When India took its independence, the socioeconomic scenario of the world had already been changed. Britain did not have the resources left to keep control of India any more, Britain was in need of a cooperative government. India could have had movements or even fight to realize their rights. They could have formed parties that could participate in British national elections. Indian people could have moved to have recognition as a federal state and seats in the British parliament. It was an opportunity for India to start to dominate the British from within. The result of these efforts may not be obvious readily but they could have tried.

Just think of Indian people traveling with a British passport, fighting in Iraq-Afghanistan under British flag, etc. That would have been cool.

What options India had other than getting its independence from Britain?

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    2/3rds of India being above the poverty line still leaves India with more non povery-stricken citizens than the entire population of the USA. That seems to me like more than enough to compete with.
    – T.E.D.
    Aug 21 '12 at 14:02
  • Why the down-vote?
    – Russell
    Aug 21 '12 at 23:25
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    @Russell - It wasn't me, but I can imagine that some of our Indian readers probably don't much appreciate being "LOLZ"ed at. I find it somewhat distasteful, and I live on the other side of the globe.
    – T.E.D.
    Aug 22 '12 at 17:46
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    -1 for condescending tone. It can be a good question if you make it more neutral.
    – nic
    Aug 23 '12 at 6:50
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    This question does not deserve to be down voted or closed because it offends people. It is true that some people may find it offensive but that is not the point of history. People must be free to ask questions and as good scholars we must try to put our points peacefully and rationally. However, I believe this question is more of a "what-if" question than a real history question.
    – Apoorv
    Aug 25 '12 at 13:54

Honestly, even if the Indians had trusted the British, the British themselves would have refused this. Many countries had tried to convert their colonies into integral provinces (such as French Algeria), but could not retain them. Moreover, India's leaders had by 1929 publicly asked for complete independence. The British Indian Army itself was unwilling to remain a colonial army any longer (see Royal Indian Navy Mutiny). The Indians never felt that they had much to gain from such an arrangement. All these ensured that there would not remain any political ties between India and Britain.


First of all, Hong Kong is now China (from 1997), based off your question, I wasn't sure if you knew.

India and Hong Kong were very different stories. India was most definitely hurt by Great Britain. For example, Great Britain had a total monopoly on Indian salt. That meant that the Indians produced salt, and then, the British took it and sold it back to the Indians for exorbitant prices. Another example, the British bought Indian cotton and brought it back to Manchester for manufacturing, then they exported the cloths to India which sold for exorbitant prices. If India had control of these markets for them selves, they would have been much richer, so, they left, because British rule hurt them. (The British justified this by saying they were enforcing "free trade")

Hong Kong on the other hand, was not a colony that really produced much, (at first) rather it was used as a base to import, among a few other items, Opium, for Chinese tea and silk. Hong Kong didn't suffer from this British style free trade, but rather it benefited all the jobs the trading created. More importantly than this, When the British Empire was finally weakening, the Communist party was taking power in China. Hong Kong, used to the British freedom, rathered foreign rule than Communist rule, so they stayed loyal. When the Hand Over happened, most of the Hong Kong population actually left Hong Kong because they were still afraid of China.

It really was necessary for India to gain independence, because British rule was sucking India dry.


IN THEORY, if you assumed that India had very skilled political leaders, they might have pushed for "one man one vote" within the British Commonwealth, and taken over "Britain" in a "reverse takeover" by the sheer weight of numbers.

In practice, it's very hard for two culturally different and widely separated populations to be administered on an equitable basis. the best example is East and West "Pakistan," or Bangladesh, where the one "needed" (and obtained) independence from the other. The difference in cultures and distances are a fraction of those between Britain and India.