John Strachey (civil servant)
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Sir John Strachey GCSI CIE DCL (5 June 1823 – 19 December 1907) was an English civil servant in British India.
India Its Administration And Progress
- John Strachey India Its Administration And Progress
- This is the first and most essential thing to learn about India — that there is not, and never was an India, or even any country of India, possessing, according to European ideas, any sort of unity, physical, political, social, or religious ; no Indian nation, no “ people of India,” of which we hear so much.
Until we rightly appreciate the significance of such facts we shall, among other things, never understand how our Indian Empire has come into existence, and how this vast dominion is maintained by a handful of Englishmen. There was never, as Professor Seeley has said, any conquest of India by the English, according to the ordinary sense of the word “ conquest.” The conquest was rather, to borrow his expression, “ in the nature of an internal revolution,” directed by English- men, but carried out for the most part through the Natives of India themselves. No superiority of the Englishman would have enabled England to conquer by her own military power the continent of India with its 300 millions of people, nor could she hold it in sub- jection if it had been occupied by distinct nations. In the words of Professor Seeley, “ the fundamental fact is that India had no jealousy of the foreigner, because there was no India, and therefore, properly speaking, no foreigner.”
It is a consequence of all this, that in every great Indian province the political sympathies of large sections of the population towards men who, geographically speaking, are their own countrymen, are often as imperfect as they are towards their English masters. We have never destroyed in India a national government, no national sentiment has been wounded, no national pride has been humiliated; and this not through any design or merit of our own, but because no Indian nationalities have existed. They no more exist in the so-called Native States than in our own territories, and the most important of those States are ruled by princes who are almost as much foreigners to their subjects as we are ourselves.