Harshil Mehta, Electrical Engineer, Columnist
Answered 11 months ago

Let me burst the myth of empire apologists that Britishers gifted India democracy. Democracy was not foreign word for India. India would have amazing democracy even though Britishers wouldn’t have invaded us.

Democracy in Ancient India:-

Gaṇa sangha were existing in the Ancient India in 600 BC to 400 AD which were loosely translated as Republic. Obviously, it was not form of modern democracy but in the form of oligarchy.

Thus, the terms like republic and democracy were not foreign for the Indians.

  • Democracy can be seen in the Vajji mahajanapada which was ruled by the Licchavis. The Licchavis had a primary governing body of 7,077 rajas, the heads of the most important families.
  • While the Shakyas, Koliyas, Mallas, and Licchavis, during the period around Gautama Buddha, had the assembly open to all men, rich and poor. Read:- History of Democracy
  • Magadha kingdom also included republican communities such as the community of Rajakumara. Each villages had their own assemblies under their local heads called Gramakas.

Vajji or Vrji mahajanapada among 16 mahajanapadas in India at 500 BCE. (Pic:-Wikipedia)

When Britishers invaded India…

Marathas were on the rise at the time when Britishers invaded India and in fact, Marathas were started to covering the most of the region of the present India.

The Mughals were getting weaker on the each day. And it would be not overrated, if I say Britishers snatched India from the Maratha Empire. (Ref 1, Ref 2)

(Pic:- Cultural India)

If Britishers hadn’t invaded India…

Then there will be more stronger Maratha Empire and their monarchy in the India as they weren’t facing any strong resistance other than British and Nizam.

  • This would have probably invited to form the constitutional democracy from absolute monarchy in India just like it happened in the England in late 17th century through Glorious Revolution when the power to House of Commons were increased.
  • Asian countries like Japan and Thailand were not colonised by British and still they would transformed themselves into the democracy by 20th century.
  • India would have gone through the revolutions and military campaigns in journey of democracy but it was absolutely less horrible than being colonised in which people were killed, converted, looted and exploited.
  • If India can be a democracy due to British Empire then aren’t Army takeovers of government in Pakistan and Bangladesh are also due to influence of British Empire?

To summarise,

  • Democracy and Republics were existed in India before Christ. Neither empire nor company brought them to India and gifted to us. Their goals were different.
  • Although possibility of war can’t be avoided but India would have democracy like other non-colonised countries have democracy.
  • The role and inclusive policies of leaders like Mahatma Gandhi can’t be ignored who included people like Dr. Ambedkar, Shyama Prasad Mukherjee etc. in first government despite of ideological differences.

  • About the Author:
    Harshil Mehta
    Electrical Engineer, Columnist