Would India’s socio-economic status be better under British rule?

Would India’s socio-economic status be better under British rule?


Colonialism in India has always been talked about in terms of slavery and torment of the British on poor Indians. We celebrate Independence and Republic with so much vigor that it is alone enough to explain our love and reverence for the hard-earned freedom.

But often a small controversy ignites a question if India could have been better under British rule in terms of socio-economic development. Recently, when TRAI rejected Facebook’s proposal for “free basics” in India and gave the verdict in support of Net Neutrality, a series of Tweets by Marc Andreesen, a member of Facebook’s board of directors and Silicon Valley stalwart stirred the nation to the extent that he withdrew his comment and apologized.

Marc suggested that India could be much better under colonialism and called for people of India to accept it. We know how British ripped us of our wealth and tormented our people, but under better legislation and in present day scenario, would standard India be really more prosperous and better reformed if we were under British rule?


1. The freedom that we talk about: At times when India was under provincial rule of the king and prince, poor Indians were still under no better condition than slavery. Their land wasn’t theirs entirely. Land revenue was always a problem. After freedom, the kings handed it over to politicians who have also never let the guards down. Earlier kings took the hard earned money of the locals and thrived with that money, later the British did the same and now we have politicians skirmishing amongst themselves only to decide who will get to enjoy the bigger portions of all the scam money for the next 5 years.

2. Impoverished: We were poor and illiterate under the British rule. The majority of people in our nation are poor and illiterate now also. Their condition never improved. They still live under thatched roofs in slums where cleanliness is a dead cause and diseases strike first. The education, food and healthcare facilities provided for free to these people have two major disadvantages – they became lazier and the quality of these freebies is extremely low.

3. Underdeveloped: Our country could have developed vigorously under the colonial rule. Their advanced thinking and innovative technology could have helped us come at par with the world powers. Our resources were never short, our ideas and ways of implementations were. We always thought from the point of view of profit/loss and political benefits instead of focusing on utilizing our resources to augment our status.

4. Social uplifting: India under British raj witnessed good social uplifting with the end of orthodox practices and raising the status of women. Our age old beliefs and extreme temperament regarding religious tolerance could have changed under the broad visioning of the erstwhile rulers. While Indian society restricted or should we say still restricts women within limitations, the western traditions that once came as a surprise to Indians, would have helped people in recognizing that a nation can only prosper when its women are seen as equals and treated with dignity.

5. Discrimination: Our political leaders and entrepreneurs have always discriminated when it comes to distribution of wealth. The poor became poorer and the rich became richer. Wasn’t the condition same at the time of British rule? When Facebook tried to bring in “Free Basics”, which could have been of good help to the underprivileged, our people screamed for Net Neutrality but when TRAI hikes the price of internet to the extent that it becomes unaffordable to some people, we would not react.


1. Oppression: Our present scenario might not be very pleasant but we need to remember that it is far better than being victimized at our own place at the hands of people who considered themselves rulers and not traders. The poor and middle class were oppressed to the extent of becoming extinct. The rich and royal were the only friends of the rulers. India under British rule would have been the exact picture of what prevailed in other countries undertaken by colonialism. Apartheid and famine would have continued to dominate our country and the natives would have been under extreme conditions of poverty and malnutrition.

2. The rulers and the ruled: Colonialism is not good for any country. The rulers will remain dominating and their prime concern would be wealth generation and robbing people of their rights. They would never have any concern for the welfare of people or to do something in favor of them. Those ruling in favor of colonialism with examples of rail and road development must remember that the British brought along these advents only to make trading and travelling easier for them while they stayed and ruled here. While our people strived for basic needs, the British continued to plunder our resources and denied rights to the natives.

3. Supremacy and arrogance prevailed: The rulers being all white considered the natives as inferiors and racism was at its worse. In the democracy that we live in, we must not be disrespectful of the sacrifices our martyred freedom fighters made to free us of living under fear. A life of slavery – that’s what any country under colonial rule can be – is never something that anyone can for. The supremacy and arrogance of British rulers would have taken the natives nowhere but backwards.

4. Let’s come back to Facebook: The free basics scheme was no less than a business plan by the Facebook group to augment the usage of the network that they made the deal with. While Reliance would have benefitted largely from the implementation of this scheme, other telecom providers would have seen the darkest of times with customers flowing towards free services that is always the best ever lure.

Facebook was trying to establish its monopoly in the market under the tag “Free”. This was a more kind way of getting colonialism in.


The prosperity and future of our country at the hands of democratic rule is the best bet that we could have asked for and instead of being disregarding of the freedom that we got, we must all put in our individual efforts towards making India better. Instead of criticizing the present scenario and comparing the same with the British Raj we must remember that we have the freedom to criticize only because we are a democratic republic and not a third world country under colonial rule.

It is good that Marc repented for his Tweets and took them back after realizing that his knowledge about freedom and colonialism is less than satisfactory to make such comments. We, the people of India, must never look back upon colonialism as something that could have done any good to our nation.
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  • failure and giving up -GJCR (04/16/16)
  • failure and giving are two different things but somehow they are related.
    for example u want to do an experiment and if you stop doing by looking at the complexity of the circuit it is giving up but if u do it using ur best skills but u didn't get the required result then it is a failure. we can say that we fail when we give up but when u fail u can learn a lesson from that failure and start doing the experiment in a different way but when u give up u can't learn anything and u will remain as a loser.