The events of the Indian mutiny; in particular the Enfield rifle cartridges, the murder of Christians, the shootings in Cawnpore and the massacre in Lucknow, vastly changed the presence of British in India. The British realised that they could not run a country through a company with no acknowledgement and respect for culture. After the mutiny, the East India Company no longer ruled India – The queen did. The British prime minister chose a secretary of state for India. This change gave the people of India someone to look up to and respect rather than a company ruling and making decisions for their own financial gain.
Towns and cities were ‘littered with her statues’. The legislative council also included some Indian representation, signifying the start of participation of Indian people in British Government. This meant that the Indians felt as though they had a say in the running of their country. The end of the mutiny also indicated the beginning of a new attitude towards Indian culture where the British no longer interfered. In particular, the British no longer attempted to stop the traditional practices and laws surrounding widows. The British also came to respect Indian princes and other respected people in positions of authority over others.
This was shown through their participation in the Legislative council. The British felt that Princes and landowners had a crucial role in maintaining positive relationships between themselves and Indian peasantry, so they were guaranteed property and some were given rewards for their loyalty. However, the fading relationship between the working peasants and their landowners, meant that the policy was not as successful as expected, in a long term view. The continued superior attitude of the British meant that the still viewed the Indians as a substandard people.
They believed that they ‘didn’t know a good thing when they saw it’. The British continued to have complete financial and political control. Although more attainable, still enforced a uniformed revenue tax of 10% and introduced paper currency through the country. This then ended majority of barter trade. The British presence in India changed immensely after the mutiny. It changed on many levels affecting the people in social, cultural, financial, political and occupational aspects of their lives due to the changing nature of the company.
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