How the British Maintained Power in Undivided India

Taj Mahal, Agra, India.

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1) Patronage: the British center would become the patron of local elites by granting them economic (land titles) and political (making them nawabs, appointment to councils) influence, in exchange for their loyalty and commitment.

2) The Brits restricted the executive control of the administration & legislature, in the hands of different councils (viceroy’s council, etc). Majority of members in these councils were British and only appointed Indians favored by the British, could join them.

3) The British favored a strong central government to exercise maximum British control over the political and economic affairs of the Indians. The provinces were given limited power and Indian political participation was confined to the provinces.

4) Limited franchise meant that voting rights were not available to the entire population. Only those individuals who owned a certain amount of land, or paid a certain level of taxes were allowed to vote.

5) The system on diarchy created two centers of power. The Indians got elected ministers by 1919, but the ministers had to report their decisions to the bureacracy, which had the final say on the matter, and was controlled by the center.