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The article examines the colonial period of British in India with 3 features structural,

global and colonial. Structural feature comprises of natural and human resources available in
India. The main source of income for the residents was the labour intensive industry. Global
feature specifies that India was open for economic activity more during these periods. Colonial
features take account of the large payments paid by government to Britain.
The Century before British
Before the Europeans Asia was viewed as stagnant and backward in terms of political and
economic development, but researches undertaken later have shown that south Asia had
developed and had globally trade even before Europeans discovered it. But it remains as an
unreliable fact. The English East India Company exerted political power in Bengal by 1757 and
the transition from trade to direct rule could be explained partly by the needs of trade itself.
British mercantilists criticized Britains payment of bullion for Indian textiles, the most
important item in this trade. Local political circumstances that enabled the British to command
land revenues of Bengal came as a less controversial means of payment. The support of the local
rulers for the British Empire led to them becoming a colonial power in India.
Early 18th century saw the emergence of foreign trade with exports and imports of
textiles. But by 19th century commodities that were exported were in penchants of the British.
India was known for cotton textile industry and its export. By mid-19th century the textile
industry became helpless. Mechanization of the textile industry lead to the emergence of cheaper
clothes and lead to the fall of the Indian cotton industry and jobs.
About 70% of the population was dependent on agriculture which in turn was dependent
on monsoon. Failure of monsoon lead to famines. Madras province alone lost 5 to 8 million lives
to famine during mid-19th century. Areas which received higher rainfalls had high population
density and low labours.
Agricultural pattern before and after the colonial period have remained the same. Average
income of the labours remained unchanged but individual income had risen. This suggests that
rich peasants with property rights and land owners were becoming richer while the agricultural
labourers were receiving low wages. Land owner also lost their land due of colonial power in
certain instances. But the overall idea is that the social context of labours had increased after the
commercialization of agriculture.
There has not been a steadfast growth in the industries in India post-Independence. The
share of industries contribution to the GDP has been similar. Textile industry had dominated the
industries in India during the colonial period. Bombay and Bengal was the center of the
industries. Factory labour was a demand occupation in the colonial India. Most workers earned
wages that were too little or too insecure to think of growing roots in the city and giving up
connections with land and agricultural labour. However, the chances of occupational and income
mobility were greater in the cities than in the villages. The city dwellers never suffered the threat
of famine to the same degree as the rural population.
Machineries were bought by huge capital investment and were used in those exceptional
industries that processed raw materials that were available abundantly in India and for which the
machines and technicians could be easily imported. Commercialization was one of the reasons
for the rise of industries. Old school industries suffered by the operation of new machineries that
produced goods at a cheaper rate. There was an increased competition among the industries and
factories that started to make effective use of labour were on the rise.
Global Flow of Trade and Capital
During the pre-colonial period, foreign trade was not a regular activity. Foreign trade had
increased during the 18th century and 19th century. International flows of income and capital
were also relatively larger during the colonial period than before or after. Net income from
abroad formed 12 percent of national income in India before World War I. Net income from
abroad was well below 1 percent of national income between 1950 and the mid-1980s.
The Indian government during the colonial period borrowed huge sums of money for
financing activities in India. Repayment of these loans, along with regular remittance because
charges made by Britain for costs of the administration of India, was a large net payment item in
Indias foreign transactions. The money supply in colonial India was mainly influenced by the
balance of payments. Stabilizing the exchange rate was the primary objective of monetary policy.
Prices and outputs were meant to stabilize automatically. However, when the interests of both the
countries clashed Britains external account stabilization was the primary though in the minds of
the decision makers.
Growth if India during colonial rule
During the colonial rule Indias national income of India had grown at a rate of 1% and
was negatively affected during both the world wars. Indias market for modern and traditional
industry grew, in the case of the former owing to limited tariff protection. Non-food crop
production also saw a growth. But there was acute stagnation in food production.
The great depression has impacted the Indian industries and had strained the relationship
with the government. Poorer mass of the population suffered as the industries were not grown
enough and the population had been growing as well.
Personal views on the five theses
The impact of colonial power in India is still widely felt. Every action the British took in
India was for their own welfare. The industrial growth was a positive sign but still only those
who benefited the British were allowed to do it. The road and railway infrastructure were built to
facilitate the growth of the British trade.
Britains colonization of India is a dark chapter in Indian history. India was a prosperous
country before the British, but was left to the ruins by the time British left the country. GDP
contribution of India in the world before the colonization was around 30% and was only 4% after
All kinds of resources were taken away from India and Britain was becoming prosperous.
India was a source of raw material and human labours and also the largest market for their
finished goods. Britain industries solely acted as the manufacturers.

Famines were mainly due to the policies that the British implemented in India. Although
well aware of the dire consequences they still went ahead to exploit their colony to the fullest.

Need to redefine the link between the colonial past and modern contemporary India

India needs to take a new path for their economic growth. Indian economy over last few
centuries has depended on labour intensive industries. The first half of 20 th century has seen the
growth of agricultural industry entirely because of increased labour in the fields. Noticeably
weak in this dynamic of intensified labor, both before and after 1947, was induced accumulation
of human capital via organized education and training. Students enrolled in schools of all levels
as proportion of population of school-going age increased. There was gender bias in the
reallocation of labour. In the ensuing market for labor, it was often harder for women to take part
than it was for men. Because most women tended to participate in paid work along with
performance of domestic duties, it was difficult for them to continue in the former if the job
required full-time work, migration or long-distance commuting. The roots of this difficulty were
partly cultural, an aversion to working outside home that seems to be weakening only recently.
Since independence, the main factors in Indias economic growth remain those that are important
in a labor-intensive society. A series of green revolutions succeeded in breaking the barrier of
no additional land, as the modern parallel to the irrigation projects of the early colonial period.
The relative abundance of labor, its allocation and mobility, continue to be of keen importance.
All these variables represent points of continuity between British India and free. After 1947, the
marketization process for labor gathered strength in every sector, except in those under
regulation. The persistence of surplus labor, increasingly owing to population growth, did not
lead to rise in wages or earnings. In the long run, India has experienced a growth rate in average
earnings consistent with its endowments, with or without colonialism.