The nineteenth century was the era of European imperialism.
Many Europeans believed that they belonged to a superior race and that their religion.
Christianity, was a superior religion compared to which all other religions were barbaric,
particularly a religion like Hinduism which used many idols.
The Europeans felt that it was their duty to covert
non-Christians, sometimes even it required intimidation, force or bribery (we might add
that this mentality and its effects are still in operation in a number of missionary
efforts in India today). They saw non-Christians like children who had to be disciplined
in order to become really civilized (that is, to become like the Europeans).
They saw themselves as belonging to a
superior "white" or Caucasian race. They had enslaved the
Negroid or "black" race. As Hindus were also dark or
"colored", they were similarly deemed inferior.
European thinkers of the era were dominated by a racial theory of man, which was
interpreted primarily in terms of color.
The British thus, not surprisingly,
looked upon the culture of India in a similar way as having been a
land of a lighter-skinned or Aryan race (the North Indians), ruling a
dark or Dravidian race (the South Indians).