What would have been the fate of India if it was still a dominion of the UK in the 21st century?

Let's try to weigh the pros and cons if British would still be ruling India.

When Scotland got bankrupt in 2008 , UK financially assisted it and got it out of its financial condition. Similarly, India would have got this benefit if it stayed under the British rule.

The British turned India into a modern country, gave it railways , telegraphs , roads on hills, the English language, irrigation facilities, etc. It turned the Indians into patriotic people. The British improved the law and order situation to a great extent, banned the practices of sati, legalised widow remarriage and improved the social life of the Indians. So if the British rule continued, at least the social life of the people would be good.

In their reign, the British followed the policy of divide and rule. But under the British rule, Pakistan would never have formed. With its absence would have gone away many problems like terrorism and Kashmir.

The scenario of the world today is such that England could never have completely ruled India as it did previously. Most probably India would be part of the United Kingdom. This would meansomething closer and similar to dominion status, and almost complete autonomy for India in all subjects , except perhaps defence. Then the Indians would also not lose their national identity and peacefully accept the British rule. On the other hand , unlikely as it seems, if the British ruled India with complete autonomy, it would do India more harm than good. The wealth of India would be drained to england , the condition if the farmers would be much worse than it is today, and the local crafts and factories would be nearly extinct.

I feel that it the British ruled India with complete autonomy, it would be horrible. But if allowed a limited rule over India, it would benefit both India and England.


Taking your question word by word : The British leaving India in 1947 and then coming back again.
Here are my pointers (assuming that the British "conquered" us between 1950-1990, I've skipped three years taking into consideration that we tried to hold the country somehow)

1. It would be mixed reaction but mostly banking to the idea of independence ( the reason being most of the freedom fighters were still alive during that era)

2. The independence movements in Khalistan, modern day Punjab and Dravida Nadu. modern day Tamil Nadu would have gained serious momentum (The reason being, the country is in turmoil).

3. China would try to wrest control of Arunachal Pradesh ( possibly other north eastern states), Sikkim and Ladakh region.

4. Pakistan would have incited violence in the Kashmir valley to gain foothold in the valley and then subjugate it.

5. The colonies of the French and Dutch would be stable considering that they weren't affected much during the struggle for independence.

Though the various points mentioned will alter in accordance to when the British capture India again but it would be a huge burden on the British crown to develop India to 21st century standards.

If India were still under British rule, it would no longer be a colony but rather a British Overseas Territory. That would be because of the UN's pressure to end colonialism completely which happened during the 60's. Lands like Bermuda, Anguilla and Tristan da Cunha were part of the erstwhile British empire, while there were no freedom struggles from those lands. UK later declared them to be overseas territories.

If India were a British Overseas territory, and Indians were British Overseas Citizens, we would be treated at par with British citizens because we are no longer a colony .We would still enjoy the same freedom in our daily lives as we do as an independent nation. No longer would we be the subject race or the Brits be the ruling race. The only difference to common citizens would be that we would have the Queen as our head of state rather than our own president. We would be singing ‘God save the Queen' rather than ‘Jana Gana Mana'.


Here you go:

  1. The French started leaving AFrica at around the same time, most of it a decade later. Head about its horror remnants here: Bleeding Africa: A Half Century of the Françafrique
  2. Ram Narayan's answer to Some British say that they have been shocked to see still many Indians blame them for their underdevelopment. What's your view?
  3. Ram Narayan's answer to Why isn't the Indian holocaust mentioned in the books in India and Pakistan?

India would have been just another colony plagued by poverty, hunger and sorrow.

It would have been a terrible place to live in...

  • India wouldn't have her midnight tryst with destiny.
  • Famines would outspread every few years.
  • The Indian tricolor would have been... well, not a tricolor.
  • Most of us would have been impoverished farmers.
  • MK Gandhi wouldn't smile at you through our bank notes.
  • You would have missed the hype over elections.
  • The Republic Day Parade.
  • The Red Fort address on 15th of August.
  • Jana Gana Mana would have got banned, if they ever got Tagore's motive behind it !
  • Buddha wouldn't smile on May 18th 1974.
  • You wouldn't be proud of our armed forces.
  • No Jalebi, no Samosa, only fish & chips.
  • No Amul, or their witty ads.
  • No Maruti 800 or Alto for that matter.
  • No Bajaj scooters.
  • Our Cricket team wouldn't have been formidable.
  • There would be heated debates on water vs toilet paper.
  • Tea would have been an expensive affair.
  • We wouldn't have discovered water on the Moon.
  • Or successfully orbit Mars.
  • This answer wouldn't exist because the question would have never crossed anyone's mind.
  • Perhaps thousands of lives would have been saved...

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But perhaps the British leaving spared even more lives...

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Question: What would have happened if India remained under British rule?

Britain would have by themselves extricated out of India. Managing India after WW II became hugely difficult for Briain. There were some parties, like the Dravidar Kazhagam of the then Madras state (mostly present Tamil Nadu) who were requesting Britain to continue to rule India when independence of India was seriously debated. The request from DK was, even if British decided to leave India, at least they could continue to rule Madras state. Britain effectively replied (not verbally), ‘Thanks, no thanks'. So if they did not leave in 1947, there is a good chance they might have left in 60s or so.

If by some strange imagination, Britain had continued to rule India after 1947, India would have been one of the biggest hell holes of the world due to various reasons.


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