These developments created conditions for economic unification of the country.
Printing press was initiated in India during the colonial rule. Aided by the printing press, ideas and opinions could be circulated to a mass audience with very low cost. Its impact was almost revolutionary. Many newspapers and journals started appearing in many Indian languages as well as in English. Many of these newspapers and magazines were nationalist and in their columns the government policies were discussed and criticised, the Indians were asked to protest against such policies, and the ideas of nationalism, democracy and self-government were propagated. Some important nationalist newspapers of the period were the Amrit Bazar Patrika, the Indian Mirror and the Som Prakash in Bengal; the Mahratta, the Kesari, the Native Opinion, the Indu Prakash in Bombay; the Hindu, the Swadesmitran, the Andhra Prakasika and the Kerala Patrika in Madras; the Advocate, the Hindustani and the Azad in U.
P; and the Tribune, and the Kohi-i-Noor in the Punjab. Even those who could not read might come to know about various happenings in the country and abroad by listening to the news read by someone else. Postal and telegraph services might be put in use to send messages across the length and width of the country. The railway could carry the people with much greater speed to various parts of the country. Although these were introduced to facilitate the sending of official messages and for carrying the troops for the rulers and to carry raw materials and goods for the British merchants, they also helped to facilitate better communication among the Indians. The new system of education was evolved with a view to training the Indians to serve as a low-cost source of the clerical and lower administrative posts.
The major objective of this endeavour was, in the words of Thomas Macaulay, to create “a class of persons. Indians in blood and colour, but English in taste, in opinions, in morals and in intellect”. Thus apart from providing a cheap source of clerical labour, these Indians were also supposed to act as the most loyal subjects of the British. But the idea did not work as expected. The system of English education also instilled the ideas of liberty and equality.
It also helped in the rise of national consciousness. In course of their day-to-day interaction with the British, the middle-class Indians felt that they were being subjected to racial discrimination. The English men and women and other Europeans considered the Indians as inferior even when the Indians were better educated and wealthier than themselves. All Indians irrespective of their class, educational background, caste and status were kept out of European clubs and were generally not permitted to travel in the same compartments of the train in which Europeans were travelling. In fact, racism was so deeply rooted in the colonial rule that it was not only at social level that it was practised.
In military, police, in government offices and in judicial matters, everywhere the colour of the skin, and not the merit was the deciding factor. The Indians felt very humiliated by this. The most glaring instance of racism surfaced at the time when the Ilbert Bill was proposed in 1883, when Ripon was the viceroy. According to this Bill, Indian district magistrates and session judges could now try Europeans in criminal cases. Until now the Indian judges could not sit during the trial of the Europeans.
The Europeans in India bitterly and abusively opposed this Bill and forced the viceroy to amend it. This was a big shock even for the most moderate of the Indian leaders.