Apology Accepted (RELS 348)

Nirpal Dhaliwal’s story “Britain has no need to make an apology to India for Empire…Daily Mail, 30 July 2010 presents an unconventional perspective regarding the empire that Britain once held over India. Dhaliwal does not believe that an apology is required from Britain to India for their imperial rule years ago. He back up this statement by pointing out various pieces of evidence that prove that India is now a better place as a result of the British Indian empire.

According to the article, India has the second–largest growing economy in the world and produces more English-speaking graduates than the rest of the world combined. This legacy left by the Raj has been profitable to India’s economy and has helped create jobs in sectors such as call-centers and software industries. The article goes on to state that India’s access to the rest of Europe is also improved by having a close relationship with Britain. This is important to India similarly to the way the British Empire made India more modern and civilized; it will mark how prominent both countries are in the modern world. Dhaliwal then goes on to express his admiration towards India’s tolerance, freedom, and engagement with the world. He does this by recollecting his visits to St. Thomas’s Cathedral in Mumbai. He goes on further to prove that Christianity is accepted in India when he saw a sign outside the Mahalakshmi Temple that proclaimed “Merry Christmas” to its Hindu worshipers. Dhaliwal boldly declares that modern Indian state simply would not exist without the callous and profiteering British Empire.

Although Dhaliwal raises some valid points in favour of the British Empirical rule over India, I disagree with him on account that India does not deserve an apology from the British. Yes, Indians have built upon what Britain has introduced to them such as the English language, parliamentary democracy, the rule of law, and the protection of individual rights, which are all given credit where credit is due by Dhaliwal. However, I believe that the negative affects of the British Empire outweigh the positive legacies.

As mentioned in class, India held one of the largest economies in the world thanks to the spice trade, before the British East India Company seized control. Colonization and the British rule caused economic growth in India came to screeching halt. Colonization transformed India’s economy into a colonial economy. This resulted in deindustrialization that unemployed hundreds of thousands of craftsmen and caused farms to be working with an overcapacity of workers. The entire economic arrangement of India was in accordance with the interests of the British.

India underwent a series of famines and outbreaks of sickness during the British rule. Poor control and negligence by the colony is seen as the root cause of these famines. India’s growing population was largely not able to afford food because the British encouraged farmers to grow cash crops. This meant that a crop produced is for its commercial value rather than for use by the grower.

After considering the positive and negative affects of the British Empirical rule over India I am inclined to say that India at least deserves an apology from the British. Dhaliwal is quick to point out the fortuitous impacts that Britain had on Indian society but does not acknowledge the many atrocities, plagues, and lives-lost due to the empirical invasion. I believe that by recognizing both sides of an argument one is able to come to most accurate conclusion. By doing so, one can admit that the British should apologize to India.




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