If India was never colonized by Europeans, would it still be India with so many states and cultures combined? Or would it be lot of small countries?
The Mughal emperors deny the European East India companies the right to trade in India as they are worried about getting colonized like nearby African and Asian nations, they sign a defense treaty with the ottomans which scare the Europeans off
After the death of emperor Aurangzeb Infighting breaks out and India is now ruled by the Marathas, the nizams of Hyderabad and Bengal, and the Sikh empire.
The military leaders and generals of these kingdoms fight each other for decades without the outside world knowing much due to isolation and finally, the Marathas seize power in Delhi, They sign peace treaties with the Sikhs and the nizams. India goes back to being a prosperous nation in the late 18th century with a centralized government in place and now consolidates its power in Asia by building a very large navy and an even larger army.
Now we go to the 19th century
Indian princes studying in England, Prussia, France, etc see the industrial revolution and wants to rapidly industrialize India and bring the factories and trains to India. They return to India and convinces the Peshwa to start trading with the Europeans, Large factories both Indian and European are set up and India starts mass exporting Cloth, cotton, and tea to Europe, this gives India immense wealth through which it builds an even larger army and navy and start signing military treaties with European countries, This cements its position in not getting invaded by European powers ever.
During this time in Europe WW1 breaks out, unlike previous european wars this one has global consequences and as the ottomans join the war, the Chhatrapati fears a repeat of the previous Afghan and Mongol invasions, as a result, he signs a treaty to join the allies, With the help of the British and Japanese armed forces India successfully defeats the ottomans and as the allies win the War India is given control over parts of the ottoman empire in the gulf.
Here the Marathas discover Oil, with the discovery of machines and cars oil will be an extremely important resource, By selling oil to the western world India significantly improves its economy and living conditions. It's now one of the most prosperous nations in Asia along with Japan but the Chatrappati wants India to compete with the western world for which it would need colonies and an even bigger armed force, The Imperial air force is created and the Maratha navy starts building aircraft carriers and submarined a relatively new technology at the time .
Soon WW2 breaks out and unlike the previous time, this time The Chhatrapati at the advice of his military senapatis and peshwas joins the axs. India starts realizing its colonial aspirations and its desire to be powerful like the European powers and starts drawing out ambitious plans of the invasion of the rest of the gulf and Egypt where most of the European “ mandates “ and oil reserves lied. As Britain and France were busy fighting the nazis in Europe The Marathas sweep an easy victory on the Arab and African front. Next, they plan on invading Tib and ichang, A two-front invasion from India and japan leads to an easy axs victory but in this war, the generals have committed grave war crimes that the emperor isn't aware of. They successfully manage to persuade the emperor into joining operation Barbarossa and invade the soviet union from the south, The soviets who are hell-bent on defending Moscow cedes its natural gas-filled regions to India.
The Maratha war machine seems unstoppable when the Japanese bomb pearl harbor, this leads to the Americans officially joining the war. Now India must defend its vast and thinly spread empire from three great powers, As Britain, America and Russia start a joint invasion on the middle eastern front. The Maratha empire is reduced to its capital in Pune, After intense naval and aerial combat the Marathas surrender. The Peshwa and his generals are tried for war crimes the emperor’s power is greatly reduced. A new constitution is drafted. A parliament is established and with the help of American money, the Indian economy quickly recovers from the war and turns itself into a global leader in manufacturing, technology, science, and finance. Most of the worlds’ technical innovations take place in India and Mumbai is the biggest financial center in Asia. During this time India as a firm US ally sends its soldiers to Vietnam to fight during the cold war, Hundreds of thousands of young Indian soldiers are sent to die and the public starts protesting, as a result in just 3 years India withdraws its troops.
During the end of the cold war with the help of Indian and American intelligence officers, Najib is replaced with a de ocratic president who returns Afghanistan to normalcy. The berlin wall falls down and the soviet union collapses after a few years. India is able to handle the crisis and establishes a new world order along with the US and its allies.
To answer this as an example let us see history of Tamilnadu . Up to 13th century Tamilnadu was ruled by 3 kings (Chera,Chola,Pandya) later when under Vijayanagara empire , there were regions ruled by nayak chieftains for 500–600 years
We are saying that mugals ruled major portion. But in real they had control of those regions and administration was done by local kings. In the case of British they ruled and they administrated the land of India which was colonized.
As told by one answer it is hard to predict alternate history .
It is very hard to predict alternate history. But by the time the British invaded India, Mughal’s were already waning down. I guess north/ north west would have consolidated into one country.
South would have grouped as well to resist advances from north.
North East/ East would be tricky to predict, but I gueas at some point China would have marched into present day Arunachal and taken most of the north eastern states. That would have given a completely different dimension during world war 2 and the whole world history might have been very different.
If India was not colonized then probably North India including Pakistan and Bangladesh would have been a separate country and places south of Vindhyas would have been more than 5 countries. North eastern states would have been more number of countries if they were not occupied by North Indian or Chinese or Burmese.
North Indian regions were mostly under same kingdom and territories under the mughals would have easily formed as a separate country. In the case of south India, they were never under unified Government as in north India. During the 18th century, there were few large kingdoms and many small kingdoms. These kingdoms would have been unified later based on common identity of language. Bismark unified Germany which was then split in to various states based on the common identity of Germans. Such a phenomenon would have occurred in various states of south India and each of the present state would have been a separate country after long border wars between them. They would have not merged with North since the concept of India as a single political country would have not arisen had there been no European who brought all the regions under single administration.
All we can do is speculate.
Let’s see India before the British: after the death of Aurangzeb, the Mughal state started its long decline. India experimented a fragmentation period with smaller polities appearing here and there. Out of the carcass of the Mughal, appeared the Maratha Confederacy.
The Maratha state was pretty sophisticated, with a Peshwa supported by the Ashtapradhan in charge of a professional administration. Without the British, the Bengal and Madras Presidencies do not exst: instead, there are the Nawabs of Bengal and the Nizam’s Dominions to the south.
The question is: could one of these polities united all India under its power? If so, which one?
The most obvious candidate is, of course, the Maratha Confederacy. However, I think that by the early X century, the Confederacy had reached its limits: there were clear signs of internal dissention and political upheaval that in our timeline the British used in their policy of divide and prevail.
Without an external power interfering, could the Confederacy eventually estabilize? I think so, but also think that the map of India in an alternate present would not be that different from that map of 1760.