The British Empire and its Lasting Legacies, Policies, and Relics in India

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The British Empire and its Lasting Legacies, Policies, and Relics in India
Anthony Ambrosius Aurelius

“The British Film Institute’s archive of Indian film is the largest and rarest collection in the world, with 300 highly flammable reels of film, preserved in climate controlled vaults, which depict India at the height of Britain’s empire.

Although the British Raj divided Indian society by socioeconomic class and race, India has long been divided by the caste system, a ridged hereditary framework which influenced every aspect of life. In some parts of India, the lowest castes throughout history have not been permitted to walk upon roadways.

For 300 years, England controlled much of the Indian subcontinent in what was referred to as “British India”. The English crown ruled from the center hub of Calcutta, India outward. Although Indian Maharaja, which translates to mean “prince” in Hindi, ruled in name over approximately half of India, they held no true power as virtually all decisions of government were drafted and implemented by the British. The term “Maharaja” is a British invention as there were many ruling classes with different titles and distinctions, however the British favored using the term “Maharaja” as it kept narratives more straightforward however this artificial, formal status did not actually exist within Indian society. It is believed that creating this new classification ensured loyalty to the British by having members of Indian society fight and jostle to acquire and keep such positions. The British furthered this by providing arbitrary positions (e.g. sitting at the right hand side of the commander in chief instead of the left, which makes absolutely zero difference however those who fought for these positions, battled vehemently as the prestige associated permeated throughout Indian society despite holding no real value to the British).”

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