The British Raj (Book)

( This is a textbook and doesn't contain any image for images please take reference of


This book the British Raj has a short history of British rule on India which was once called the golden bird because of its immense wealth and civilisation. This book is written by me as a dedication for those who had sacrificed their lives for freedom of our nation India and for every freedom fighter from a house hold lady and childern to great leaders of India like Jawaharlal Nehru,Motilal Nehru,Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi,Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Dr.Bhimrao Ambedkar, ,Bhagat Singh,Chandrashekhar Azad,etc. This book is knowledgeable and is written in a way that every one can enjoy reading it.

                    • Muhammad Abul Fazal
year - 2014


I would like to thanks my family first who had given me full support.
Iwould also like to extend my thanks to my school principal of K.V,B.H.U Dr,(Smt). Poonam Singgh and also to my class teacher and all my subject teacher with whom guidence I am able to complete this book.


  1. Short description of British rule in other parts of World..................................... 4-5
and East India Company
      2. Arriving of European and British East India Company.....................................6-7
      in India

3. Annexation of Bengal and other territories........................................................8-11

4. Education and other reforms..............................................................................12-13

5. Revolt of 1857 and takeover by British.............................................................14-16

6. New policies and formation of Indian...................................................................17-17
National Congress

7. Indian freedom struggle from start to end..............................................................18-19

Short Description of British Rule on other parts of the world and
East India Company

Britain had not only ruled India but it is said that had ruled half world. Name of some

country ruled by Britain are as follows- America, Australia, Canada, Algeria, etc. Great

Britain is an island therefore its navy was very well trained and disciplined. The countries

which were ruled by Britain were especially those which were either islands or peninsulas

or countries who had boundry of sea coast. The Britishers in every country had gone with

aim of establishing trade relationships but gradually their aim transformed into becoming

an administrative power their. But intersting thing is that the British people who aimed to

rule were not the member or officials of the then British Government but they were officials

of a British trading company 'The East India Company'.

The East India Company was established during

reign of Queen Elizabeth I and also got a right to trade overseas by the queen. The company

started overseas trade with Asia and Africa and got richer and richer the officials of the

company started to live a Luxurious life. The Kingdoms of Asia and Africa were very rich

and prosperous they have their own culture which Britishers saw as inferior. They aimed to

conquer these territories and to establish their administrative power their, they thought that

this would benefit their trade. At that time their were no rules for Human Rights so the

slave trade was a very common activity in Europe and America. The people of African and

Asian tribes were captured and were sold to plantation owner in America and Europe. They

were used as mere dogs. They were forced to work in fields day and night and were not

given any wage or break. They were also treated as most inferior and were considered as

untouchable. The annexed country was ruled either directly by British officials or a native

ruler who was a mere pupped under British Administration. The Company formulated

policies for that territory and people would follow it without any protest. If they protested

they were severely punished. The farmers were forced to grow crops which were said by

British traders and they purchased it from them at very low cost and British traders sold

that crop in their country at very high prices and got lot of profit out of that. This helps the

company in establishing even more powerful fortification and army.

The main reason for this enormous power of East India

Company were as follows -

a) Well trained and disciplined army

b) Well developed Arms and Ammunition like Guns, muskets, cannons and pistols.

c) Oneness of Britishers, etc.
Were some reasons for this great power of Britain and East India Company.


(Please don't be confused as East India Company was two. One was British East India

Company and other was Dutch East India Company, and East India Company had trade

not only with India but with many other countries. Dutch East India Company was soon


Arriving of European and British East India Company in India

Aurangzeb was last great Mughal Emperor. The successors of his were very weak rulers

they did not had any experience and training of ruling a country.

The arriving of European countries started when 1498 in Portuguese sailor Vasco da Gama

first arrived on sea coast of Cochin a city in Kerala, his dicovery of sea route to India open-

ed doors for other European powers to establish trade relationship with India. Thse countries

included France,Netherlands,Portugal,etc.

Portugal captured Goa and Mumbai, Mumbai was later given

in British hand as dowry for marriage Portuguese princess with British Prince.

As told earlier in 1600 the company issued a charter from

Queen Elizabeth I to trade overseas. The East India Company then started looking for lands

where it can buy things at low prices and sell them at very high price in England. Then they

saw India as a golden opportunity to trade with it.

The Britishers first came to India in reign of Mughal Emperor

Jahangir. This could be seen in the painting of that time. Jahangir got impressed by Brit-

ishers and granted them trading rights in India. They Established their first post at Surat in

Gujarat. Britishers sent their ambassador in Jahangir's court his name was Sir Thomas Roe.

The Britsh traded Silk, spices, craft and other native products

of India. They buy them at very low cost here and sold it at high prices in Britain. French

also saw India as golden opportunity and started trade with it. This resulted in Battles

between France and England in Europe as well as India later on.

Soon in reign of Emperor Aurangzeb Britishers started to fortify Surat with permission of

Aurangzeb this angered him and he ordered to pull down the fortification but Britishers

rejected this order. One of the ship of Mughal India was looted by a British Pirate. The

Aurangzeb attacked fortification of Surat captured the British official in-charge and ordered

him to find that pirate, the ships of East India Company started search for that Mughal ship

but were not successful in search.

Annexation of Bengal and other territories

The Britishers came to Kalikata which later came to be known as Calcutta and Kolkata.

The Company established a factory at the bank of River Hugli in 1651. The compnay was

also given zamindari rights and later the then Mughal Emperor Farruksiyar granted a

Farman to company to trade duty free in India in 1717.

The Farman was very profitable for company but the offic-

ials started to sell it to other Indian traders illegally. This angered the Nawab of Bengal

Sirajuddaulah. On other hand East India Compnay also started Fortifying Kolkata this

even more angered Sirajuddaulah. He asked Britishers to pull down their fortification but

once again Britishers did not agree with this. As a result in June 1756 he laid a siege to the

forts of East India Company and Captured it. He imprisoned 146 men in a small room for

a whole night and locked its door when at morning it was opened 123 people were found

dead, this was remembered as 'Black Hole Tragedy'. The British recaptured it under

Robert Clive who was an eminent General and was called by East India Company to help

its army in India in 1757. The Treaty of Alinagar was signed by Siraj-ud-daulah and Robert

Clive. By the terms of the treaty Nawab had to restore rights and possessions of East India

Company. Britishers were allowed to fortify Calcutta.

Robert Clive wanted the downfall of Siraj-ud-daulah.

He tried every means to bring him down. He tried to win over his corrupt court officials and

was successful in doing this. He was able to win one of the most important offical of

Nawab's Court Mir Jafar who was chief commander of Nawab's army. He was promised

that if Britishers were successful in capturing Bengal he would be given Nawabship and

in return he would work under Britishers and give them certain rights which would even

more flourish their trade, a secret agreement was signed for this purpose.

For making Siraj-ud-daulah to have battle with Britishers

Robert Clive presented a set of unreasonable demands in front of Nawab which angered him

and he declared war against East India Company which Robert Clive wanted to happen.

The British Army and Nawab's army clashed in Battle of

Plassey named after Palashi a place situated near Calcutta where the battle occurred. Mir

Jafar did not join the war as he had signed a treaty for that he became only a mere onlooker.

He had fearn that he would be betrayed, without him Siraj-ud-Adu;ah cannot handle war

and had to withdraw his army. He was captured by Britishers and was soon put to death and

Mir Jafar was made Nawab of Begal. He was puppet under Britishers, he had given a large

sum of money to Robert Clive as gift. He also had given undisputed rights to trade over

Bengal, Bihar and Orissa. This battle also proved weakness of Indian rulers in front of

Soon Mir Jafar was replaced with his son-in-law Mir Qasim he

had given jagirs of Burdwan,Midnapur and Chittagong to Company as a mark of affection.

Mir Qasim was a capable ruler. He abolished the duty free trade of Indian

Merchents who were trading on farman of East India Company. This was not liked by Bri-

tishers. Then a war was held in 1763 between Britishers and Mir Qasim. Mir Qasim was

defeated and was once again replaced by Mir Jafar.

Mir Qasim formed alliance with Nawab of Awadh Shuja-ud-

daulah, Mughal Emperor Shah Alam II. Their combined forces appeard in front of British

army in 1764 in Battle of Buxar held at Buxar a city in Bihar.

The British forces were in command of Hector Munro. The combined forces of Nawab and

Mughal Emperor was defeated by British Army.

As a consequence Shuja-ud-Daulah and Shah Alam II were forced

to sign treaty of Allahabad. In terms of which district of Kora and Allahabad were taken

away from Awadh and placed in British rule. Nawab had to pay war indemity and Mughal

Emperor had to give Diwani Rights or right to collect revenue to East India Comapny.

A Dual Government was formed of East India Company and Nawab of Bengal. East

India Company collected revenue and Nawab had administrative power.

But soon Dual Government was finished and Britishers established direct rule over

Bengal. Warren Hastings was made Governer General of Bengal.

The annexation of Bengal opened doors for Britishers to conquer more territories of

India soon they were able to Conquer Mysore by defeating Tipu Sultan in Fourth Anglo-

Mysore War in 1799. Marthas by defeating Peshwa Madhao Rao II in Second Martha War in

1803-1805. Lord Wellesly was in command of East India Company during these conquests.

Punjab was also soon annexed after death of Ranjit Singh the Britishers finally captured

Punjab after Second Anglo Sikh War in 1848-1849. Dalhousie the then Governer General

departed Rani Jindan who revolted against Britishers to England.

Some policies formulated by Britishers like Subsidiary alliance and Doctrine of Lapse

helped in further annexation of more territories and to convert indirect rule into direct rule.

Subsidiary Alliance has a term that Indian rulers were alienated from keeping large forces

and also had to handle their forces to Britishers when asked to do so, it also stated that rulers

had to keep a British resident at their court. The British were able to take control by this

policy on Hyderabad in 1798 and 1800, Tanjore in 1799, Awadh in 1801, Gwalior in 1804,

Indore in 1817, Udaipur, Jaipur and Jodhpur in 1818.

Doctrine of Lapse stated that if an Indian ruler had no right of adoption of heir and if

he passed away without leaving any male natural heir his territory would be directly

annexed by East Indian Company. Some states which came under Doctrine of Lapse were

Satara in 1848, Jaitpur and Sambalpur in 1849, Jhansi 1853 and Nagpur in 1854.

By 1856 whole India was under direct control of East India Company.

Education and other reforms.

Traditional way of Education was changed during British Rule. The British introduced new

way of Education in India but two different group of Britishers were predicting two

different way of Education one group was called Orientalist and other was called Anglicist.

Orientalist were saying that the Education of Indian would be traditional Indian in

traditional Indian languages like Sanskrit, Persian and Arabic. On the other hand Anglicists

were saying that medium of language shall be English and Western Education should be

given to Indians.

However the then Governor General Lord Maculay prefered to take side of Anglicist so

Indian Education was abolished and western education was given to Indian people.

The Western Education to Indians created a sense of loyalty in hearts of Indian towards

Britishers but it also made awareness about some evil tradition of India like Sati and

dis-allowance of widow remarriage.
A ban on practise of sati was put in governorship of Lord Bentinck

in 1829. The former Governor general Lord Wellesly was also keen to put ban on Sati but

at that time condition was not suitable to do so.
Widow remarriage was also legalised during tenure of Lord Dalhousie in 1856.

by effort of Indian reformer Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar.

Introduction to telegram and railways was also done during British

rule. First telegram line was set from Calcutta to diamond harbour in 1850. First railway line

was from Bombay to Thane.

Railways and telegram helped in faster communication which

Britishers took full advantage. Through help of railways the British army could be

transported anywhere in India and through telegram news of revolt could be transmitted any

whrere in India.

Indigo plantation was forcefully done by Indian farmers under pressure of British.

British bought them from Indian farmer at very low cost and sell them in their country at

very high cost. Indigo exploited the fields and condition of Indian farmer worsen this was

one of the reason for Revolt of 1857.

Revolt of 1857 and takeover by British Government

The year 1857 was a boon for Indian independence struggle. A revolution was held in

India as Indian were wanting to as soon as get rid of from British East India Company rule.

Reasons for Revolt of 1857 were-

a) Economic exploitation of Indian farmers, artisan, etc. British drained resources of India

in such a systematic way that it totally exploited economy of India. India which was once

called golden bird was now reduced to mere subsistence level. There were famine everywh-


b) Political Reasons Doctrine of Lapse and Subsidiary alliance as well as removal of

Mughal dominency from India were some of the political reasons for the revolt. British

declared that after Bahadur Shah Zafar II the Mughal dynasty would be abolished.

Name of emperor were removed from the coins and he was locked in Red fort (Lal Quila)

in Delhi.

c) Religious exploitation, British exploited the religious faith of both Hindus and Muslims.

In Hindu faith the practice of Sati was banned which angered Hindus of upper caste.

In army the Indian sepoys were not allowed to grow beard on their face, this angered the

Muslim members of army.

Introduction of new cartridge of Enfield rifle had given a blow to faith of

both Hindus and Muslim. The cap of the cartridge had to be bitten out with mouth before

loading it in rifle but he cartridges were greased with Cow fat and Pig lard which were not

to be consumed by Hindus and Muslim. This was the main reasin for Revolution. The

English missionaries were considered for mixing slow poison in Indian culture.

The soldiers of 19th regiment refused to use the cartridge there leaders severely punished

the soldiers. On 29 March 1857 Mangal Pandey, a soldier of 34th regiment refused to use

cartridge when his sergent major came to punish himhe fired on him and asked whole 34th

regiment to revolt. However Mangal Pandey was arrested and executed. This was beginning

of revolt. The regiments at Lucknow and Ambala also protested. The regiment at Lucknow

was disbanned.

At Meerut on 24 April 1857 the 3rd Calvary revolted, they were given

punishment of 10 years of rigorous imprisonment. On 9 May, they were stripped out of

their uniform and were disgraced publicly. Next day the whole regiment revolted the

infantry also joined them. They released prisoners and killed British officers and civilians

and marched to Delhi same night and crowned Bahadur Shah Zafar II their leader and

Emperor of India. This was real beginning of revolt.

At Kanpur Nana Saheb revolted against Doctrine of Lapse.

He captured Kanpur and declared himself Peshwa. The British however captured Kanpur


This revolt also occurred at Jhansi under Rani Laxmi Bai, in Lucknow under

Begum Hazrat Mahal (wife of Nawab of Lucknow), Bihar under Kunwar Singh, Bareilly

under Khan Bahadur Khan and at Gwalior under Tantia Tope. However these all places

were recaptured by British very soon.
The Revolt failed but it created a sense of fear under British which

resulted in end of East India Company rule and held the power to British Government and

Queen Victoria was declared Empress of India.

Aftermath revolt following changes occurred:-

a) End to Company’s rule.

b) Board of Control and Court of Director were abolished. In place of it secretary of India

and Indian Council was created.

c) The Doctrine of Lapse was abolished.
d) Policy of annexation was finished.
e) General pardon was given to rebels except those who were subject of Britisher's murder.

f) British Parliament passed Government of India act, 1858.

New policies and formation of Indian National Congress

After revolt British Government formulated some new policies for Indian people.

Vernacular Press Act

Vernacular means native or indigenous. The local press of India was publishing news again-

st British Government some newspaper and periodicals were- The Hindu, Amrita, Bazar

Patrika, etc. The Act alienated Vernacular press from publishing any anti British news.

Arms Act

Arms act was passed during Viceroy ship of lord Lytton. The act forbid any Indian from

keeping arms and ammunition as it can be danger for British security. It was repealed at

time of Lord Ripon.

Ilbert Bill

Ilbert bill was proposed during tenure of Lord Ripon. The bill allowed Indian judges

to try European as well. This angered British resident and they protested against that bill.

Finally bill was cancelled. This act of Britishers showed their feeling of racial


Formation of Indian National Congress

In 1885 a retired British Imperial Service officer formed Indian National Congress for

helping Indians to put their demand after British Government and also to create a sense of

equality among Indians. Womesh Chandra Banerjee was chosen first president of INC.

Indian freedom struggle from start to end.

Now, I will start story from arrival of Gandhiji. Before his arrival some more great leaders

had started freedom struggle they included- Dada bhai Naroji, Gokhale, etc.

After return of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, a lawyer of Indian origin practising at

South Africa. He had seen bad condition of Indians at South Africa. Now he had returned to

hos motherland to serve it and get it off fro hand of British rule. Ghandhji was a follower

of non-violent method of protesting. This was called Satyagrah.

He joined Indian National Congress and launched many

non-violent movements against Britishers, these plans included Non-cooperation movem-

ent, Civil disobidence movement, etc. These movement had boycotting of British goods

and peaceful protesting. But people sometimes come in so much anger that they used

violent methods, such actions resulted in loss of life and accident like Chauri-Chaura.

Gandhiji was joined by Jawaharlal Nehru, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Sardar

Vallabhai Patel,etc.

But some revolutionaries realised that only revolution can get India

independent these included Bhagat Singh, Chandra Shakhar Azad, etc.

Leaders like Subhash Chandra Bose said that only battle can get India out

of Britishers. His some famous slogans were ' Dilli Chalo' and ' Tum Mujhe Khun do

main tumhen azadi dunga'.

The Muslim League on other hand demanded for separate nation for

Muslims 'Pakistan'.
The British in return formed policies like Divsion of Bengal to

weak feeling of Nationalism but they did not work.

Finally on 15th August 1947 India became independent with Jawharlal

Nehru as first Prime Minister.

Nationalist literature also helped in freedom struggle and
igniting fire of Nationalism in hearts of Indians. Some of National literature

works are Saare Jahan se acha, Kaidi aur Kokila and our national anthem .

This was whole history of British Rule or Raj on India”

' Saare Jahan Se Acha Hindustan Hamara-Hamara'
'सारे जहान से अच्छा हिन्दुस्तान हमारा-हमारा'
'سارے جہاں سے اچھا ہندوستاں ہمارا۔ہمارا

About the author

Muhammad Abul Fazal (2000-) was born in city Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, India. He studiesd at St.Mary’s Convent School, Varanasi and is currently studying in Kendriya Vidyalaya, B.H.U. His father M.A.Shaz is proffersor of Physics in B.H.U, his mother name is Shabana Mujeeb he have small sister Almaas Nasreen.