What It was Like to be Colonized by the British

Loot, massacre, rape, torture, bloodshed, hunger, poverty, and racism were the realities of colonialism (from an Indian’s point of view).

Realities of the British Colonialism in India

Hunger and poverty

The anthropogenic (man-made) famine of Bengal caused 2.1–3 million deaths in 1943. All the essential supplies were diverted from the civilians in Bengal to the military as a reserved stockpile. And, all this happened on the decisions of Winston Churchill. When some British officials reported that the people are dying due to this decision then the best answer that Churchill could come up with was “starvation of anyhow underfed Bengalis is less serious than that of sturdy Greeks”.

Dead bodies lying in the streets of Bengal and vultures are waiting to eat them during the 1943 Bengal famine.
Dead bodies lying in the streets of Bengal and vultures are waiting to eat them during the 1943 Bengal famine.
Dead bodies lying in the streets of Bengal and vultures are waiting to eat them during the 1943 Bengal famine.
A famine-stricken family in Bangalore during the 1876–1878 famine.
A famine-stricken family in Bangalore during the 1876–1878 famine. (Source)

Tortures and rapes

When people tried to stand against the “rule”, they were tortured to death by the British troops. Some of the common torture practices were:

  • being tied on the firing cannons
  • nipping off the flesh with pins
  • prevention of sleep
  • putting red chilies in the eyes and private parts
  • sexual violence against women
Execution of suspected rebellions by the British in 1858 after the 1857 revolt.
Execution of suspected rebellions by the British in 1858 after the 1857 revolt.
Execution of suspected rebellions by the British in 1858 after the 1857 revolt. (Source)

Businesses were destroyed

By the time the British arrived, India was a world leader in at least textile, steel, and shipbuilding sectors.

Bloodshed and massacres

Jallianwala Bagh massacre was one of the most heinous crimes committed by the British. On 13th April 1919, thousands of Indians gathered to celebrate a famous festival “Baisakhi” and to protest peacefully in a garden named Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar.

A sketch of Jallianwala Bagh massacre. (Source)

Exploitation and theft

The British governed India as per their benefits. All the rail and road networks were designed in a way to transport raw material to the ports to be shipped to Britain. The monetary value of everything that the British took from India (from 1765 to 1938) is $45 trillion in today’s money which is 17 times more than the current GDP of the UK.

Final words

The British came to India as traders but strengthen their roots slowly by using the “divide and rule” method and became colonizers.

I develop marketing strategies and write at deepakness.com.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store