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Essay, Paragraph, Speech on “The Legacy of The British Raj” Complete Paragraph, Speech for Classes 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12.

The Legacy of The British Raj

“More than two centuries dominion over a country by any alien power, but natural results in large impact on its social, economic, cultural, legal and political system of the civilization.

So India too inherited so many legacies from the British Raj that had far reaching impacts on its art and culture, education, language, legal, political system and economic parameters and so on.

The question of legacy as such has arisen because of the arrested nature of Indian Civilization. From time immemorial, our civilization exhibited a marvelous sense of adaptability. From then onwards Indian civilization developed its own immunity or defense mechanism like the tightening of caste rules and increased social segregation. India also witnessed the Bhakti movement which provided a drawbridge between Islam and Hinduism. All the same the spring had gone away from Indian civilization and it presented a pathetic spectacle by the time the British Raj was established. For reasons not known to history, the Indian civilization once again showed its old quality of assimilation without losing its own identity, all under the impact of the British Raj. This is the raise debtor for the British legacy.

The one legacy that was consciously handed down to us was the introduction of English Language in 1835. Lord Macaulay was able to carry the day because he contended that a single shelf of western knowledge was more precious than the whole range of the oriental knowledge. Although he spoke disparagingly of oriental knowledge and wisdom, the chief motive that prompted the introduction of English was the salutary effect that the spread of western knowledge and wisdom would have. To a great extent these expectations are being fulfilled. And ever since the nineteenth century we are being irradiated by the western though enriching our intellectual life.

One of the important mental perspectives that are gaining is in relation to time. All through the progress of Indian civilization the linear perspective of time was not known. The western civilization lays great emphasis on this perspective because they look back to a finite point of time when the original sin was committed and look forward to the Day of Judgment when man would be redeemed of his sin. This way of looking at time makes the western civilization think of utopias and futuristic societies. The second perspective that has partly come to us through the English language is scientific rationality and its truth. There are three kinds of nationalities: first is deductive reasoning, the second is inductive reasoning; and the third is scientific reasoning.

The last one is based on facts and experiments what is proved by an experiment we accept as factual truth. The introduction of English Language in India was also the beginning of the end of the British Raj. The moment we learnt the English language we were influenced by the liberal and progressive ideas of the English thinkers. And we applied their arguments against the British Raj – one of the determining factors in the emancipation of India. The English language served as a window on the western culture and civilisation, it has made our understanding of the west incomplete. There are quite a number of blind-spots in our appreciation and awareness of the western culture civilization. In brief, the role of the middle man played by English language in transmitting the western culture and civilization is not complete.

One more legacy of the British Raj is constitutionalism. It was announced in 1917 by Lord Montague in the House of Lords that it was the objective of the government of England to introduce self-government in gradual stages in India. Actually, we had the democratic tradition but not the democratic form which we possess today. Along with this gift came the parliamentary system of government, the organization of government, well trained bureaucracy and also a well trained and disciplined army owing loyalty to the nation.

In the political field, there is the other side of the coin. The parting gift of the English was the Indian Independence Act of 1947. We base our arguments on the provisions of this act in defending our stand on the Kashmir problem before the Security Council.

In the social field too, bequest of the British Raj is considerable. The legislation that was passed by the British Raj, either to reform or end some of the social practices and customs, was a great legacy of the English. With the abolition of Sati in 1829 and the widow Re-marriage Act of 1856, the first shots were fired at the citadel of stagnant Hindu society. Although the British did not interfere with the social life of the people after 1857, the initiative taken by the British Ra acted as a learn in the social ferment of the second half of the 19′ century which culminated in many social movements one more deliberate introduction during the British Raj was the legal system as we know today. The introduction of the legal system is turning out to be a great solvent of the age-old social customs of India. In a court of law, both the Harijan and the high-caste Hindu are treated on the plane of equality. The system itself is promoting an orderly justice unswayed by the personality of the rulers and nobles as in the past.

And in the field of Economics some conscious steps were taken by the British Raj which have come down to us as legacy, the moment we attained independence, because the Government of India are the inheritors of the British Raj. British, first of all, introduced railways and the posts and telegraphs. The means of the communication are the arteries in any developing economy and the very fact that transport and communications get a considerable share in the total outlay of expenditure in our plans is proof of the importance of this legacy. But the legacy in the economic field has its own bleak side too. The Zamindari system and the Jagirdari system proved quite a headache in the early years of independence.

Even the intricate tenancy system and the enormous rural indebtedness which we are still unable to resolve is a legacy of the British Raj. In this way, the legacy of the British Raj is far too vast and in modern times we are all living through it. That part of the legacy which is beneficial we are nurturing more and more while slowly discarding the unwanted. In brief, the legacy of the British Raj is a vast spectrum ranging from the infra-red region of the balkanized continent and the ultraviolet region of the new perspectives learnt through the impact of the western culture through the English language.


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