persisted as could be seen in the Queen’s Proclamation of 1858, in the
patronage for education, in the Indian Councils Act of 1861 and in the Local
Self-government Act of 1882. But on the other hand, reverence for Indian
culture was certainly outdone by a celebration of the superiority of the
conquering race.
Now, the British not only emphasised India’s difference, but also asserted
India’s inferiority. Such ideas in the nineteenth century were further
reinforced by the rise of racial sciences in Victorian England, which favoured
physical features over languages as the chief indicators of racial identity.
This racial anthropology could not accommodate the idea of an ancient
Indian civilization into its theory of dichotomy between the civilized white-
skinned Europeans and the dark-skinned savages. Hence, the theory of
invading white Aryans founding the Vedic civilization through a
confrontation with the dark-skinned Indian aborigines was invented.
In other words, this new Orientalist construction finally produced the basic
picture of a backward caste-ridden Indian society; it was this kind of Indian
condition which rationalised authoritarian colonial rule.
All talk about India’s eligibility for self-rule were dismissed as sentimental,
and racial distancing as well as confirmation of privileges for the rulers
overcame the earlier ideas of similarity and assimilation. If reforms were still
undertaken, they were mainly because of the articulate political demands of
the nationalist Indians.
Theory and Practice of Racialism Statements of racial superiority of the
English were not for the first time being made in the mid-nineteenth century.
Such statements were made quite bluntly since the late eighteenth century,
when Cornwallis transformed the Company’s bureaucracy into an “aloof
elite”, maintaining physical separation from the Indians. Moreover, the
Company’s civil servants were discouraged from having Indian mistresses
and urged to have British wives and thus, preserve the English exclusiveness.
Any action undermining that exclusiveness, according to Henry Dundas, the
first president of the Board of Control, would surely “ruin our Indian
Such explicit statements of physical segregation between the ruler and the
ruled as an ideology of empire were quite evident in the manner in which the
human environment of the imperial        capital city of Calcutta developed in the