear of being polluted.
Sapoy Mutiny
The Sepoy Mutiny
The Mutiny began in Meerut when sepoy soldiers who refused to
load their weapons were imprisoned leading to their comrades to
rise up, killing 50 British Soldiers. The movement was quickly put down
due to Indians not being unified mainly due to differences in
In Kanpur, Sepoys killed 200 women & children allied with the British.
As a result of the rebellions authority of India changed going from
the East India Trade Co. to directly to the British Government.
Although the rebellion was unsuccessful, it did plant the seed of
Indian Nationalism, or and eventual movement towards
British Colonial Rule
Under the authority of the British Crown, India, now a colony, was
governed through direct rule. A viceroy , or British official ruling on
behalf of the monarchy was now in charge of India and it’s 300
million people.
Some benefits of British rule include political unity for the first time in
a territory that was very diverse. Also, some forms of modernization
including schools, railroads, communication & postal service.
Unfortunately, education was only promised to India’s elite, leaving
out roughly 90% of the population.
The negative effects of British rule can be seen in the Indian
economy. Forced to buy British manufactured goods, local
industries disappeared as well. Taxation of the peasants also led to
problems. Movements from subsistence farming to Cash crop
farming also lowered the amount of food available.
Indian Nationalists
The origin of Indian nationalist movements can be found in the
urban areas of India such as Bombay, Madras & Calcutta. These
movements wee started by upper class, English educated Indians.
The Indian National Congress was eventually established after
asking for reforms from the British were unsuccessful. They wanted to
share power, not absolute independence initially. .
Since India was so diverse, Issues soon began within the INC
centered along religious lines. Muslims felt that the Hindu’s who had
the majority of the authority were not sympathetic to the Muslims
who created the Muslim League.
Mohandas Gandhi
Mohandas Gandhi was born in 1869
and was educated in England where
he became a lawyer. After leaving In
South Africa Gandhi noticed the harsh
treatment that Indians received.
Gandhi's main motives were for the
British to improve conditions for the
poor & Indian independence.
Eventually, India will be free but Gandhi
will be assassinated.
Colonial Indian Culture
Nationalist newspapers, printed in various languages to
accommodate Indian diverse population soon printed numerous
copies. These wee designed to engage the middle class in
independence movements. Mindful of not directly criticizing the
British, authors used innuendo, or suggestion to convey their true
feelings about the British.
One of India’s most famous writers was Rabindranath Tagore, who
won a Nobel prize in literature in 1913. he is credited with writing
India’s 1st national anthem. He also established many schools and a

British Rule in India