indian economic history – IV

Taking forward from where i left last time. in this piece i will try to trace out the various influences starting from mid 18th century to late 19th century.

Indian scenario:

  1. Standardisation of currency, weights and measures in 1835.
  2. increased commercialisation.
  3. Integration with the world market.
  4. Railways, canals and improved roads.
  5. Increase in cultivable land.
  6. Production of cash crops increased.

British influence

  1. Improved infrastructure.
  2. Rule of law.
  3. Property rights.
  4. Import of cheap machine made textiles to India.
  5. Export of food grains to Europe and England.
  6. Introduction of steam powered Iron boats.


  1. Opening of Suez canal(1869)
  2. American civil war.
  3. World war and napoleanic wars.

analysis: It is not easy to analyse with just a few of these influences. But on the whole the class structures changed a lot. previous class that were powerful were displaced. the supply of credit increased. but the level of small farmers were as bad or worse than ever before.they were still on substistance living.this meant that any little change in monsoon or variation in production of food grains created a devastating inpact on their lives. their disposable income was the same(as good as null and void).the technology used in agriculture was still primitive.but the british did one big favour by bringing in standardisation to the whole of the country, improved infrastructure. the rule of the east india company meant that there was surety that the rule will continue for a long time. they repaired canals and roads increasing in the amount of cultivable land.

all this makes me say just onething that being under the yoke of british was in sense a vaccination that we indians needed for unification and waking us out of the slunber that we were in for a millenium. without them probably we wouldnt have been where we are right now. all said and done the saying that british took away our wealth whether right or wrong i dont care,but what they left behind is incalculable. they took over a fractured idea and gave back a big ironic.


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