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

Articles by Satpal SangwanSubscribe to Satpal Sangwan

Science and the Raj

Science and the Raj Science and National Consciousness in Bengal, 1870-1930 by J Lourdusamy; Orient Longman, Delhi, 2004; pp xii+257, Rs 550. SATPAL SANGWAN In popular perception, echoed lately by prime minister Manmohan Singh, the benefits of British colonial rule compensate for the travails of its rule. The introduction of parliamentary democracy, rule of law, free press, bureaucracy, railways, telegraphs, modern university system and research laboratories, among other things, counterbalance the ruins of Indian industries, destruction of the self-sustaining rural economy, the drain of Indian wealth and the misery suffered by millions of Indian people under the British. The prime minister might have faltered politically, historians, however, have never been unanimous in their assessment of the legacies of the Raj. While the nationalist and leftist historians indulge in the blame game, liberal historians, not a small number any way, plough cautiously. The Raj, they argue, was not monolithic. It was also not a one-way political subjugation of the people of India. Beyond its political nuances, the Raj also represented the meeting of two civilisations, two value systems and two knowledge systems, complementing and correcting each other.
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