British Impact on India

10478 Words Nov 19th, 2005 42 Pages
Introduction: The struggle for Indian independence was more than just an effort to break free of British colonial rule. It was part of a broader conflict that took place, and is in many ways ongoing, within Indian society. In order to organize resistance, upper-caste Indian activists needed to frame Indian identity as united against British colonialism. This was not in of itself difficult, but they wanted to maintain an upper-caste dominance over Indian society. This required upholding "classical" structures of caste identity for all Indians in their vision of what post-colonial India would look like and how it would function politically and socially. These structures of caste provided upper-caste Hindus with a privileged social and …show more content…
Ambedkar over the issue of political rights for Untouchables. Ambedkar's outspoken advocacy for Untouchable rights often put him at odds with Gandhi and the Congress Party. The largely Hindu Congress Party, from the late nineteenth century on, viewed British attempts to address the concerns of minority communities as part of a divide-and-rule strategy. Many Hindu activists, Gandhi included, agreed with an essentially Orientalist view that ancient Hindu texts pointed to a classical civilization which was only later perverted with caste conflict and Untouchability. For Gandhi, the Untouchables would be better off inside the Hindu community, but for Ambedkar, this was the actual source of repression. The Untouchables did find better opportunities for advancement working within the British legal structure than by waiting for Hindu activists to help them. The irony is that the British had been a force in centralizing and strengthening the Hindu power structure that the Untouchables faced.[2] The British viewed themselves as uplifting a lower or degraded society and at times this pushed them to attempt progressive reform on the behalf of minorities. The Untouchables were one such group. They were in a difficult position, being at odds with both British rule and the Hindu Congress Party which had taken the foremost position in the struggle for independence by 1916[3].. The complexities of caste politics, and how each group, British, Hindu, and Untouchable, used
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