ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Aravind GanachariSubscribe to Aravind Ganachari

Imperialist Appropriation and Disciplining the Indian Mind (1857-1917): Whose History?

The British decided to set up universities in India in the late 19th century keeping in mind the empire's administrative needs. But while the syllabus sought to impress upon Indian students the superiority of English institutions, it also inspired the Indian intelligentsia to demand greater political freedoms. Alarmed at this, the British made every effort to stop the teaching of English history in Bombay University. This paper looks at how the Indian leaders in the senate and outside put up a spirited opposition, determinded to use the subject to spread nationalism.

First World War: Purchasing Indian Loyalties

Colonial policies of recruitment to the army underwent a drastic revision on the eve of the first world war. Not only were different regiments raised, with due consideration to caste, but favours and loyalties were liberally bestowed on willing Indians who helped with recruitment efforts. To placate the more aggressive nationalists, the British government also held out promises of reforms in government. At the same time, Indian political leaders, notably Tilak and Gandhi, were divided in their reactions to the imperial war efforts.

'White Man's Embarrassment'

This paper examines the problem of European vagrancy within the colonial structure of power in the city of Bombay in the second half of the 19th century. It shows how the government sought to alleviate vagrancy by providing liberal funds and enacting legislation and the difficulties faced by it. The paper presents the conflict between the state and the interests of European business class in India over the responsibility of deporting the vagrants and between the legal rights of the 'European British subject' and the moral obligation of the colonial state. Also brought out is the hollowness of the missionary claim of 'the civilised Christian versus the uncouth native' and of the rhetoric of 'white man's burden'.
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