Introduction: British imperialism was more practical than that of other colonial powers. Its motivation was economic, not religious. However, India laid in the cradle of British oppression and suffering. Every development made by the British in India had its own greedy purpose behind it. While the British officials enjoyed power, wealth and authority, the Indians were left poor, illiterate and shattered.
Under the British Raj, many families were left without a roof over their head. Helplessness and sorrow are the overriding emotions depicted through the facial expressions of the woman and her children. The daughter is seen looking at her mother with the hope that she will explain the reason behind their dire circumstances but the mother has no answer and looks away. This clearly shows anguish and misery under the British Raj.
The aged undernourished man wearing bare minimum clothing portrays poverty and minimal living conditions under the British Raj. His selling of goods at such an old age to support his family and his position on the ground further go on to show poverty under the British Raj.
The attire of the British official and the well-furnished house in the background show the lavish lifestyle led by the British. Hands on the waist and a smirk on the face display authority and power. His head is help up high showing attributes of arrogance and supremacy over the Indians.
The working conditions made for the Indians were battered and shabby. The group of people in minimal clothing, show the tedious and laborious work assigned to the Indians for a bare minimum wage. The effort put in by the workers show their need to maintain their job in order to be able to look after their families. The elements of oppression and suppression spring up to show the reality of Indians under the British Raj.
The British officials had a well-kept and designated working place in contrast to the shabby and dilapidated working conditions of the Indians. The presence of Indians as servers and caretakers prove their inferiority to the British. Under the British Raj, the Indians lost their identity and were left as subdued individuals in their own country.
The portrayal of children working along-side men depicts child labor. Lack of educational facilities for the Indian children and poverty in the family led this social evil to creep in. Even today, children in the rural areas work in tea stalls instead of studying in educational institutions.