400 Years: Britain & India

A web series exploring the 400 year old relationship between Great Britain and India

ABOUT

This web series explores the tightly woven and at times tumultuous relationship between Great Britain and India. Through a series of 10 short films, Inspirate (producers of the annual An Indian Summer festival) and ImageNova present a broader portrait of the two countries by focusing on the origins of the relationship, the people who changed the face of the subcontinent, and the legacy of decisions made over the four hundred years that bring us to the present day.

CREDITS

Produced by ImageNova and Inspirate

Supported by Heritage Lottery Fund through Young Roots and Arts Council England through their Grants for the Arts programme

Featuring Professor Kevin Schürer

TRAILER

2017 marked the 70th anniversary of India’s independence; an inspiring moment to reflect on the profound relationship between Britain, India and the subcontinent’s rich history and culture. For many, it is only the events of the British Raj and Indian independence that define the relationship of the two countries. Both Britain and India were in very different places 400 years ago and the interactions between both countries throughout those four centuries have come to shape our world today in more ways than one would expect.

As part of An Indian Summer 2020, and the newly established South Asian Heritage Month, we revisit these short films and invite you to connect with these era-defining stories. 

EPISODE 1: THE EAST INDIA COMPANY

In this first episode, we look at the official journey from Britain to India – not as the government or crown, but as a trading and profitable company! Where did the relationship between Britain and India begin? We travel back four centuries to meet the East India Company that set off to trade goods and were granted the right to wage war by the crown!

EPISODE 2: ROOTS OF THE EMPIRE, PART 1

In Episode 2, we explore how military leader, Robert Clive and statesman, Warren Hastings increased East India Company dominance in India, leading to the British Raj. How did the East India Company transition from trading to ruling? Diplomacy and bloodshed forged a new India at the helm of army officer Robert Clive, who set the foundations for British Raj.

EPISODE 3: ROOTS OF THE EMPIRE, PART 2

In Episode 3, we explore how, through various important battles, Britain established a stronghold across India. Was it an organised take over? Or did Britain increase their control unintentionally? From the time the British began trading, the British Crown and Indian rulers played an important part in determining how India developed. But how did these relationship develop? The alliances and rebellions throughout the British Raj set the scene for evolving political and diplomatic relationships. Using artefacts from the Royal Collection Trust, we explore the interactions between the two countries.

EPISODE 4: THE INDIAN EDUCATION SYSTEM

In episode 4, our roundtable discuss how the colonisation of India impacted the education system and how language played an important role to this day. Thomas Babington Macaulay, a Leicestershire man sought to reform the education system in India, introducing the ‘western lifestyle’. We explore this controversial transition by speaking to a roundtable of specialists and researchers and question the decision to westernise India.

EPISODE 5: HOW DID INDIANS MIGRATE AROUND THE WORLD?

In episode 5 Parle Patel and Dr Edward Anderson rewind 400 years to chart the history of migrants from India to colonies around the world and Britain. This helps to answer the question, "How did Indians migrate around the world?"After the slave trade was abolished in 1807, the British sent people from India, across the world to work in a myriad of roles. We explore where these migrants settled and brought up families. Once the fear of dark water was overcome, migration changed the lives of millions from the subcontinent. The story follows people leaving India to come to cities like Leicester and how this reflected the story of the rest of the UK throughout the 20th century.

EPISODE 6 - LEARN THE HISTORY OF INDIAN CUISINE BY COOKING A 17TH CENTURY CURRY

In episode 6 of our web series exploring the 400 year relationship between Britain and India, Lizzie Collingham and Shaf Islam teach us how to make a 17th century chicken korma, a dish widely eaten by the Mughal's! Bursting full of aromatic flavours, this unique traditional recipe is one to try out at home.

EPISODE 7 - THE INDIAN REBELLION 1857

In episode 7 of our web series, we chart the history of events that lead to The Indian Rebellion in the 19th Century. Historians discuss Britain's East India Company gaining more military power in India, eventually launching the country into a perpetual state of unrest. 

EPISODE 8 - PARTITION OF THE SUBCONTINENT

In episode 8 of our web series exploring the relationship between Britain and India, our roundtable charts the history of events that lead to the subcontinent.

India and Pakistan are separated by the line on a map. How was this line drawn and what were the implications? Should independence be frowned upon or celebrated? We reveal the accurate historical events behind partition and question: Freedom – but at what cost?

EPISODE 9 - LEARN HOW TO MAKE AN 18TH CENTURY INDIAN CURRY

In episode 9 Lizzie Collingham and Shaf Islam teach us how to make a 18th century curry in a style that became very popular during the Victorian period. Join along at home, using a limited amount of ingredients and spices - will this Victorian curry be as good as your local takeaway?

In this unique episode, we take you on a 400 year culinary journey with professional chefs who cook food as it would have tasted hundreds of years ago! Our chefs use original recipes to understand the history and impact of the spice trade on our palate. From the first curry houses to chutneys, sauces and much more, examining how historic trade has changed modern food culture.

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