The Legacy of India

The Legacy of India

The Legacy of India

The Legacy of India

Excerpt

The legacy of India; how rich a heritage, drawing contributions, as it does, from diverse races and from many epochs both preceding and following the great Aryan incursion from the lands lying beyond the snow-capped ranges of the Hindu Kush. From the prehistoric civilization of the Indus valley, brought to light by excavations at Harappa and Mohenjodāro, to British India in the twentieth century is a span in all probability of from five to six thousand years. During all these centuries the peoples of India have lived their lives and evolved their civilization in comparative isolation; for if we except the invasion of Alexander of Macedon and of the Bactrian Greeks who followed him during the second century B.C. it is only during a comparatively brief period, and that the most recent of this immense arc of time, that European influences have made themselves seriously felt in the sub-continent. Yet so momentous are the consequences of the impact of Great Britain upon India during the past one hundred and fifty years that it comes as something of a shock to discover from the concluding chapter of this volume how little has been added during that time to the legacy of India in the sense in which that word is here employed. In the sphere of administration, of jurisprudence, of engineering achievement, and of political science it would be difficult to exaggerate the consequences of the contact of the two peoples, yet throughout the pages which he devotes to Indo-British civilization Mr. Garratt is chiefly at pains to show that no such thing exists, in the shape, that is to say, of what he refers to as 'some new form of civilization' derived from 'the close contact between India and England'.

Nevertheless it would be a mistake to dismiss as wholly irrelevant to the subject-matter of this volume the influence exerted upon the culture of India by the advent of the British.

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