Tag Archives: Chaos in India

The effect of the British on India

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This could become a long and scholarly work, but I am not well read in history from any region of the world, and I only know fragments of the truth. Basically, for hundreds of years, the British went around the world, dividing and conquering, and forcing the English language and legal system on various local populations who I’ll assume started out being less than willing to accept colonization.

In any case, it seems that in India, chaos is the norm. There either are no rules, or no enforcement of rules. It is common to find nobody in charge. There is no security unless you are in an airport in which the security has become what I humorously term as “Nazi times 3”. It is common to have five levels of security in airports in India now. To go to the bathroom, you pass by two checkpoints, and then another one on the way to the urinal, and then three more while going back to your waiting room for the flight. There are gangsters everywhere who control pockets of the country, corrupt politicians, police who are not always as effective or honest as you might like, and pollution that is out of control to the point where you literally can not breath in certain parts of India.

However, the British build railways that connected India from end to end. Before the British, there was no effective way to travel. I suppose you could hop on a horse and go to a neighboring state. And spiritual men made pilgrimages to various holy sites on foot. But, can you imagine how long and dangerous this pedantic type of transportation was? You could walk half a year on foot, or take an overnight train ride — which do you prefer?

Additionally, there was no common language in India before the British. There were only 22 main langauges that differered from state to state. The North Indians speak Indo-European languages which are similar enough to each other that they can probably understand each other well. I have heard that Marathi and Hindi are very very close. After colonization, the educated classes and those who worked with the colonizers were forced to learn English. English, is not only the language of the colonizer, but is currently the most widely spread WORLD LANGUAGE — and this enables India to have a huge edge on outsourcing. People in most other parts of Asia have huge struggle with English, but in India, there are millions who speak it well.

As I stated above, most of India is very unruly to a greater or lesser extent. However, many have noticed, that those areas that PREVIOUSLY were British Strongholds (like Mumbai) have a much greater sense of order. People in Mumbai actually drive in lanes, and the police keep the rick shaw drivers under strict discipline with the threat of a beating with a stick. There are rules and order in places that the British left their mark. The WILD EAST in India is another story. Local mafias terrorize the civilians, and there is no financial security. The gangs can take your property away from you if they like – and they often do. The only justice in these wild places are vigilante justice.

I remember watching TV at the airport in Bangalore watching someone in Bihar being publicly beaten, and then tied to the back of a moped and dragged around town. The police just sat and watched. The lynching victem had robbed a lady of her jewels and the police did nothing. So, the neighbors took action, and the police just sat and watched a young gentleman get beaten — perhaps to death. Most people prefer living in a place with law and order. This is why, when I visiti India, I prefer being in places that used to be under a stronger British influence — it is safer.