To being coated with animal fat, which

To
begin with, it is important to define who would be categorised within the
“British attitude”. In light of the Indian ‘Mutiny’, the attitude would be
highlighted through the actions of the British government and the governors of
India, following the Regulating Act in 1773 and the Government of India Act in
1833. The Indian ‘Mutiny’ saw significant areas in India revolting against the
British East India Company as a result of their controversial changes. It had
initially begun through the Sepoys of the Company’s army and emitted further
forms of rebellion across India. The triggers of the rebellion can be
highlighted through the awareness that weapon cartridges were being coated with
animal fat, which had been in conflict with the religious beliefs of Hindus and
Muslims. However, the long-term causes had been as a result of the excessive
interference from the British government in India in all spheres of life. As a
result, it emphasises the superiority adopted by the British government when
viewing India and its other colonies. Ultimately, it is seen that the British
had viewed its ‘possessions’ as inferior to the British race and as a result
provided reasons for exploiting the country for wealth and geopolitics. As
highlighted by the historian Thomas R. Metcalf, the British had believed that
the “Indian people could be remoulded” (Metcalf, 1960) and as well as
highlighting a wider picture, it shows the vulnerability they assumed of the
other races. Therefore, the British government had held chauvinistic views and
provided themselves with a justification to use other countries for their
economic desires.

 

The
British government between the years of 1750 to 1900 demonstrated a superior
attitude towards its acquisitions. The empire had seen a rise in countries falling
under its control and at its peak saw “25%” (Walsh, n.d.) of the land on earth
under British control. However, a continuous theme was evident throughout the
significant years of empire with the British believing that they were superior
and the colonisation of different countries saw the “absorbing of alien
races” (Boyce, 1999). The causes of the Indian ‘Mutiny’ confirm and demonstrate
a clear pattern of how the British government had viewed themselves as
superior. The first form of evidence highlighting this view can be seen through
the religious changes made in India. It is important to understand that India
during the nineteenth century had functioned on a caste system in which much of
the traditions had mattered significantly to those at the top of the hierarchy
such as the Brahmin caste. However, the British had disagreed significantly
with the Indian traditions of Sati and Thagi, both of which they had viewed as
confirming their view of Hinduism as being a case of “oppression” (Chakravarty,
2005). The British governor Lord Bentinck had introduced the Act of the
abolition of Sati in 1829 and the Thugge and Dacoity department in 1835 in
order to remove the Indian tradition. This idea of reforming the Indian culture
was prevalent throughout Britain’s control in India. The removal of both
significant traditions had caused frustration amongst the higher caste members
as they viewed it as a direct attack on their religion. This process
demonstrated that the British had “attempted to modernise India” (Shepley,
2015) as a result of viewing the Indian race inferior to the British. This is
significant because it emphasises that one of the reasons as to why the British
had felt as if they could control India was a result of the superior attitude
possessed by the government. The superiority is evidenced again through the use
of missionaries. Despite the evidence being indirect in the sense that it
hadn’t been openly disclosed to promote the use of missionaries, the enabling
of them through an act demonstrates a shift in attitude. However, members of
the government had promoted the use of the missionaries. This is clear through
“William Wilberforce joining the campaign in Britain to end the Company’s
ability to restrict missionary activity” (Miller, 2009). As a result of this
statement and the Charter Act of 1813, it had seen the arrival of British
influence on a religious level in order to reform the Indian society to their
‘standards’. This is showing the lack of equality adopted by the British by not
respecting the Indian culture and religion. An example of such can be seen
evident through English being the only language acceptable in the government,
higher level courts and also in the education system which was confirmed by the
English Education Act of 1835. It is important to add that the British had been
able to reform significant parts of the Indian culture as a result of
possessing a chauvinistic attitude and as a result attempting to enforce their
own ‘modern standards’ at the expense of the Indian heritage. The idea of
enforcing their own standards and degrading another race is also evident
elsewhere in the empire, emphasising that the attitude of chauvinism is a view
adopted by the British government. The attitude of chauvinism had been evident
previously which shows that the Indian Mutiny was more or less a confirmation
of their degrading attitude. The aborigine genocide on Van Diemen’s island
demonstrates that the British government had possessed the same attitude
throughout the years of empire. It is clear that with no limits placed on the
island it provided an opportunity for the convicts to view the native
population as ‘vermin’ and eradicating them. It was clear that this was the aim of the British
government as it was evident that the British convicts had not been able to
read and the passing of laws was Inadequate with a lack of readers. The aim of
the British can be seen to use Australia for profit with the Wool industry amounting
to millions. As a result of this, the Indian Mutiny confirms this
chauvinistic attitude of reforming the country for their own benefit. However,
historians may argue that the claim of the British being chauvinistic is
incorrect. The actions of the monarchy prove otherwise. Queen Victoria had
acknowledged the fundamental part of the presence of Christianity in sparking
the ‘mutiny’, but hadn’t prevented the missionaries from arriving in India
following the mutiny. This is significant because it emphasises the lack of
consideration for the attacks on Hinduism and as a result demonstrates the idea
that, the British had continually viewed themselves as superior. It is clear
through the level of neglect of the importance of preventing missionaries from
arriving and attempting to reform the Indians as it had sparked the revolt.
Therefore, it is ultimately clear that the British had identified themselves as
superior in comparison to the Indian race and provided themselves with a
justification to exploit India for their economic desires, and those under
their rule.

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Consequently, this provided the British
government with a justification in their own eyes of being able to exploit its
colonies. The Indian ‘Mutiny’ provides a clear demonstration of the extent to
which the British governors would downgrade the Indian population in order to
fulfil their economic desires. The importance of India is demonstrated through
the sheer violence used by the British governors emphasising the importance of
India. It is clear at Cawnpore with the British forcing the mutineers to lick
clean blood-stained buildings followed by being forced to eat pork or beef. Many
of the rebels had faced death with being publicly hanged or 40 men in Peshawar
being strapped to cannons and blown apart. It is clear that the attack on their
religion was as a result of the British believing the religion in which the
rebels had followed was the cause of their sufferings. It is evidenced through
an account by a  British soldier had
replied to the cries of a rebel with “you defended your religion, why then do you crave your lives?”(Today, 1862). The punishment enforced by the
British military was a sign of warning to the Indian population that such
actions would face consequences as of such. It is clear that this had been as a
result of the profits that had been created in India. The company had seen
profits of “£234,000…£2. 5m..in today’s currency, around £23m” (Dalrymple,
2015) inputted into its treasury. As a result of this, it is clear that the
East India Company had been a profit creating machine resulting in the British
emphasising its importance and significance to the British economy. It is clear
that the British had used and exploited India for their own benefits. This is
clear as a result of preventing Russian influence from entering India
demonstrating the sheer level of importance the company and country had to
Britain. The chauvinistic attitude is evident through the significant presence of
the company’s army across India, enforcing British rule. This had been as a
result of the Regulating Act in 1773 which now meant that the company was under
direct control of the crown. It is important to include the significance of the
army’s presence across India as they had been used as a tool to enforce their
attitude. An example which demonstrates this was the annexation of land that
had started to occur due to the doctrine of lapse being introduced. This had
been under the leadership of Lord Dalhousie who had aimed to ‘modernise’ the
way in the which the land tenure system had worked in India. However, the
changes that had been made were in violation of Hindu law. This is because the
case of a natural heir isn’t required in order to acquire land, but Dalhousie
reformed this idea and ensured that there should be one. As a result of this,
it emphasises the extent to which the British had rejected Indian beliefs in
order to gain land for profiteering basis. This is significant because it
demonstrates the force used to enforce controversial changes with the presence
of the army being a warning sign. Alongside this, this shows that the Indian
mutiny was triggered as a result of chauvinistic values which provided the
British justifications with continuing with what they thought was ‘correct’. The
British government enforces this similar attitude with the need of exploiting
other countries as a result of its superior attitude in Egypt and Sudan. This
becomes clear following the arrival of an Islamic militant force who had
attempted to overcome British rule in Egypt and Sudan. However, with the Suez
Canal being of huge importance to the British trade network, it saw the brutal
killings of many soldiers at the Battle of Omdurman with high tech guns in
comparison to traditional forms of fighting. The extent to which they had used
violence beyond imaginable was emphasised by Winston Churchill showing his
sympathy for the opposition. Therefore, it is clear that the British government
had viewed its colonies as inferior and as a result used excessive force to
gain profits.

 

Ultimately,
it becomes clear that the British government had viewed its other colonies with
a lack of equality and as a result begun to exploit the people within the
country and the colony itself. This is significant as this theme of rule had
been evidenced throughout the important years of empire and as a result,
reinforces the initial aim of the empire – ‘modernising’ other countries to
their own standard and using them for their own profiteering benefits. Whereas
many may argue that the rule of the governors had been indirect, it is
evidently clear that the British government had been heavily involved in
dictating the decisions and as a result highlighting their attitude. An example
which clearly demonstrates this can be seen through the annexation of land in
India causing the revolt. Thus, it is clear that the British had viewed
themselves as superior in comparison to other countries to exploit them for profit.