India in the late 19th century. To what extent could India be considered a 'nation' in the late 19th to early 20th centuries?

Essay by saitohJunior High, 8th gradeA, March 2004

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Late nineteenth to early twentieth century India, was directly controlled by Great Britain, and therefore, in name, it was a colony of the British Empire and not a nation of its own. However, India could be described as a nation, as the result of India's ability to be self-governing and self-sufficient and the Indian peoples' desire for self-government, as well as various aspects of Indian culture, such as religion, language, customs, and traditions, which are all unique to India and clearly separates India from Great Britain and the other colonies of the British Empire.

India's unique culture and over four thousand years of history are some of the main aspects which separate India from the rest of the British empire. From as early as the Indus Valley civilization, to the Mughal empire in the period right before the British Empire annexed India, Indian culture has been developed and refined.

By the time the British had settled in India, India had already long ago became a complex civilization with deeply rooted traditions, and customs, which had been in place for thousands of years. Such customs include the Indian Caste system, which "...has been in use for many years. Still today the values of the caste system are held strongly to keep a sense of order and peace among the people...." (Indian caste system packet). A few of the many other customs include the method of greeting guests from different classes, the way of decorating one's home, ceremonies such as the capture of Lanka, the separate forms of attire worn by Muslims and Hindus, men and women, and the ritual sacrifice of widows on the funeral pile of their husband. A civilization with such a well defined culture and so many deeply rooted traditions, could not be merely a colony...