Realistically, How Long Can the Raj Last?

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Emperor-of-New-Zealand, Jul 11, 2019.

  1. Emperor-of-New-Zealand It's a figure of speech

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2009
    Location:
    Christchurch, NZ
    I'm not posing this question as a fun, "Let's extend the life of the GLORIOUS British Empire!" scenario.

    What I genuinely want to know is, how long could British rule in India have gone on if there were no major global conflicts between the great powers between 1900 and the present day? Smaller conflicts are unlikely to be avoided - things like Balkan wars, trouble in the Arab states (rebellion against the Ottomans, primarily), potentially the Tsardom or Austria-Hungary collapsing, and so on - but let's for argument's sake suggest that at the very least the British are not embroiled in some major rough and tumble with their neighbours.

    So, in OTL the Raj ended in 1947. Arguments could be made either way, as I see it. I have heard people suggest that the Raj only lasted as long as it did because of the world wars, and the fighting men being brought to Europe and Africa from India. This in turn fostered nationalism in India, which led to independence. Without a major conflict involving the British, would the Raj have lasted longer, or ended sooner?

    Could the Raj endure to the present day? In this I don't necessarily mean as part of a British Empire (as the old argument, IMO, stands - it would eventually become an Indian Empire), but in terms of the Windsors retaining the Head of State position in the same way they do in other independent nations, like Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. If Queen Liz, as an example, still holds the title Empress of India, that would in my mind count as an enduring Raj (albeit one independent from Britain, just with a British monarch).
     
    htgriffin, Joshua Ben Ari and Ferd42 like this.
  2. Joshua Ben Ari Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2011
    Location:
    New England
    Assuming both World Wars are butterflied away, the British Raj could theoretically last into the modern day (though I imagine that the British would have handed over control to the Indians by the 1970s) with the British royals as the Emperors of India.

    However, if we assume that both World Wars happen on schedule, I can't see British rule lasting longer than the 1950s*. If Lord Mountbatten had given a later date (he admitted he made it up on the spot), British rule could have lasted longer. However, Britain was also bankrupt from the Second World War and wouldn't have been able to hold India for much longer.

    If the Government of India Act had pushed for an actual Federation of India (likely the Government of India Act 1935, with full effect by 1938), you could see British rule last into the 1960s before transitioning into a Dominion-style country like Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

    *direct British rule, I mean.
     
    Gladsome and trurle like this.
  3. trurle bored blue collar worker

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2013
    Location:
    Kyoto
    Most likely yes. Of course, survival of British Raj would require no WWI and WWII as you properly noted. The political autonomy of Raj will be nearly complete after 2000 though. Also, the political landscape would be very different from OTL - most likely no Soviet Union and European union in existence. Finally, Middle East fracturing on lines completely different from OTL.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2019
  4. Khanzeer Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2019
    WI british behaved like mughals in the sense they took indian wives had mixed kids that ruled after them ?
    The. We have a ruling elite of a few hundred thousand mixed people in 100 yrs and then britush rule can extend for s very long time
     
    Blorg likes this.
  5. Peg Leg Pom Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2009
    What ever happened I can't see British rule in India lasting beyond the 1950's. Rising levels of educated professionals and the ability of radio, television and cinema to transmit ideas would make it impossible to stem the growing demands for independence. 100,000 British cannot rule over 500,000,000 Indians if the Indians don't cooperate.
     
  6. haider najib Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2016
    Location:
    Has no idea
    So apartheid? No there still a colonial power. Also there most likely just going to be christians ruling over muslims, hindus and sikhs you would then have a more religious conflict.

    Also britian would never do that as indians are not there equal. Also why hundred thousand india is in the hundreds of millions thats makes no difference what so ever.
     
  7. Stenz Don't judge the past by the standards of today... Monthly Donor

    Joined:
    May 18, 2016
    Location:
    Leafy Southern Blighty
    The impact of a Labour Government on the Raj in a no-WWI scenario is an interesting thought.
     
  8. sarahz Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2013
    Not impossible IF the Indian Mutiny did not happen.
     
  9. sarahz Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2013
    Without the first world war would there have been a Labour Government?
     
    TeePee and Stenz like this.
  10. Stenz Don't judge the past by the standards of today... Monthly Donor

    Joined:
    May 18, 2016
    Location:
    Leafy Southern Blighty
    IMHO, there will always be a point where it becomes impossible for there not to be. OTL, as the working class became more and more politically motivated, there was always going to be a point where they realised the Tories and the Liberals didn’t truly represent their interests.
     
  11. sarahz Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2013
    Actually it does not follow that this would mean Apartheid, it could simply have meant a bigger Anglo-Indian Community (which by the way did exist so some British people did marry Indians just not the elite or at least not in the numbers of the early days prior to 1857) India also of course had many egs of Muslims ruling over a .largely non Muslim population so I don't see that a Christian government would automatically fail. In the Indian context having a larger number of people of an Indian background, in the ICS is crucial and these posts do indeed number in the thousands rather than the millions so frankly a hundred thousand people in the right place do matter.
    However keeping this to Anglo-Indians would not be wise in anything but the very short term as it was access to these posts and elite education rather than full independence, which were the initial demands of the Indian middle and upper classes if these had bee welcomed it would have helped smooth a path to Dominion status.
     
  12. sarahz Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2013
    really then I suppose that the country of Canada does not exist, nothing in politics is ever inevitable until it happens. OTL it was the Liberal Party split that gave Labour its chance in the UK, similarly the Speakers Conference narrowly did not result in electoral reform which would have changed matters unpredictably and it may well have happened if the Liberals had power longer, or might not have done. No-one knows. thirdly few people would consider the policies of Ramsey Mcdonald or Philip Snowden to in any sense represent the interests of the working class. Certainly the 1929 Liberal Manifesto for eg was rather more in the interests of workers, (and everyone else) Again nothing is fixed until it happens and without WW1 the United Kingdom would have been a different place.
     
  13. The Ranger Do not feed the trolls

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2007
    To rule past 1950 the World Wars would need to be avoided, and the British would need to co-opt certain groups and in effect co-rule with them and make them fear that independence will lead to their ruin. Give them the land of other Indians who will at the least want it back and at worst want bloodthirsty revenge if the British ever leave. Have Gandhi quietly murdered on the quiet, perhaps poisoned.
     
    Inferus likes this.
  14. Khanzeer Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2019
    Rather mutiny was partly a consequence of British attitudes to natives by 1857
     
  15. sarahz Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2013
    in some ways . However it is incontestable that the result is that a bigger gap was opened up for EG Indians ceased to be commissioned as Officers, and more personnel were sourced from the home counties with the narrow mind sets that came with them.
     
  16. Blorg Credit to comics I post is SMBC Gone Fishin'

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2018
    Location:
    Somewhere in Canada
    You would like The two georges
     
    Zheng He likes this.
  17. Khanzeer Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2019
    Yes apatheid is not limited to South africa, caste system of hindus is a form of aparthied , so was the system of muslim ruling classes of turks , afghans and persians

    nothing that the indians are not used to and likely far more humane
     
  18. Tjakari Locusts and Fishbones

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2013
    Location:
    Alba Longa
    Don't do apologetics for colonial racism. Assuming anything that divides and abuses people is "humane", is a losing bet.
     
    Nicholas Hynds and SsgtC like this.
  19. haider najib Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2016
    Location:
    Has no idea
    Are you serious?

    Britain enforced the caste system they exploited it. So apartheid is more humane for india than indians ruling themselves?

    Seriously you think some white supremacy and european oppression was the more the humane thing for india? First you suggest having the colonist breed there way to victory creating a loyal class and to then suppress the natives. This sounds like some next level colonialism and imperialism being said here.
     
  20. Marc reformed polymath... Donor

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2012
    Location:
    The left coast...
    With no World Wars you have to postulate a vastly different group set of choices - if not ASB, then very close to the defination.

    So, it's empirically (pun semi-intended) nearly impossible to really extrapolate how long the Raj could last. But knowing people from that era - regardless, the days of the British were clearly quite limited.
     
    Gladsome likes this.