The Indian question

Having conquered India, the British had the problem of administering it. It was the “jewel in the crown” of the British Empire. As well as spices, jewels and textiles, India had a huge population that could and did provide manpower for many things, including soldiering.

The Indian question was whether Britain had a right to rule India and whether it could continue to maintain the ability to exploit and administer such a large population (hundreds of millions). It was sometimes argued that Britain was “civilizing” India and had a duty to do SO “for the Indians’ sake.” Such an idea is now laughable.