South Asia and Post colonial and Independent India

From Monday’s lecture, South Asia makes about 1/4 of the world’s population. It consists of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. India was the valuable colony for the British as it was even termed as the ‘jewel in the crown’. This is because India provided a lot of the manpower of British military as well as a lot of cash crops . and goods that favored them.

In 1600,  the British East India Company is . established .In 1707- Mughal Empire collapsing; Indian states begin breaking away from Mughal control. In 1757- Robert Clive leads victory at Battle of Plassey; begins East India Company (British) leading power in India. In 1800s- Many Indians begin thinking more modernly, changing traditional ideas. Some take ideas wanting to govern themselves. On May 10, 1857- Indian Rebellion of 1857 (Sepoy Mutiny) starts. Challenges East India Company as fierce fighting breaks out. In 1858- British government takes direct command of India, from East India Company.

In the article, “Colonialism and its forms of knowledge”, by Bernard Cohn, he provides a philosophic stance on how and why the British colonized India in terms of modalities namely; historiography, observational, survey, enumerative, museological, surveillance and investigative. He argues that the colonial experience was mutual stating on page 10 that “Everyone-rulers and ruled-had proper roles to play in the colonial sociological theater.” suggesting that the blame of imperialism or colonialism should also face the colonized.

The  articles by Gilmartin and Pankaj both state the fact that the independence of India was a very significant moment in India’s history after 350 years of British presence in the country. They both acknowledge the fact that the trigger of independence was due to religious tensions especially between the Hindus and the Muslims.

Pankaj in “India at 70, and the Passing of Another Illusion”, demonstrates disillusionments of India’s political, social and economic development since 1947 giving an example of the declining relationship between India and Africa due to ‘xenophobic and racial attacks’ inflicted upon them.

Gilmartin talks about the partition of India which incidentally occurred on the day of Independence. India was divided into India and Pakistan. He discusses the long term and short term causes of the partition which he claims are largely religious. Muslim conquest of northern India began as far back as the 1100s.British Imperialism cause for nationalism which leads to the formation of the Indian National Congress as well as the muslim League. WW2 weakens European colonial empires and paves the way for independence. Pressure from Indian nationalists increases insistence by Jinnah and the Muslim League that Muslims have their own state. Later on, Gandhi is assassinated by Hindu extremists and India and Pakistan become centers of Cold war rivalry.

The Partition was so significant that it has connections to today. There is a continuing clash between India and Pakistan over Kashmir.There is also Nuclear arms race as India and Pakistan  refuse to sign Non-Proliferation Treaty.


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