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Would India still have the roads and railways today without the British rule? [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2007-9-6 12:56:22 |Display all floors
Originally posted by tikoli at 2007-9-5 19:44


Amongst the colonising nations, England was quite unique in that it tried to build infrastructure. On the other hand, France, Holland, Spain and Portugal had more of an ethic of just taking. In ...


Tikoli,

All colonial powers had the same aim to exploit and loot all they could get from their colonies. The Brits were no different from others. Infrastructure was built in order to get faster access to the natural resources of a colony, especially from such a wealthy land like India. Colonial powers did not conquer foreign lands to help the people. They never cared about the masses. All they cared about was to make huge profits in a short time.

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Post time 2007-9-6 13:32:16 |Display all floors
Originally posted by schreiber at 2007-9-6 06:26
Tikoli,

The posters here hate the British Empire with a passion because they hate being shamed by what was, in their own golden ages, little more than an island filled with wet shepherds. That t ...


In Australia we generally only told bad things about England as well. Personally though, I am starting to see things in a different light. Basically, the Brits just planted their flag, and said “we are the rulers.” If people disagreed, they were killed. However, if they accepted British rule, the Brits said “great! Let’s build something together.” It was quite different from the colonial method of the other European powers, as well as the Mongolians, Japanese, and even Qin when he expanded China.

Essentially, the Brits replaced one ruler with themselves, and English rule allowed for opportunities that traditional rule did not. The only ones who really lost were the previous rulers.

I think that even Australia has lost out a bit by essentially becoming independent. Our greatest scientists, such as Florey who invented Penicillin, and Mark Oliphant who discovered nuclear fusion, only did so because Britain gave them access to British research. We’ve still had a few scientific discoveries of note in recent years, but per capita scientific progress was better when relations with Britain were stronger.
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Post time 2007-9-6 13:47:43 |Display all floors

What have the Roman's done for us?

Originally posted by satsu_jin at 2007-9-6 12:56


Tikoli,

All colonial powers had the same aim to exploit and loot all they could get from their colonies. The Brits were no different from others. Infrastructure was built in order to get fas ...


I used to think your way as well, but I am changing my opinion now. I don’t think they were driven by money. I think they were driven by this ideal about British values and civilising the world.

They really seemed to embrace that Roman idea about building infrastructure. If you have a look at the British school curriculum, they do seem to appreciate Rome invading England and making it a better place. You also see some of that ethic in Monty Python’s Life of Bryan :

Have a look on youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l4EygLtChOg


Reg:
All right, Stan. Don't labour the point. And what have they ever given us in return?
Xerxes:
The aqueduct.
Reg:
Oh yeah, yeah they gave us that. Yeah. That's true.
Masked Activist:
And the sanitation!
Stan:
Oh yes... sanitation, Reg, you remember what the city used to be like.
Reg:
All right, I'll grant you that the aqueduct and the sanitation are two things that the Romans have done...
Matthias:
And the roads...
Reg:
(sharply) Well yes obviously the roads... the roads go without saying. But apart from the aqueduct, the sanitation and the roads...
Another Masked Activist:
Irrigation...
Other Masked Voices:
Medicine... Education... Health...
Reg:
Yes... all right, fair enough...
Activist Near Front:
And the wine...
Omnes:
Oh yes! True!
Francis:
Yeah. That's something we'd really miss if the Romans left, Reg.
Masked Activist at Back:
Public baths!
Stan:
And it's safe to walk in the streets at night now.
Francis:
Yes, they certainly know how to keep order... (general nodding)... let's face it, they're the only ones who could in a place like this.

(more general murmurs of agreement)
Reg:
All right... all right... but apart from better sanitation and medicine and education and irrigation and public health and roads and a freshwater system and baths and public order... what have the Romans done for us?
Xerxes:
Brought peace!
Reg:
(very angry, he's not having a good meeting at all) What!? Oh... (scornfully) Peace, yes... shut up!
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Post time 2007-9-6 13:57:27 |Display all floors
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Post time 2007-9-6 14:37:04 |Display all floors
Originally posted by schreiber at 2007-9-6 13:57
Tikoli,

I think that's mostly accurate and missing only one piece of the puzzle: sometimes the administrative system turned up people who were simply bad, leading to immense problems. But people ...


Yeah, some administrators were a bit dodgy. In Australia were had a few horrific sadists, but the ones that really suffered were criminals and no one cared about them.

I’d also agree with you that there is a tendency to romanticise the past before the colonists came. However, if you think about India, if a country that size can be conquered by some an island of sheep farmers then it is a clear sign that India’s rulers had been doing something wrong.

I’m sure you and me would be in disagreement here, but I am actually changing my opinion on Tibet and Xinjiang. I ask myself would Tibet and XinJiang be better off if they were independent, and I am not convinced that they would be.

[ Last edited by voice_cd at 2007-9-6 02:41 PM ]
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Post time 2007-9-6 14:52:54 |Display all floors
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Post time 2007-9-6 17:06:49 |Display all floors
Originally posted by tikoli at 2007-9-5 19:44


Amongst the colonising nations, England was quite unique in that it tried to build infrastructure. On the other hand, France, Holland, Spain and Portugal had more of an ethic of just taking. In ...


Despite Kiplingesque myths of heroic benevolence, official attitudes were nonchalant. British officials rated Indian ethnicities like cattle, and vented contempt against them even when they were dying in their multitudes.  

Asked to explain why mortality in Gujarat was so high, a district officer told the famine commission: 'The Gujarati is a soft man... accustomed to earn his good food easily. In the hot weather, he seldom worked at all and at no time did he form the habit of continuous labour. Very many even among the poorest had never taken a tool in hand in their lives. They lived by watching cattle and crops, by sitting in the fields to weed, by picking cotton, grain and fruit, and by... pilfering.'  

Lytton believed in free trade. He did nothing to check the huge hikes in grain prices, Economic "modernization" led household and village reserves to be transferred to central depots using recently built railroads. Much was exported to England, where there had been poor harvests. Telegraph technology allowed prices to be centrally co-ordinated and, inevitably, raised in thousands of small towns. Relief funds were scanty because Lytton was eager to finance military campaigns in Afghanistan. Conditions in emergency camps were so terrible that some peasants preferred to go to jail. A few, starved and senseless, resorted to cannibalism. This was all of little consequence to many English administrators who, as believers in Malthusianism, thought that famine was nature's response to Indian over-breeding.

It used to be that the late 19th century was celebrated in every school as the golden period of imperialism. While few of us today would defend empire in moral terms, we've long been encouraged to acknowledge its economic benefits. Yet, as Davis points out, "there was no increase in India's per capita income from 1757 to 1947".

As the great Indian political economist Romesh Chunder Dutt pointed out in one of his Open Letters to Lord Curzon British Progress was India's Ruin. The railroads, ports and canals  which enthused Karl Marx in the 1850s were for resource extraction, not indigenous development. The taxes that financed the railroads and the Indian army pauperised the peasantry.

Not surprisingly, there was no increase in India's per capita income during the whole period of British overlordship from 1757 to 1947. Celebrated cash-crop booms went hand in hand with declining agrarian productivity and food security.

Moreover, two decades of demographic growth (in the 1870s and 1890s) were entirely wiped out in avoidable famines, while throughout that 'glorious imperial half century' from 1871 to 1921 immortalised by Kipling, the life expectancy of ordinary Indians fell by a staggering 20 per cent.

Author and political activist Mike Davis poses the question in his book, Late Victorian Holocausts:

“How do we weigh smug claims about the life-saving benefits of steam transportation and modern grain markets when so many millions, especially in British India, died along railroad tracks or on the steps of grain depots?”


(source: The Observer - 'Late Victorian Holocausts' By Mike Davis
http://www.observer.co.uk/comment/story/0,6903,436495,00.html
http://books.guardian.co.uk/reviews/history/0,6121,424896,00.html).
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