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Living in the British empire - India
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Extract from a government report describing the situation on the North West Frontier of India in 1895
(Catalogue ref: CAB 37/39/30)
  • This extract comes from a very large document sent to the British Cabinet in 1895. It was written by HC Fanshawe, the head of the British government in the Punjab region of India.
  • Punjab was a relatively stable part of British controlled India. Before the British arrived there were many warring tribes there. By the late 1800s most tribes in the Punjab had accepted British rule and enjoyed the stability it brought.
  • However, beyond the Punjab the situation was much less stable. This area was known as the North West frontier and was on the border between British India and Afghanistan. The British decided that it would be too difficult to try to take control of this area.
  • This report explains why Mr Fanshawe believes that it would not be a good idea to try to extend British control further in this region.
  • The source is a good example of how British rule worked. The British did not like having to rule areas where they needed large numbers of troops to control the people. This was very expensive. If possible, the British always tried to compromise and reach agreements with local people they ruled. They saw this as much more efficient.
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