November 18, 2019

Colonisation of decolonisation were important for imperial powers such

Colonisation was a barbaric act of inhumanity;
moreover, decolonisation was a more horrific process compared to the former
act. In the second half of the last century, many nations around the world gained
their independence. However, the immoral process of decolonisation destroyed
and divided their countries and entered them in swirls did not end to today. The
subject of this essay is to analyse the process of the decolonisation of India
considering many different appropriate sources. In addition, this essay will
examine how various nationalist parties in India evolved through resistance to
the British colonisation and leading to the independence and how Britain
handled the decolonisation of India. These masked and destructive processes of
decolonisation were important for imperial powers such as Britain to continue
exploiting their former colonies and keep up the global balance of power.

 Anciently,
imperialism has developed with the progress of human civilization. Imperialism
defined as per Cambridge dictionary as ‘a system or a situation where one
country with superior power used force or influence to rule and exploit another
country’ (Cambridge dictionary, 2017). In the contemporary colonial era, many
European intellectuals and thinkers have justified imperialism such as Rudyard
Kipling with his famous poem ‘The White Man’s Burden’ (Kiplingsociety.co,uk,
2017). The poem reflected the agreement of many Europeans of their superiority,
which attached with a duty to spread Western ideas and knowledge toward
non-Western people. They thought they were primitive barbarians as Kipling
expressed them ‘Half-devil and half-child’ and needed guidance to change their way of life.

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 Extraordinarily,
the British has exceeded its European counterparts in colonial superiority and
extended its empire, the largest in the world, over fifth of the land in the earth
and they gained that status because of their naval superiority and manoeuvres. By
1783, Britain had established an empire which comprised colonies in Canada,
America and the West Indies (bbc.co.uk, 2017). The British East India Company had
built up a small empire of trading posts in India. Due to the harsh land taxes
and the exploitative treatment of rich landowners and princes supported by the
company, an unsuccessful rebellion erupted in 1857 against the company which
led the British government to take over the rule of India from the company. The
British forced the reigning princes to pay taxes to the British Empire for the
privilege of continuing their rule over their lands. India was viewed as the
jewel in the crown of the British Empire because of its wealth and population.
Spices, textiles, cotton and opium which Britain wanted were all available in
India. Even population was capitalised by the British to form the backbone of
their military regiments (bbc.co.uk, 2017).

 Although there were overwhelming numbers of
Indians accepted to cooperate with the British Raj especially in the Indian
Army which used to maintain control of India and defend the empire elsewhere.
However, since the ‘Sepoy Mutiny’ rebellion in 1857 Muslims were the core
recruits in the army. Hindu were mostly neither recruited nor permitted to
volunteer to serve. In 1885, National Congress Party was founded by Indian
nationalist movement. Initially, it campaigned for a role for Indians within
the administration of India (Wolpert, 2006, P 7). In 1913, The All Indian
Muslim League was founded to represent Muslims in India. The League was
inspired by conservative British officials who feared the Congress Party’s
growing popular opposition (Wolpert, 2006, P 3). Muhammed Ali Jinnah was the
main figure and leader of the League. He joined the Congress Party in 1906 and
seven years later co-founded the Muslim League. Mohandas Ghandi was the main
nationalist leader who influenced the movement for Independence and was the
Congress mentor. His successful campaign against South Africa’s discriminatory
policies gave him an impressive name in nationalist circles. By the time he
returned to India in 1915, he had inspired the national movement to demand
independence rather than home rule and calling for an end to India’s strict
caste system (Wolpert, 2006, P 8). Jawaharlal Nehru was the main figure and the
leader of the National Congress Party. The main character shared between them
beside they were nationalist figures, they were graduate barristers from London.
However, they disagree on the best tactics to win liberation for India.

  Ironically,
as an impact of the First World War, both parties gathered in one platform
in1916 to support the Allied War efforts in exchange for ‘dominion status’
within the British Commonwealth as a national goal (Wolpert, 2006, P 2). After
the war ended with the Allied victory, the British instead of rewarding the
million valiant Indian soldiers and granting India the virtual sovereign independence
of ‘dominion status’, the Viceroy Lord Chelmsford extended India’s martial law
ordinances or the ‘Black Act’ as Ghandi labelled them (Wolpert, 2006, P 4).
Consequently, rise of nationalism and a strong independence movement widespread
between Indians. In 1919, the British Raj government massacred a peaceful
gathering at Amritsar. Then, Ghandi called upon Indians to peacefully refuse
obeying British laws. The British hardly cracked on Ghandi’s followers
(Wolpert, 2006, P 8).

  With the beginning of WWII, the Muslim League
adopted ‘Pakistan’ resolution in 1940. The idea grew intensively on how the
Congress treated Muslims especially in refusing to allow them into coalition
provincial governments (Wolpert, 2006, P 77). On February 10th,
1942, Singapore felled in the hand of Japanese after the surrender of British
Indian troops. The British government in London feared losing India in case
Japan attacked it. Winston Churchill, who hated the Indians, sent Sir Cripps
with an offer to win the Indians during the war in promise for ‘dominion
status’ (Wolpert, 2006, P 72). The National Congress Party refused the proposal
because they wanted control over defence matters, which was rejected by the
British. Ghandi & the Congress launched ‘Quit India’ campaign on August 8th,
1942 (Open.ac.uk, 2017). Ghandi and the leaders of the Congress were arrested
the following day, which erupted massive riots across India. Churchill refused
to allow Ghandi to meet with Jinnah or even have any correspondent between them
during the war-time (Wolpert, 2006, P 58).  

  On
June 1946, the Congress Party adopted a resolution calling for independence
with the establishment of a united democratic India with a central government.
Jinnah was upset with the Congress’ resolution, therefore, he called for a
‘Direct Action Day’ of Muslims organised by the League on August 1946. Huge
religious tensions exploded and led to a massacre between the Hindus and
Muslims (Wolpert, 2006, P 119).

 
As an effect of the Second World War, Britain was bankrupt as fighting
colonial independence became too expensive. On February 20th, 1947,
the British prime minister Attlee’s government issued a statement in London
promising to hand over its ‘powers’ and ‘great responsibilities’ in India,
either to one central Indian government or to provincial governments by no
later than June 1948 (Wolpert, 2006 P 129). Lord Mountbatten – cousin of King
George – was appointed as the last Viceroy in India. Nehru gave negative
statement to Mountbatten in their first meetings about Jinnah and that probably
influenced Mountbatten decisions in future (Wolpert, 2006, P135). Mountbatten led
the negotiations between major parties – 
the Congress Party led by Nehru wanted a united India with a strong
central state and the Muslim League led by Jinnah wanted a separate Muslim
state. Mountbatten decided that partition was the only way to avoid civil war
and would produce less violence. His proposal was designed to place the
responsibility for dividing India on the Indians themselves if the partition
and independence were given fast. Therefore, he brought the date of British
withdrawal forward to August 1947 (Wolpert, 2006, P 144). A British barrister
who had never put his feet before in India, Sir Cyril Radcliffe, was in charge
of drawing the dividing borders lines between India and Pakistan. The Partition
borders – the maps – which divided Hindu and Muslim communities on the frontier
in half, were not announced until after independence was granted. After the
independence, millions of refugees died to immigrate to their desired side of
partition. Ghandi, who was against the partitioning, went on hunger strike
appealing for peace. He was assassinated by a Hindu fanatic who resented his
demand that Muslims should be treated as equals. The Kashmir problem is not
settled to this day and led to many wars between the divided countries.

   Although,
Churchill hated the Indians and was responsible for the Bengal famine which cost
around 2 million lives, he was right when he described the decolonisation
process by the British as a ‘Shameful Flight’ in his opposition speech. Furthermore,
the British decolonisation policy in India was alike with Ireland – first and
longest British colony in the history. Like India, Ireland had many uprising
through their history but the British crack them down hardly and refused to
give them their independence. The Irish famine in the 1850s was like the Bengal
famine in India in occurrence due to ignorant British policies. The British
decolonisation process in Ireland led to a partition based on religion similar
to India.

  After numerous massacres, severe repression
and twisted promises, Britain left India after centuries of colonisation. The worse
than that, she left after it divided it and with enormous cost of human life in
the partition process itself.  There is
still animosity between India and Pakistan and then are both nuclear powers. Arguably,
Imperialism had made a new form for itself with the same exploitive principles and
used the process of decolonization of colonies to apply the new form. India is
the best example for that.

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