The Story of India

Team 6: British Attitudes Towards India

(British Raj, 19th Century)


  • Discuss the British perception of India and Britain�s role in the subcontinent
  • Examine the methods used by the British to establish and then maintain control of India.


To the British, India served as the jewel of the British Empire. The coffers of Britain overflowed with wealth extracted from the subcontinent. The initial acquisition of India under the British East India Company and the ongoing domination under the British Raj of a population many times the size of the occupying force proved to be a remarkable feat. Beyond the economic justification, the British believed the Indians constituted one of the many inferior races around the world and that a strong European influence would enlighten the people of India.

This attitude was clearly expressed in Rudyard Kipling's poem, "The White Man's Burden." Kipling spent his childhood in India and shared the British perception of the Englishman's place in the world. After the poem was published in Harper's Magazine in 1898, a flurry of responses were penned throughout the globe attacking the attitude and motives of the British.

Main Task

Write a reaction to Rudyard Kipling's "The White Man's Burden" from the Indian perspective that reflects the Indian perception of the British East India Company, the Great Rebellion of 1867, or the British methods of domination.

Brief Process

  1. Review the documents and video clips related to the British in India.
  2. Read Kipling's "The White Man's Burden" and analyze it, closely looking at the western perception of non-white cultures. Review some of the reactions to the poem written at the time.
  3. Write a reaction poem that draws upon the events described in the resources from step one.


The Public URL for this WebQuest:
WebQuest Hits: 8,048
Save WebQuest as PDF

Ready to go?

Select "Logout" below if you are ready
to end your current session.