One would be tempted to speak at length on the history of the British in India, but that would take up far too much time. I would only allude to a few points. The history of our connection in India begins with our trading ventures, the story of the East India Company. It goes on with the contest with the French for the mastery of the peninsula, the gradual extension of British power, partly by conquest but still more by voluntary cession of authority to the British by those who sought, under our aegis, the peace and security often denied to them during the anarchic period that followed the breakdown of the Mogul Empire.
We can recall how, 90 years ago, the Government of the East India Company came to an end when Parliament assumed responsibility for Indian affairs. During those long years there has been a change in the spirit of British administration. In the earlier days we were concerned mainly with trade providing opportunities for making fortunes. In the eighteenth century, British citizens returning from India had often made fortunes and were known as nabobs. But, as time went on, there was an increasing appreciation of the responsibility which fell to the government of the East India Company, a responsibility for the lives of many millions who sought justice and a quiet life. The British administrator in India became more and more deeply concerned with the well-being of the people of India, the well-being of that great congeries of people divided by race, by caste, language and religion in this sub-continent. [The Prime Minister (Mr. Attlee) while discussing INDIAN INDEPENDENCE BILL- in UK Parliment ]