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Colonial Legacy

Uttar Pradesh played a crucial role in the establishment and expansion of British rule in India. The British East India Company came into contact with the Oudh rulers during the reign of third Nawab of Oudh. There is no doubt that the history of Uttar Pradesh has run concurrently with the history of the country during and after the British rule. Uttar Pradesh also played a key role in the Revolt of 1857.

It is also the seat of the erstwhile great empire of the Mughal rulers.

Architecture :
The British added several signature structures to the skyline of Uttar Pradesh. At that time Uttar Pradesh was introduced to the imperialistic leanings of colonial architecture and led to a combination of the Indo-Islamic genre with the traditional European Neo-Classical and Gothic style— recognized today as the imperialistic Indo-Sarcenic architecture. The geometrical designs of these buildings, as well as many of the buildings in Lucknow and other places in Uttar Pradesh, clearly reflect a beautiful combination of eastern and western architectural styles. The buildings of this time saw the presence of the old usual domes and towers with a modern colonial touch to them.

Colonial influences can be seen in buildings such as churches, educational institutions, residential quarters, palaces and administrative buildings.

Some prominent structures in Allahabad, the erstwhile capital of the United Provinces, are the University of Allahabad earlier known as Meurs College and the Allahabad High Court. The All Saints Cathedral is perhaps the finest Anglican cathedral in Asia. A fine specimen of 13th century Gothic architectural moorings it was designed by Sir William Emerson.

The Mayo Memorial Hall in Allahabad was built in 1879 by R. Roskell Bayne. Depicting the colonial architecture of the 19th and 20th centuries, the hall is situated near Thornhill and Mayne Memorial Library. The hall has a tower 180 feet high and the interiors were designed by Professor Gamble of the South Kensington Museum from London. Built in memory of the assassinated viceroy Mayo, the hall used to hold public meetings, receptions and balls.

The present buildings of the Sanskrit College in Varanasi were built in Gothic style. In 1916, the Viceroy of India, Lord Harding the Viceroy of India initiated the building of the beautiful Banaras Hindu University, one of Asia’s finest.

In Lucknow the Raj Bhawan used to be Kothi Hayat Baksh designed by Major General Claude Martin as his residence. Before India's independence Kothi Hayat Baksh was declared as a Government House, the official residence of the Governor of United Provinces of Agra and Oudh. After independence its name was changed to Raj Bhawan.

The construction of Vidhan Bhawan, housing the two Legislatures and also known as Council House, was started in 1922 by Sir Harcourt Butler. It was specially made of stone brought from Mirzapur and took six years to complete.

The building which is now referred to as Lucknow GPO, was once a Ring Theatre, used by British families for recreational purposes. It was used as a platform for screening of English films and English dramas were also played here.

Other buildings in Lucknow showing colonial architecture are La Martiniere School, The Residency, Dilkusha Palace, Lalbagh Methodist Church and other

Churches :
The Begum Samru Church in Sardhana, Meerut, is the Basilica of Our Lady of Graces. It is a Roman Catholic Church and a fine example of European architectural style.

Railway :
Though for their own use and exploitation of India’s resources British laid a dense railway network and expanded to the remotest areas of Uttar Pradesh as they were inclined to suck India to the bones. Now Govt. of UP has restored and renewed many of its networks.

Agriculture :
The worst legacy UP has of its colonial inheritance is its fragmentation of landholdings. The selling and reselling of tenants and many land management systems have led to the exploitation of peasants and increase of landless labourers. Now the government is struggling hard to consolidate landholdings and uplift peasantry but the exploitation of 200 years has posed a great problem and still a languishing economy even after nearly 70 years of Independence of nation from British Rule as agriculture is the backbone of country that has been exploited extremely and political corruption have led to further failure of reforms. The result is Uttar Pradesh has a poor crop production in spite of large agricultural areas.

Culture :
Colonial rule have completely destroyed the self-sustenant villages and self-dependent village economy. Many things have crept into the Indian society especially obsession for white skin which was instilled by British due to superiority complex of their own complexions. The cultural and ceremonial extravaganza, elaborate parties are all credited to have been initiated by British in Simplistic Indian society.

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Uttar Pradesh At a Glance
  • Population:3,676,841
  • Area :1,535 sq.kms
  • Geo Location:North
  • Average Climate:5°C - 20°C
  • Best time to visit:October - March
  • STD Code:0542

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