been less sharply marked, as there was a White Town and a Black Town,
intersected by a Grey Town or an intermediate zone, dominated by the
Eurasians (descendants of mixed marriages), but accessible to the natives as
The position of the Eurasians declined continuously in the imperial pecking
order since 1791, when they were debarred from covenanted civil and higher-
grade military or marine services. The racial division of colonial society was
now complete. By the early nineteenth century, the “social distance” between
Indians and British became an easily noticeable reality in Calcutta’s urban
During the first half of the nineteenth century, there was, along with racial
arrogance, still a liberal optimism, as expressed in Lord Macaulay’s ambition
to transform the Indian into a brown sahib, i.e. European in taste and
intellect, though Indian in blood and colour. It was this very optimism that
was broken by the rude shock of 1857.
The Imperial Darbar of 1877, which resolved the ambiguity of sovereignty by
proclaiming Queen Victoria the Empress of India, manifested in
unmistakable terms, the British supremacy over India. It established a new
social order where all Indians, from people to princes, were situated in a
hierarchy, and the viceroy became the central locus of power.
The Ilbert bill controversy in 1883, signified the ultimate victory of the
authoritarian trends and racial arrogance of the colonisers. It was this
authoritarian imperial order that Indian nationalism had to tackle in the early
Nature of State and Government of India under British
The nature of the state was that of a colony or dependency in the British
Empire. The British Parliament possessed unrestricted power of legislation,
though this legal sovereignty of the British Parliament over India was not
expressly declared anywhere until 1858. The Act of 1858, however,
facilitated the assumption of direct administration of India by the Crown.
Home Government Absolute necessity of having an India Office in the
Whitehall gave rise to what came to be known as the ‘Home Government’.
The Company’s initial claims to its territories in India as private property and