First published in 1952, imperialism is a regularly recurring historical phenomenon, calling for neither approval not condemnation in the abstract. A more profitable exercise is to consider particular imperialisms and assess their spirit and their achievements. From this premise Sir Percival Griffiths proceeds to examine the political, administrative and economic effects on India of British rule. Formerly a member of the Indian Civil Service, later the leader of the British representatives in the Indian Legislative Assembly and now closely connected with commerce and industry in India and Pakistan, he has the advantage of a three-sided approach. He was, moreover, playing an active part in Indian public affairs throughout the years leading to the transfer of power. In 1942 he declared that he would fight any government which resiled from the promise of independence for India and when the Cabinet Mission visited India in 1947, it fell on him to assert - on behalf of the British community in India – their conviction that independence must be granted without further delay. It is because he has thus been a close eye-witness of the events of the last three decades in India that he has written this book.
Although Western civilization is often regarded by Indians as materialistic, it is the spiritual rather than in the material sphere that British influence has been greatest. It has built up Indian nationalism; it has engendered in Indian minds a new concept of equality and of human rights; it has rekindled the scientific spirit; and is has profoundly modified the Indian intellectual approach to the problems in life. In all this there have been losses as well as gain – not least among the losses being the partial destruction of village corporate life and the spread of specticism among the intelligentsia – but there can be little doubt which way the balance lies. A further fifty years may have to elapse, Sir Percival suggests, before a final assessment of the impact of the British is possible. In the meantime the present book may be confidently recommended as the most authoritative and objective examination of the history and influence of British administration in Indian, which has yet appeared; a book, furthermore, that may be expected to achieve the status of a standard work.
Table of Contents
Part 1: The Historical Background 1. Hindu India 2. Muslim India 3. The New Crusade – The Portuguese and the Dutch 4. The East India Company 5. English and French Rivalry 6. The Growth of British Power 7. Developments in Southern India 8. Expansion – The Second Phase 9. Expansion – The Last Phase 10. The Mutiny Part 2: The Administrative Impact 11. Ancient Indian Administration 12. Mediaeval Indian Administration 13. Mughal Administration (1) 14. Mughal Administration (2): Revenue 15. British Administration – The Dual Authority 16. The Growth of Parliamentary Control 17. The Growth of District Administration 18. British Revenue Administration 19. British Famine Administration 20. The Growth of the Services 21. The Restoration of Law and Order 22. Suttee 23. The Administrative Impact Part 3: The Political Impact 24. Indian Nationality 25. The Growth of Indian Nationalism (1): Education and Religion 26. The Growth of Indian Nationalism (2): Early Organisation 27. The Battle for the Freedom of the Press 28. The Deterioration of Relations 29. The Indian National Congress – The First Twenty Years 30. The Rise of Terrorism 31. Indian National Congress – The Second Phase 32. The Rise of the Muslim League 33. Steps Towards Self-Government 34. India Under Dyarchy 35. Towards Partition 36. The Second World War 37. The Transfer of Power Part 4: The Economic Impact 38. The Economic Problem Stated 39. Disruption of the Indian Economy 40. Currency Problems 41. Land Revenue 42. The Economic Policy of the Company 43. Irrigation 44. The Improvement of Agriculture 45. Development of Communisms 46. The Growth of Industry 47. The Growth of Minor Industries 48. The Managing Agency System 49. Industrial and Financial Policy in India under the Crown 50. The Economic Effects of British Rule 51. Conclusion