San José State University
Department of Economics
Thayer Watkins
Silicon Valley
& Tornado Alley

The British Raj in India

The British Empire had a tremendous impact upon India. In fact, it created India. Had Britain never come to India there would now exist a number of separate states. In particular, the Dravidian language and cultural areas would not be under the domination of the Hindi-speaking population of North India.

In addition to the artificial creation of an Indian state the British were responsible for the creation of the top two cities of India; i.e., Mumbai (Bombay) and Kolkutta (Calcutta). While Delhi existed long before the British came to India they recreated it as their capital. In additon the fourth largest city Chennai (Madras) was created by the British Empire. While the British did not found Old Delhi they did found New Delhi.

There is always in discussions of India a politically loaded presumption made that the natural state of India is as one unit. In fact, the One-India state is based not on culture and demographics but on militarism. There are few or no places in the subcontinent that are defensible against an overreaching empire situated in the rest of the subcontinent. The British created a unitary empire in the subcontinent and the North Indian Hindis have perpetuated that empire as much as they have been able to. Pakistan exists largely because of restraints imposed by the rest of the world upon the empire of the North Indians. Consider how quickly the army of India defeated the Pakistan army in East Pakistan in the 1970-71 war that created Bangldesh.

Ironically India is not really India. The official name in Hindi and the rest of the native langugages is Bharat or a closely related variation of Bharat. The name India derives from the Indus River and its valley and these are not part of the modern republic.

(To be continued.)

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