India Under Colonial Rule Ncert Class 8th


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  • In the late 18th century, Calcutta, Bombay and Madras became the centres of British power in the different regions of India and called Presidency cities.
  • De-urbanisation happened where earlier centres of regional power collapsed as local rulers were defeated by British and administration centres emerged. E.g. Machilipatnam, Surat and Seringapatam.
  • By the early 20th century, very little around 11 per cent people used to live in cities.
  • Many cities were made capital and many of them were within Delhi around the riverbank of Yamuna.
  • The most splendid capital was built by Shah Jahan called as Shahjahanabad in 1639, it consisted of a Red fort palace made of red sandstone and a walled city with 14 gates.
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The old city of Shahjahanabad
  • Jama masjid was among the largest and grandest mosques in India, there was no place higher than this mosque within the city.
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Jama Masjid
  • During the time of Shah Jahan, Sufi culture was also an important part of the city. It had several dargahs, khanqahs and idgahs. Water channels were, winding lanes were the pride of Delhi.


  • In 1803, the British gained control of Delhi after defeating the Marathas. The capital of British India was Calcutta, the Mughal emperor was allowed to continue living in the Red Fort complex.
  • The modern city of Delhi started developing only after 1911 when it became the capital of British India.
  • Before 1857, developments in Delhi was different from other cities as in Delhi the British were living along with the wealthy Indians, and they enjoyed Urdu/Persian culture and the local fest.
  • While in Madras, Bombay and Calcutta the living spaces were sharply separated, Indian lived in the black areas and British in the well developed white areas.
  • Delhi college established in 1792 and this led to great growth in the sciences as well humanities majorly in the Urdu language.
  • The period from 1830- 1857 was called the period of renaissance and the establishment of Delhi college, this was later converted to school and shut down in 1877 by British.
  • After the revolt of 1857 things changed and British wanted Delhi to forget its Mughal part after they regain it.
  • The gardens, pavilions and mosques were demolished or put into other uses for security reasons. Eg Zinat-al-Masjid converted into a bakery and Jama Masjid was closed for 5 years.
  • Later the western walls of Shahjahanabad were also broken to build the railways and expand the city, British started living in Civil lines in the north away from the walled city.
  • The British were aware of the symbolic importance of Delhi and hence in 1877, Viceroy organised a Durbar to acknowledge Queen Victoria as the empress of India.
  • This was done in Delhi instead Calcutta being the then capital in order to establish their power and might in the previously ruled city by Mughals.
  • In 1911, under King George V a Durbar was held in Delhi where the decision to shift the capital of India from Calcutta to Delhi was announced.
  • New Delhi was constructed as a 10- square-mile city on Raisina Hill. Edward Lutyens and Herbert Baker were called on to design its buildings and the city.
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Sir Edward Lutyens
  • The government complex consisted of a two-mile Avenue, Kingsway, that led to the Viceroy’s Palace, with the Secretariat buildings on either side.
  • The features of these buildings were borrowed from different periods but majorly it was from classical Greece.
  • The central dome of the Viceroy’s Palace was copied from the Buddhist stupa at Sanchi, and the red sandstone and carved screens or jalis were borrowed from Mughal architecture.
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Rashtrapati Bhavan
  • The New Delhi was built in contrast to the old city of Shahjahanabad, the roads were broad with big mansions, better health facilities, water and drainage, well ordered and green, unlike old Delhi.
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