Corrupt and friendly

April 21 2015

The British rulers of India in the first generation behaved […] very much as their Hindu and Muslim predecessors had behaved. They were humanly corrupt and therefore not inhumanly aloof; and the British reformers of British rule, who were rightly determined to stamp out the corruption and who were notably successful in this difficult undertaking, deliberately stamped out the familiarity as well, because they held that the British could not be induced to be superhumanly upright and just in their dealings with their Indian subjects without being made to feel and behave as if they were tin gods set on pedestals high and dry above those Indian human beings down below.

Forster’s India:

The sentiments of Ronny Heaslop


The first generation means from the Battle of Plassey in 1757, when the Nawab of Bengal, once a Mughal governor, latterly independent and fighting with the French, surrendered, up to and including the rule, 1773-85, of the first Governor-General, Warren Hastings.

In 1765, the Company was granted the diwani, or right to collect revenue, in Bengal and Bihar. The Nawabs (list) were gradually sidelined. In 1773, it established a capital in Calcutta. The first reformer was the successor of Hastings, Cornwallis.

America and India.

The World and the West, OUP, 1953

One Response to “Corrupt and friendly”

  1. davidderrick Says:

    A large part of the world, come to think of it, is corrupt and friendly.

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