How Does the British get India to stay within the Empire?

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Jim Smitty, Mar 19, 2017.

  1. Fabius Maximus Unus qui nobis cunctando restituit rem

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    Teach English-style curricula in all the schools, with English lessons, studying famous English authors, etc. Incentivise assimilation by giving Anglicised Indians prestigious government jobs. Give the vote and other political privileges to Anglicised Indians. Establish veteran colonies to help spread English culture. Give civil privileges to towns that establish British-style civic institutions. Remain in control for five hundred years or more to make sure the reforms can properly bed down.

    Plus, they wouldn't need to "wipe out" Indian culture, just to bring over enough of the middle and upper classes, who'd be the ones leading any putative independence movement. It doesn't really matter what the peasants think, as long as the middle and above classes support the British India isn't going to cause any trouble.
     
  2. Indicus Raianus Indicorum

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    Why would any veteran want to live in a country as inhospitable to white people as India?

    Nehru, Gandhi, Jinnah, and many other independence figures were Anglicized to an extent and taught in English schools, as was Rabindranath Thakur, and all it did was bring liberal ideals onto the Indian revolution. If you really want a pro-English upper class, you need more people of mixed race. If you have a Britain that is more accepting of the creation of brown Englishman, you could get an upper class that is accepting of British rule. I'm not sure that would be enough, however.
     
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  3. Fabius Maximus Unus qui nobis cunctando restituit rem

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    Is all of India equally inhospitable? (That's a genuine, not rhetorical, question BTW.) There are cooler areas at higher altitudes, so maybe some of them could live there.

    Interestingly enough the English of the 18th century were more accepting of Indians than in the 19th century; they were more likely to adopt Indian dress and some Indian customs when they were out there, and mixed marriages were more common. I'm not sure why exactly these attitudes changed, but stopping the change would be a good start.
     
  4. Indicus Raianus Indicorum

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    Well, it snows every winter in Shimla, as well as in Srinagar and a bunch of other high-altitude cities. Still, I don't think many British people would want to move to India just because of the reputation. Also, living on high-altitudes does not lend itself well to interactions between the Indians and British folk

    I'm guessing it has to do with the Indian Mutiny. So, I guess avoiding that would be a start to more mixed marriage.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2017
  5. Cuāuhtemōc Instagram Fiend

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    My point is that Indians would become aware that their monarchs are stooges of some distant foreign imperialist power even if the British somehow made their presence more benign and subtle.
     
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  6. Fabius Maximus Unus qui nobis cunctando restituit rem

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    No, it had started before then, and indeed might have been a contributing factor to the Mutiny.
     
  7. Cuāuhtemōc Instagram Fiend

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    It's very easy to be accepting of mixed marriages when your family is thousand of miles away and it's almost impossible to get them to come to India. Men being men are going to get lonely and want to have some local women as companions. When transoceanic navigation became quicker and easier, more British women could come to India and that meant that it was no longer acceptable for British men to marry Indian women.
     
  8. Socrates Well-Known Member

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    You will never win over 100% of any demographic. In several French African colonies this was effectively achieved. But the Francofied elite realised quickly that they had to get on the independence train or be pushed out the way by those who were. The underlying push by the people demanded it.

    And that was in socieities that genuinely saw (and in many cases still do) Europeans as bringing civilization to their lands. Not somewhere like India with millenia of proud civilization of their own.
     
  9. Socrates Well-Known Member

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    It was a combination of increased racialisation of the slave trade over the course of the 1700s causing racist attitudes back home that then migrated out there, women moving out there (who in this time period were more racist than men), and the economic divergence from the industrial revolution 'confirming' white superiority.
     
  10. RogueTraderEnthusiast Well-Known Member

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    For me, the best way to keep India, is the same technique you use to keep Africa, and balance demographics.

    Accept that Britain will have to become an Anglo-Afro-Indian Empire. Settle more Indians in Africa and Australia, relocate Africans to India and Australia, and really ramp up the rewards for white settlers to travel to Africa and India.

    Could this be done? Sure - it'd be a very... different Late-Victorian era to be sure, one that sees the Jodhpuri as fashionable as Western Suits, replacing Splendid Isolation, with Spendid... Imperialisation? (It isn't British, lets just call this hybrid culture Imperial for ease), the same with various African fashions as well.

    You'd probably see such a movement include desires like the seperation of Church and State - simply to not only prevent Hindus and Muslims from feeling like second class citizens to Christians (whether Indian or otherwise), but also to disempower political movements built around those faiths.

    I'm no architect, but building monuments, or monumental arcades that merge British, Indian, and various African styles (Or a preferred one, probably the dominant Swahili practices) as a massive showcase.

    But it'll come down to even small details as well - that massive amount of immigration from India to Africa? African Shirts as gifts off of the boat - White settlers to India? Why not give them a Jodhpuri or more practical clothing and simply inform them that it is the latest fashion.

    Not that Swahili, Indian and Anglo-Saxon are going to be the only influences, Burma and Afrikaans (a bit) will have influence too.

    The biggest impact is that with all these people moving around (and back to the UK as well, although, it has fewer opportunities to settle, so it might just become the retreat of the middle and upper class), the lingua franca will be English - which will begin to break the dominance of Swahili and Hindu in their respective regions.

    But all of this is a radical departure from OTL British policy, you're basically looking at changing the Empire from resource-extraction, to tax-extraction, whilst flamboyantly fighting a culture war. Whilst the transition to tax-extraction is more than possible (and vital to moving communities around), you need someone with long-term vision, political talent, and at least a few generations of settlers to bring the Anglo-Saxon (and part-Anglo) populations to even have the demographics change enough that the dominant culture is not Indian.

    (I won't lie, the idea of a bunch of Geordies from Newcastle UK, landing in Newcastle, Aus, and being given Swahili-patterened light shirts to wear in the hot Australian weather appeals visually)

    But yeah, you want a British Empire? It needs to stop being so bloody English.
     
  11. htgriffin Member

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    I take it the OP is not willing to settle for a united or federal South Asian Superstate in the Commonwealth that keeps the Windsor Padishah on the currency out of inertia and as a sop to the more paranoid confessional movements. Because anything more than that will mean the Indian tale will come to wag the British dog
     
  12. Admiral Beez Banned

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  13. RousseauX Donor

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    OTOH look at the russification and the soviet union/tsarist russia for when it doesn't succeed, and the USSR/Imperial Russia were in a much better position to russify the baltics or Ukraine than Britain is at India.

    France/Russia also had the distinct advantage that they had some kind of "linguistic-ethnic" center on which they can model the rest of the country on: france basically had an eduacation system which turned everyone in France into Parisian French. That kind of identity doesn't exist in India.
     
  14. RousseauX Donor

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    This is true but as late as the crusades Egypt was something like 50% christian: it took over 1000 years for Islamization to complete and the final parts of it only took place in the 20th century: Britain has considerably less time to do it (what, 200 years or so?)
     
  15. RousseauX Donor

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    Ok so you only do this for the elite, the problem with this is twin-fold, first of all, giving them your culture or institutions doesn't actually stop them from wanting independence, people forget this nowadays but anti-colonial leaders went to schools with their imperial masters. Ghandi studied at King's college in London to be a lawyer, Nehru studied at Cambridge, the leadership of anti-colonialism were actually educated at British universities in the UK.

    The second problem is that the elite become very disconnected from the people they were suppose to rule, the model for this is basically Algeria in particular and most of the middle-east in general. In which France and other colonial masters created a westernized secular elite but who ended up being unable to deal with Islamism raising from below. On the long run a westernized Indian elite would not be perceived as legitimate by the population at large: there will always be parts of the elite which the imperials fail to incorporate (i.e the Muslim brotherhood in Egypt), or some portion of the westernized elite defects and take advantage of the revolt from below to put themselves in power (idk enough about this but maybe the FLN sorts of fit this model, Nasser definitely fits this role, as does the INC in India)
     
  16. Admiral Beez Banned

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    Perhaps the Dominion model is the way to go? Please remember this is the pre-1900 forum.

    Something like done in Canada https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constitution_Act,_1867

    Under the Dominion model, the entire colony of India (including the territory OTL of Pakistan, Bangladesh, etc.) would be governed domestically by locals (likely those friendly to Britain), but military and foreign affairs are run by, or influenced by Britain (at least until the 1931 Statute of Westminster).

    Except for a few years, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dominion_of_India there's never been a non-white, multi-theocratic, multi-ethnic Dominion, so I'm not sure it would work, but if done in the 1800s instead of post-WW2, IMO it's the best shot.

    We have discussed this before...
    https://www.alternatehistory.com/forum/threads/could-a-dominion-of-india-survivied.129636/
    https://www.alternatehistory.com/forum/threads/dominion-of-india.230018/
    https://www.alternatehistory.com/forum/threads/federal-dominion-of-india.89192/
     
  17. Indicus Raianus Indicorum

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    India has always been a secular state, at least nominally.

    The problem with a Dominion of India is that it will secede and become a republic, as one of the ideals of the Indian autonomy movement was republicanism. You need to somehow keep India from breaking away entirely. I'm afraid I don't know how you'd do that.
     
  18. Socrates Well-Known Member

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    Even imagining you completely rewire the racism of Britain itself, for which you'd probably have to go back before the conquest of India to do, this still isn't going to work. The first thing the Indians are going to see is the wealth of Britain and the poverty of India, and demand the political focus of the Empire is on Indian economic development, meaning spending of British taxpayer money in India... and undercutting British industry with their lower wage costs. Given the Dutch were still extracting money from Indonesia back to Holland even during the height of their ethical policy, this is just utterly politically infeasible.
     
  19. RogueTraderEnthusiast Well-Known Member

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    1) I agree that this would be a heck of a cultural change - I'm not denying that. But it is what you'd need. To a point it just needs to reach a point of mutally agreeable racism (i.e. Anglos, Swahili, Nigerian, Bengali and Rajput (merely a shot at subcultures, not a well thought out selection) are better than all rest) - I don't expect to see no racism - just that you'll have enough of a shift that it can keep the Empire together.

    Figuring that part out, is what saves the Empire culturally.

    2) I'll admit I didn't flesh this part out enough, but when I talk about tax-extraction, to an extent this is what I mean economically. Take a hands off approach and encourage local industries and trade, that benefit from trading with each other within Imperial preference. Say you tax at 20% of commerce/income/whatever, have Britain tax 5% points off of that, and 15 says local. Or even better 5 to Britain, 10 local, and 5 to 'distribution' - as in, invest where it is considered a good idea.

    Is that a huge change to the structure of the Empires economy, yeah - but I do seriously agree that the Empire would need to encourage local economies to flourish to survive, and rather than Britain benefit from forced processing in Britain, have it benefit from Tax Incomes and dividend payments. Historically Britain became a major investor and financial hub, so it could work economically - with the side effect of having fewer economic opportunities for poorer people at home, providing a push effect for migration abroad.

    Figuring this out, saves the Empire economically, and institutionally.
     
  20. davidsmith Well-Known Member

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    I think you are looking at 2 different things

    Trying to retain India as part of a British Empire
    Trying to make the UK a power to match the USA

    For all the reasons people have said, there is no way to realistically retain India as part of a british empire in the modern world, the distance, the british idea of racial superiority, the fact that India was used to improve the economy of Britain, the demographics of India v Britain and the effect of democracy on any institutions etc

    As for making Britain a power to match the USA ( and the USA as it is right now) is difficult, the USA is huge geographically with room to grow, from a post war population of 130 million to 300 million today.

    The UK is unlikely to retain even canada, australia or new zealand as part of a british empire, the distances are too far for massive integrated trade and travel in an pre 20 century world, even in 20th century world. I mean Canada alone had dream of matching the USA with a 100 million population dream that never happened, so they would definitely want to leave.

    One option would be if the UK pursued its 80s economic revival whilst not being in the EU, but using these links to improve trade within the commonwealth, as part of a beefed up commonwealth, especially among the white colony nations - canada, australia & new zealand and pursue combined research programmes, defence spending and beneficial trade agreements.
    Also the UK could try to retain some of the smaller or weaker non white colonies or allow them to stay as part of the UK if they want (or buy them to stay with large subsidies - whilst promoting integration with UK). Malta almost stayed with UK, allowing smaller colonies within the west indies such as jamaica, belize or Guyana etc to stay within the UK and investing in them, might have worked. The populations aren't huge so the fear of vast amounts of non white immigrants isn't credible (although given british racial attitudes, even small numbers of immigrants weren't acceptable post war)
    All these things are post war acts, not pre 1900 though

    The point of retaining these countries would to be try and grow them economically and population wise on the grounds that a multi national UK of 60 - 70 million by the mid 1960s would be more independent of the USA, would be able to afford its own defence etc.
    However the underlying weakness of the British economy and its post war decline might mean thats all impossible.

    The other option is to retain Ireland, which would be a longshot, given hundreds of years of english abuse of the country and its people and would need an Ireland where the famine didn't happen, so the population didn't collapse. Again given british attitudes I am not sure thats possible.

    Would Britain accept large scale immigration into the UK in the 19th Century? Could it grow its own population? it would never match the USA, but perhaps could be first among equals in Europe, with a population to match Germany, that might also mean it could stop the ww1 which broke the british empire financially. Due to racial attitudes, poor white immigrants are probably more acceptable, from spain, italy, eastern europe etc. A larger population might mean the other countries of the british empire might want to stay in its orbit and influence more easily

    I haven't really discussed the non white african and asian colonies, as I can't see them wanting to stay in a british empire and given the poor success of the french in buying influence in the former french empire african countries, I am not convinced the UK could do any better without a more radical attitude and plan. again that would require lots of money spent over a much longer term

    If you want to go much more ASB, england would need to retain parts of france, which become part of the UK, basically, Brittany, Normandy and Hauts de France ( region east of normandy). becoming part of the UK and becoming anglicised and crucially develop as part of the british empire, which grew faster than france. That adds about 13 million people to the UK today.

    So basically my view is that if you grow the population of the UK that will make the UK stronger. 80 million makes it dominant in europe, 100 million makes it the european superpower and so on. But given the food needs of the UK, after about 60 million based on food production in the 20th century, it will need to have more farm producing land.
     
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