What were the benefits of British rule in India?

Here you go ...


1. Sati or Suttee: William Bentinck abolished it finally after collecting data that 800 died in Sati in Bengal alone that year. It took an iron hand from the British to abolish this ghastly custom.

2. Female Infanticide: Banned by the British. Unfortunately, it is still practiced heavily in India especially in Haryana and Punjab where female to male ratio is at an all time low.

3. Burying of Lepers alive: "Thou shalt not burn thy widows; Thou shalt not kill thy daughters; Thou shalt not bury alive thy lepers." were the commandments issued in 1846.

4. Anti Slavery act: Result of Christian Abolitionists like Zachary Macaulay and William Wilberforce who waged a 20 year 'Am I not a man and a brother' campaign.


1. Dams: The British built dams of remarkable technological feat. These have helped India in making more dams after independence. You can still see 'Made in England' signs on these dams built during the colonial era.

2. Railways: By 1929, 66000 km of railway was constructed carrying 620 million passengers and 90 million tons of goods per year.

3. Electricity: The first demonstration was done by PJ Fleury in 1879 during the colonial era. London controlled Kilburn and Co. till 1970. First hydroelectric installation was done in 1870 and the first electric train in 1925. All under the colonial rule.

4. Modern Bridges: For example - One of the bridges (Howrah Bridge) is the most iconic landmark of Calcutta. When commissioned in 1943, it was the 3rd longest cantilever bridge in the world.

5. Canals and irrigation: 75000 miles of canals were constructed in the colonial era. Now that's something! Waters of five rivers (the Jhelum, the Chenab, the Ravi, the Sutlej, and the Beas) were harnessed to transform 6 million acres of desert into richest agricultural regions in asia (Punjab). Punjab was chosen for green revolution later on for its abundant water supply. Plenty of irrigation works in Ganges and Godavari by Proby Cautley and Arthur Cotton.

6. Telecommunication (Telephone, Telegraph etc.): First started in 1850 with construction and opening of telephone exchanges in 1882 (Bombay, Calcutta and Madras)

7. Transatlantic telegraph cable: First to connect Bombay to rest of the world 1870

8. Great Trigonometrical Survey of India: (1802) Among the many accomplishments of the Survey were the demarcation of the british territories in India and the measurement of the height of Everest, K2 and Kanchenjunga. The Survey had an enormous scientific impact as well, being responsible for one of the first accurate measurements of a section of an arc of longitude, and for measurements of the geodesic anomaly.

9. Power Stations: First one built in 1897 followed by many more.

10. Coal industry in India: Started from scratch by the British.


1. Democracy, Common law and Order

2. Postal Service: Started by the British.

3. Parliament (Lutyens Delhi): Built.

4. President's Building (Lutyens Delhi): Built.

5. Municipal Corporation: Started by the British.

6. Indian Civil Service (despite knowing that they will ultimately threaten their rule). Absolutely Incorruptible. Look at the corruption in civil services after independence!

7. Forestry: Created Forestry department to preserve forests. The magnificent Forest Research Institute in Dehradoon and Jim Corbett's tireless effort in saving tigers. Jim Corbett National park bears testimony to his efforts.

8. Modern Universities and Education: 186 universities till 1911 including Uni of Bombay, Madras and Calcutta. Schools and education for males and females.

9. Created, Designed and Developed New Delhi

10. Indian National Congress : Founded by A O Hume joined by Annie Besant.

11. Created Indian Army: By 1945, trained Indian Army was 2+ million strong. Indian army fought alongside the British and supplied the second largest army with Australia and Canada to save the world.

12. Created Indian Air force: By 1945, Nine trained squadrons existed (28000+ personnel) that helped the empire fend off the Axis.

13: Created Archaelogical Survey of India department: Without this ancient and medieval era civilization like Indus valley would be unknown.

14: Created Geological Survey of India

15: Created Botanical Survey of India

16: Created Survey of India

17: Created Zoological Survey of India

18: Created Indian police Service and Criminal Investigation Department (C.I.D.)

19: India's central bank i.e. Reserve Bank of India established in the colonial era. Also India's largest bank State Bank of India traces its roots to 1806.

20. Indian Council of Agricultural Research 1929

21. Medical Council of India 1934

22. Commercial production of Tea (India is now one of the world's largest producer of tea)

23: National Archives of India 1891: Holds records of governments.

24. Modern Indian Navy: In 1947, the navy consisted of 33 ships, and 538 officers to secure a coastline of more than 4,660 miles and 1,280 islands

25. Modern census: First conducted in 1872 and then every 10 years (under Ripon)

26. Factory act (1881): Under Ripon to improve condition of workers. He was very popular and liked.

27. Ancient Monuments preservation Act 1904

28. Indian Meteorology Department 1875: Henry Francis Blanford was the first director. (Weather, Seismology etc.)

29. National Library (formerly Imperial library): The Calcutta Public Library had a unique position as the first public library in this part of the world. Such a well-organized and efficiently run library was rare even in Europe during the first half of the 19th century. Because of the efforts of the Calcutta Public Library, the present National Library has many extremely rare books and journals in its collection. Curzon made it for public use to promote education.

30. Indian Marine Survey Department (1874)


1. Hill Stations: It is said that 50 out of 80 hill stations were created by the British in India (even though to escape from blistering summer heat). These remain for Indians to enjoy - Mussorie, Ooty, Darjeeling Dalhousie, Simla etc.

2. Architecture: Victoria terminus in Bombay is a world heritage site. Edwin Lutyens and Herbert Baker designed New Delhi and the magnificent Parliament and President's building (Rastrapati Bhawan) stands tall. India Gate and Gateway of India along with Forest research Institute are all there for everyone to enjoy. Many glorious buildings are in Calcutta and Bombay.

3. Historical places: Plenty of them.

4. Indus valley civilization: Bronze age Harrapa, Mohenjo Daro etc. were discovered in 1842, excavated and preserved by the British (1920)

5. Restoration of Taj Mahal, Fateh Pur Sikri and many other historic buildings: Nehru recognized this preservation under Curzon.

6. Indian Museum Calcutta: It is the earliest and the largest multipurpose Museum not only in the Indian subcontinent but also in the Asia-Pacific region of the world.


1. Thuggee: The great William Henry Sleeman destroyed thuggee cult who murdered 2 million+ Indians. He is remembered fondly in Jabalpur and a village called Sleemanabad dedicated to him.

2. Destruction of Pindaris who were supported by Marathas: Pindaris plundered, burned villages, killed people and raped women. Hastings destroyed them by organising a huge army.


1. India - created from 600+ princely states with some of them ruled by oppressive kings.

2. English: United India with a common language without which Indian would not have been thriving in software, call centres and going to America.

3. Asiatic Society: Created by William Jones where millions of manuscripts have been preserved. The holy books like Gita, Upanishads, Literature by Kalidas etc. have been translated by William Jones. The works by Madhava of Kerala School would be unknown without this fantastic department.

4. Scientists: Without the British professor Hardy, Ramanujan would be unknown to the world. Shame he died so young! Other notable scientists like CV Raman, Homi Bhabha (Nuclear Physicist), JC Bose, SN Bose, Vikram Sarabai(Space research), Radhanath Sikdar etc. belonged to the colonial era.

5. Japan and Germany's Hitler: The British empire saved the world from atrocities by fighting the Axis instead of accepting the offer from Hitler.

6. Modernisation: Brought India to the modern world. She is on the path to become the largest economy in the future.


1. Hospital: The first hospital in India was created by the British followed by many hospitals during the colonial era.

2. Indian Medical Association: Indian doctors are now known for their skills world wide.

3. Prevention and research in diseases like Malaria, Plague, Cholera, Small Pox: Who could forget the great Ronald Ross who is remembered fondly in India for his research on Malaria? It is said that Edward Jenner with his work on Small pox saved more lives than the work of any other man.

4. Sanitation

5. Vaccination: Population of India grew during the colonial era.


1. Cricket (It is a rich sport in India)

2. Hockey (India's national sport)

Famous People:

1. William Jones: Started Asiatic society. WIthout him, the archaelogy work would not have received such an impetus that discovered India's past empires like Gupta, Maurya etc. Translated holy books like Gita, Upanishads etc. Even Kerala school of Mathematics was uncovered by this department.

2. Ronald Ross: Nobel prize winning research on Malaria. Roads and institutes are named after him in India.

3. Arthur Cotton: Revered in the state of Andhra Pradesh for his irrigation works in Godavari turning the area into rice bowl of the state. Museums and statues exist in India and his birthday is celebrated every year.

4. Proby Cautley: Known for irrigation works in the Ganges.

5. Charles Philip Brown: Known as promoter of Telugu language and dedicated his life to state of Andhra Pradesh with his contribution to schools and literature. He's amongst 20 great people of the state.

6. Jim Corbett: Saved the villagers from hunting man eating tigers. Later on he campaigned tirelessly to save tigers and establish the first national Park. Jim Corbett National Park is dedicated to him.

7. William Henry Sleeman: Revered in Jabalpur for eliminating thuggees and bandits. He also found the first dinosaur fossil in India. Also worked to enforce the ban on Sati.

8. Lord Curzon: Without him, preservation of monuments, archaelogical work etc. would not have received such an impetus. He was obsessed with preservation.

9. William Bentinck: Banned Sati, infanticide, thuggee etc.

10. Wilberforce and Macaulay: 20 year campaign against Slavery by abolitionists that also resulted in Indian slavery act. British empire was the first to ban slavery and also patrol the seas to enforce it.

11. Florence Nightingale: Made a comprehensive statistical study of sanitation in Indian rural life and was the leading figure in the introduction of improved medical care and public health service in India. In 1858 and 1859 she successfully lobbied for the establishment of a Royal Commission into the Indian situation.