Primary Source

Cartoon Mocking British Policy toward India, 1788

Cartoon of a giant man wearing a kilt and a turban straddling two land masses separated by water


This satirical print from 1788 constituted a cartoonist’s effort to make sense of and criticize growing governmental control over territories in South Asia. “Dun Shaw” or Henry Dundas, the British minister and leading member of the Board of Control for India Affairs is shown extending his leviathan-like self across Britain and Bengal. Dundas appears to have overcome the vast distance separating London and Calcutta. The English East India Company is invoked through the representation of Leadenhall Street, where the Company’s headquarters were located. Dundas’s costume reflects a suspicion of powerful Scots in government as well as the perceived despotism of Shahs or rulers in India. Importantly, this print at once documented the remaking of British governance in South Asia as well as contributed to ongoing debate about the right way to govern India. 

This source is part of the Making Empire Global teaching module


Source: Yale Center for British Art

How to Cite This Source

"Cartoon Mocking British Policy toward India, 1788 ," in World History Commons, [accessed February 24, 2024]