Miles Taylor in his book English Maharani records the role of Queen Victoria in moulding the Indian politics and society fundamentally through her influence. Queen Victoria was by far the most involved in the state the Indian subcontinent during her reign. She brought about remarkable changes to the country. A symbiotic relationship developed as the Koh-i-Noor diamond from India became a symbol of the crown and the rule of the queen empress penetrated deep into Indian life and contributed significantly to the country’s modernisation, both political and economic.
In this subtle portrayal of Victoria’s India, Taylor suggests that the Raj was one of her greatest successes. Here we give you some of the instances of the significant work that the Queen did in India:
- During Queen Victoria’s reign, India saw the expansion of its railway network, introducing the country to modernity and a better way of transportation.
- Many of the waterways in India were canalised during the reign of Queen Victoria.
- Queen Victoria revolutionized the method of communication in India with the introduction of telegraphs.
- Queen Victoria successfully established the swift steamship travel propelling the steamship connections between Britain and India when the Suez Canal was opened in 1869.
- Being influential in the Parsi, Jewish and the Brahmin mercantile community, Queen Victoria had many loyal subjects from affluent communities. A Jewish merchant David Sassoon founded the well-known Mechanics Institute and Industrial and Reformatory Institution in Bombay.
- Queen Victoria commissioned the construction of one of the most remarkable building in Bombay, the Victoria Central Terminus. It came to be known as one of the most predominant railway hub of India and a symbol of modernity.
- During 1874, the famine that struck the state of Bihar was dealt in a systematic way. A relief fund was launched with the Queen as the patron. The Queen made a public donation to this fund of 10,000 rupees (around £1,000) and helped in containing the disaster.