India, as a modern nation, inherited a number of historical symbols and even parts of its national symbols from the British Raj. The Lutyens era Parliament Building, Supreme Court and Railway Stations in Delhi, Bombay , Kolkata and Mumbai are some reminders of our past association with the British. As power changed hands from the British Raj to the Congress led government these very symbols became those of national pride from those of colonial oppression. People have often argued that the British were responsible for giving to India a number of modern institutions like an independent judiciary, democratic government, a telecommunications network and a modern postal and railways system. They argue that these were the very foundations on which our founding fathers, led by Jawaharlal Nehru embarked upon their five year Industrial Plans to build the ‘Temples of Modern India’. However, in the process of celebration of these institutions, we tend to overlook the purpose and meaning of these institutions in colonial India and their roles in impoverishing the lives of the Indian people. The British Government built these institutions to further its imperialist needs to extract material and human resources for smooth functioning of the empire. It was only, after India’s independence that these institutions were used for the betterment of the Indian citizens. The British government in India, which lasted from 1757, beginning with the Company’s rule, to 1947, reduced India to one of the poorest nations on the planet from one of the richest. India, which accounted for about 25 percent of the world’s GDP, accounted for less than three percent of India’s economy in 1947. The losses to India, in terms of monetary worth are immeasurable and it would be a fruitless endeavour to try to quantify the losses in terms of monetary worth to the Indian subcontinent. The British government is morally bound, to pay a token amount of money as symbolic value to atone for its sins as it would help to build a stronger relationship with India and is justified by the reparations paid by a number of imperial powers to its former colonies after WW2.
Overview of Economic Status of India before the Raj
India’s historians have depicted its pre-British era economy as an era of abundance, and this lured the British into sending voyages into India.During the Mughal Empire toward the finish of the sixteenth century, India’s riches support more than 100 million individuals. With a lot of arable land, its farming was unquestionably as profitable as Western Europe’s, and even the subsistence-situated worker got a not too bad return. India likewise had an extensive, talented workforce that delivered cotton as well as extravagances for the privileged. Subsequently, the economy delivered a vast money related excess, which was utilized to help the developing Mughal Empire and build terrific landmarks like the Taj Mahal.
In 1497, the Portuguese sent Vasco da Gama with a flotilla of four boats to discover India’s riches. Yet, the two-year voyage was not a business achievement and the Indians were not keen on European garments and merchandise for they made far ones in India. Be that as it may, Da Gama disclosed to King Manuel of Portugal of substantial urban areas, huge structures and waterways, and awesome populaces. He talked about flavors and gems, valuable stones and “mines of gold.” He trusted that he had discovered India’s incredible wealth.
It took the English a hundred years to find the riches. At first, they came to loot however soon found the prizes of exchange. They found that India delivered the world’s best cotton yarn and materials and in tremendous quantities. What the Indians needed in return from the Europeans was gold and silver, for which they had a voracious hunger. Thus, there was a consistent stream of gold to India, which assimilated a decent arrangement of the bullion mined by the Spaniards in the Americas..
India was a main assembling nation on the planet in the mid eighteenth century. It had 22.6 percent of the world’s GDP, which came down to around 16 percent by 1820, nearer to its share of world population.13 It had created a money saving framework and incredible dealer capital, with a system of operators, merchants and agents. Given the gigantic money related excess, a talented craftsman class, vast fares, a lot of arable land and sensible profitability, the inquiry is the reason why an advanced modern economy didn’t rise in India? Rather, for what reason did India end up plainly devastated?
In spite of a dynamic and a developing business division which reacted to showcase powers and broad remote exchange, in all actuality eighteenth century India was essentially behind Western Europe in innovation, establishments and thoughts. Neither a rural transformation, nor a logical unrest had happened, and over the long haul the manual aptitude of the Indian craftsman could be not a viable replacement for innovative progress,”and this would have required new states of mind. Despite the surplus and the exchange, mid-eighteenth India had a “per capita item maybe 66% of that in England and France.”
?Why did India lag behind in wealth creation?
There is no simple response to the issue that the nation was prosperous and the general population were poor. One clarification is that even in the eighteenth century India had an expansive populace and a lot of shoddy work. Rise in wealth accompanies rising efficiency and an ascent in profitability relies upon innovation. At the point when the supply of work is flexible, it is more practical to enlist individuals than to put resources into machines. Henceforth, an Englishman saw in 1807, “In India it is from time to time that an endeavor is made to achieve anything by hardware that can be performed by human labour.”
India’s nationalists have reprimanded the British Raj for India’s neediness. The common narrative is that India had been rich before the British came and imperialism debilitated farming and “deindustrialized” India, tossing a great many craftsmen out of work. England’s exchange strategies empowered the import of fabricates and the fare of crude materials; at long last, it depleted the abundance of India by exchanging its funding to Britain.
Nationalists asserted that Lancashire’s new material plants squashed India’s handloom material industry and tossed a huge number of weavers out of work. India’s material fares dove from an authority position before the begin of the Britain’s Industrial Revolution to a part. The indigenous saving money framework, which financed these fares, was additionally annihilated. Since the provincial government did not erect tax boundaries, Indian buyers moved to less expensive English plant made material and a large number of handloom specialists where left in hopelessness. English pilgrim manage “de-industrialized” India and from an exporter of materials, India turned into an exporter of crude cotton.
England additionally changed the old land income framework to the drawback of the agriculturist, who needed to now pay income regardless of whether the rainstorm fizzled. This prompted starvations. The most noticeably bad one out of 1896-97 influenced 96 million lives and executed an expected 5 million individuals. In spite of the fact that the railroads helped in the exchange of nourishment trims, the developed national market sucked away the worker’s overflow, which he had prior put away for the awful years. In addition, the British government exchanged its surplus incomes back to England. Since India reliably sent out more then she imported in the second 50% of the nineteenth century and mid twentieth century, Britain utilized India’s exchange surplus to fund her own exchange shortage with whatever is left of the world, to pay for her fares to India, and for capital reimbursements in London. This led to a huge deplete of India’s wealth.
As of late a few students of history have tested this belief. They have contended that Indian industry’s decrease in the nineteenth century was caused by innovation. The machines of Britain’s modern industrialization wiped out Indian materials, similarly the conventional carefully assembled materials vanished in Europe and whatever is left of the world. After fifty years Indian material plants would have demolished them. India’s weavers were, accordingly, the casualties of mechanical obsolescence.
They additionally found that the land assess had not been extreme—by 1900 it was just 5 percent of the agrarian yield or a large portion of the normal per capita taxation rate. There had been a “deplete of riches”, yet it was just around 1.5 percent of GNP consistently. The revisionist history specialists contended that India’s installments to Britain were for genuine military and regular citizen benefits and to benefit capital speculations. Likewise, the overhead cost of the British foundation—the purported “home charges”— was in certainty very small. If India had its own armed force and naval force it would have spent more. Genuine, India had an adjust of installments overflow, which Britain used to back piece of her deficiency, yet India was repaid by the import of gold and silver that went into private Indian hands.
Indian business visionaries started to set up their own particular present day material plants after 1850 and gradually started to recover the household showcase. In 1896, Indian plants provided 8% of the aggregate fabric devoured in India; in 1913, 20%; in 1936, 62%; and by 1945, 76%.21 Although India did not partake in worldwide exchange extension in the vicinity of 1870 and 1913, Indian businesspeople made expansive benefits amid the First World War, which they reinvested in after the war. Consequently, India’s assembling yield grew 5.6 percent for every year between 1913-38, well over the world normal of 3.3 percent.” 22 The British government at long last gave duty assurance from the 1920s, which helped industrialists to extend and broaden.
By Independence in 1947, Indian business people were solid and in a position to purchase out the organizations of the withdrawing British. Industry’s offer in India’s GNP had multiplied from 3.8 percent (in 1913) to 7.5 percent (in 1947), and the offer of makes in her fares ascended from 22.4 percent (in 1913) to 30 percent (in 1947).
? Why did India miss the Industrial Revolution?
One of the interesting inquiries of history is the reason behind India’s ineffective industrialization. Karl Marx anticipated that the railroads would change India and introduce a modern upheaval. To be sure, by the First World War, some believed that it was prepared to take-off. By 1914, India had the third biggest railroad organize, the world’s biggest jute producing industry, the fourth biggest cotton material industry, the biggest waterway framework, and 2.5 percent of world trade.23 Although a state, it had an exceptionally liberal administrative administration – much more financial specialist well disposed than the one that supplanted it after Independence—and after the 1920s the newborn child industry was additionally supported by taxes. It had a dealer class hungry to wind up industrialists. Industrialization did, truth be told, get after the War and industry’s offer in national yield multiplied. However, it was insufficient to comprehensively change a horticultural society. Current industry utilized just 2.5 million individuals out of populace of 350 million.