There have been many empires in India, including the Mauryan Empire, the Gupta Empire, and the Mogul Empire. The final invaders were the Europeans. They occupied India and took over their nation, in the process employing mercantilism and practicing imperialism. Opinions on this time in history are still being voiced. While some believe that imperialism helped the government, others believe that it disturbed the well-being of the Indians.
Those in favor of imperialism argue that it benefited both the colony and the colonizer. Dadabhai Naoroji describes imperialism as “morally, a great blessing; politically, peace and order on one hand” (Document 2). It helped the colony by establishing order. Also, the Europeans built new developments, such as railways and telegraphs, providing progress for India. They also ended problems involving the mistreatment of others by banning slavery and stopping the killing of female babies. Other benefits include sanitation, the elimination of famine, and agricultural wealth. It helped the colonizer by presenting themselves with raw materials and power. They employed mercantilism, which is when people use colonies to supply materials to their own country. They used India’s resources to benefit their own country’s industries.
However, those opposing imperialism argue that the Europeans disregarded the lives of those being colonized. Mohandas Gandhi argued that they gave them “no responsibility in our own government” (Document 6). While the colonizer was gaining raw materials and maintaining power, the colony was suffering. Because of the massive control the colonizers had over the colony, the people could not participate in their government. Therefore, they had no say in what happened, creating problems if they disagreed. The Europeans gave themselves the best positions in government and disregarded the Indians’ feelings. Soon, some Indians started ideas of an independence movement. Mohandas Gandhi led the fight for independence using nonviolent protest. He inspired many people to join the resistance, leading to India’s independence in 1947.
Boehm, Richard G. WorldGeography and Cultures. Columbus, Ohio: Glencoe/McGraw-Hill, 2012. Print.
“mahatma-gandhi.” Photograph. Famous People. The Famous People, 2012. Web. 1 April 2012.