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This chapter proposes to discuss the issue of understand the issues at a deeper level. Making
consumer rights within the context of the ways posters collectively is another way to think about
markets operate in our country. There are many these issues. This lesson contains activities,
aspects of unequal situations in a market and which require visits – visit to consumer
poor enforcement of rules and regulations. Hence, protection councils, consumer organisations,
there is a need to sensitise learners and encourage consumer court, retail shops, market places, etc.
them to participate in the consumer movement. Organise the visits to maximise learners’
This chapter provides case histories – how some experience. Have a discussion with them about
consumers were exploited in a real life situation the purpose of the visit, things they need to do
and how legal institutions helped consumers in beforehand and things that need to be collected
getting compensated and in upholding their rights and the task (report/ project / article, etc.) they
as consumers. The case histories would enable would carry out after the visit. As part of this
the students to link these narratives to their life chapter, the learners may do letter-writing and
experiences. We have to enable students to speaking activities. We may have to be sensitive
understand that the awareness of being a well- to the language aspect of exercises.
informed consumer arose out of consumer
movement and active participation of people This chapter contains materials collected
through their struggles over a long period. This from authenticated websites, books, newspapers
chapter also provides details of a few and magazines. For example, http://
organisations helping consumers in different is a website of Central
ways. Finally it ends with some critical issues of Government Ministry of Consumer Affairs.
the consumer movement in India. Another website is the
website of a consumer organisation working in
Aspects of Teaching / Sources of Information India for more than 20 years. It publishes a
variety of materials to create consumer
This chapter has questions, case studies and
awareness in India. They need to be shared
activities. It would be preferred that students
among learners so that they can also collect
discuss these in groups orally. Some of these
materials as part of their activities. For example,
could be answered in writing individually.
case histories were taken from newspaper
While carrying out each activity you could clippings and consumers who fought in
start with a brainstorming session about the consumer courts. Let learners collect and read
activity. Similarly there are many opportunities such materials from different sources: consumer
for role-play in this chapter and this could be a protection councils, consumer courts and
useful way to share their experiences and internet.



The collage you see below contains what are the ways in which they can
some news clippings of consumer exercise their rights as consumers to
court verdicts. Why did the people go get a fair deal from the sellers when
to the consumer court in these cases? they felt they had been denied a just
These verdicts came about because treatment?
some people persisted and struggled
to get justice. In what ways were they
denied justice? More importantly,

We participate in the market both as Likewise, rules and regulations are
producers and consumers. As required for the protection of the
producers of goods and services we consumers in the marketplace.
could be working in any of the sectors Individual consumers often find
discussed earlier such as agriculture, themselves in a weak position.
industry, or services. Consumers Whenever there is a complaint
participate in the market when they regarding a good or service that had
purchase goods and services that they been bought, the seller tries to shift
need. These are the final goods that all the responsibility on to the buyer.
people as consumers use. Their position usually is – “If you
didn’t like what you bought, please
In the preceding chapters we
go elsewhere”. As if the seller has no
discussed the need for rules and
responsibility once a sale is
regulations or steps that would
completed! The consumer movement,
promote development. These could be
as we shall discuss later, is an effort
for the protection of workers in the
to change this situation.
unorganised sector or to protect
people from high interest rates Exploitation in the marketplace
charged by moneylenders in the happens in various ways. For
informal sector. Similarly, rules and example, sometimes traders indulge
regulations are also required for in unfair trade practices such as when
protecting the environment. shopkeepers weigh less than what
they should or when traders add
For example, moneylenders in the
charges that were not mentioned
informal sector that you read about
before, or when adulterated/defective
in Chapter 3 adopt various tricks to
goods are sold.
bind the borrower: they could make
the producer sell the produce to them Markets do not work in a fair
at a low rate in return for a timely loan; manner when producers are few and
they could force a small farmer like powerful whereas consumers
Swapna to sell her land to pay back purchase in small amounts and are
the loan. Similarly, many people who scattered. This happens especially
work in the unorganised sector have when large companies are producing
to work at a low wage and accept these goods. These companies with
conditions that are not fair and are huge wealth, power and reach can
also often harmful to their health. To manipulate the market in various
prevent such exploitation, we ways. At times false information is
have talked of rules and regulations passed on through the media, and
for their protection. There are other sources to attract consumers.
organisations that have struggled For example, a company for years
for long to ensure that these rules are sold powder milk for babies all over



the world as the most scientific EVERYONE KNOWS
product claiming this to be better TOBACCO KILLS PEOPLE,
than mother’s milk. It took years of BUT WHO CAN SAY THAT
struggle before the company was SHOULD NOT BE FREE
forced to accept that it had been TO SELL TOBACCO?
making false claims. Similarly, a
long battle had to be fought with
court cases to make cigarette-
manufacturing companies accept that
their product could cause cancer.
Hence, there is a need for rules and
regulations to ensure protection for


1. What are the various ways by which people may be exploited in the market?
2. Think of one example from your experience where you thought that there was some
‘cheating’ in the market. Discuss in the classroom.
3. What do you think should be the role of government to protect consumers?

The consumer movement arose out quality of goods and services on the
of dissatisfaction of the consumers sellers.
as many unfair practices were being In India, the consumer movement
indulged in by the sellers. There was as a ‘social force’ originated with the
no legal system available to necessity of protecting and promoting
consumers to protect them from the interests of consumers against
exploitation in the marketplace. For unethical and unfair trade practices.
a long time, when a consumer was Rampant food shortages, hoarding,
not happy with a particular brand black marketing, adulteration of food
product or shop, he or she generally and edible oil gave birth to the
avoided buying that brand product, consumer movement in an organised
or would stop purchasing from that form in the 1960s. Till the 1970s,
shop. It was presumed that it was consumer organisations were largely
the responsibility of consumers to be engaged in writing articles and
holding exhibitions. They formed
careful while buying a commodity
consumer groups to look into the
or service. It took many years for malpractices in ration shops and
organisations in India, and around overcrowding in the road passenger
the world, to create awareness transport. More recently, India
amongst people. This has also witnessed an upsurge in the number
shifted the responsibility of ensuring of consumer groups.


Consumers International
In 1985 United Nations adopted
the UN Guidelines for Consumer
Protection. This was a tool for
nations to adopt measures to
protect consumers and for
consumer advocacy groups to
press their governments to do
so. At the international level, this
has become the foundation for
consumer movement. Today,
Consumers International has
become an umbrella body to
over 220 member organisations
from over 115 countries.

Because of all these efforts, the movement succeeded in

bringing pressure on business firms as well as government
to correct business conduct which may be unfair and against
the interests of consumers at large. A major step taken in
1986 by the Indian government was the enactment of the
Consumer Protection Act 1986, popularly known as COPRA.
You will learn more about COPRA later.


1. What could have been the steps taken by consumer groups?
2. There may be rules and regulations but they are often not followed. Why? Discuss.



Reji’s Suffering
Reji’s suffering shows how a
hospital, due to negligence by the
Reji Mathew, a healthy boy studying in doctors and staff in giving
Class IX, was admitted in a private clinic in anaesthesia, crippled a student for
Kerala for removal of tonsils. An ENT life. While using many goods and
surgeon performed the tonsillectomy services, we as consumers, have the
operation under general anaesthesia. As a right to be protected against the
result of improper anaesthesia Reji showed marketing of goods and delivery of
symptoms of some brain abnormalities services that are hazardous to life and
because of which he was crippled for life. property. Producers need to strictly
His father filed a complaint in the State follow the required safety rules and
Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission regulations. There are many goods
claiming compensation of Rs 5,00,000 for and services that we purchase that
medical negligence and deficiency, in require special attention to safety. For
service. The State Commission, saying that example, pressure cookers have a
the evidence was not sufficient, dismissed safety valve which, if it is defective, can
it. Reji’s father appealed again in the cause a serious accident. The
National Consumer Disputes Redressal manufacturers of the safety valve have
Commission located to ensure high quality. You also need
in New Delhi. The public or government action to see
National Commission that this quality is maintained.
after looking into the However, we do find bad quality
complaint, held the products in the market because the
hospital responsible supervision of these rules is weak and
for medical negligence the consumer movement is also not
and directed it to pay strong enough.
the compensation.


1. For the following (you can add to the list) products/ services discuss what safety
rules should be observed by the producer?
(a) LPG cylinder (b) cinema theatre (c) circus (d) medicines (e) edible oil
(f) marriage pandal (g) a high-rise building.
2. Find out any case of accident or negligence from people around you, where you think
that the responsibility lay with the producer. Discuss.


Information about goods and product and find it defective well
services within the expiry period, we can ask
for a replacement. If the expiry period
When you buy any commodity, you
was not printed, the manufacturer
will find certain details given on the
packing. These details are about would blame the shopkeeper and will
ingredients used, price, batch not accept the responsibility. If people
number, date of manufacture, expiry sell medicines that have expired
date and the address of the severe action can be taken against
manufactur er. When we buy them. Similarly, one can protest and
medicines, on the packets, you might complain if someone sells a good at
find ‘directions for proper use’ and more than the printed price on the
information relating to side effects and packet. This is indicated by ‘MRP’ —
risks associated with usage of that maximum retail price. In fact
medicine. When you buy garments, consumers can bargain with the seller
you will find information on to sell at less than the MRP.
‘instructions for washing’. In recent times, the right to
Why is it that rules have been made information has been expanded to
so that the manufacturer displays this cover various services provided by the
information? It is because consumers Government. In October 2005, the
have the right to be informed about Government of India enacted a law,
the particulars of goods and services popularly known as RTI (Right to
that they purchase. Consumers Information) Act, which ensures its
can then complain and ask for citizens all the information about the
compensation or replacement if the functions of government departments.
product proves to be defective in any The effect of the RTI Act can be
manner. For example, if we buy a understood from the following case.

Amritha, an engineering graduate
after submitting all the certificates
and attending the interview for a
job in a government department, did
not receive any news of the result.
The officials also refused to comply
with her queries. She therefore filed
an application using the RTI Act
saying that it was her right to know
the result in a reasonable time so
that she could plan her future. She
was not only informed about the
reasons for delay in the declaration
of results but also got her call letter
for appointment as she performed
well in the interview.


1. When we buy commodities we find that the price charged is sometimes higher or
lower than the Maximum Retail Price printed on the pack. Discuss the possible
reasons. Should consumer groups do something about this?
2. Pick up a few packaged goods that you want to buy and examine the information
given. In what ways are they useful? Is there some information that you think
should be given on those packaged goods but is not? Discuss.
3. People make complaints about the lack of civic amenities such as bad roads or
poor water and health facilities but no one listens. Now the RTI Act gives you the
power to question. Do you agree? Discuss.

When choice is denied

A Refund
Abirami, a student of choose. The Institute
Ansari Nagar, joined a two- again appealed in the
year course at a local State Consumer Com-
coaching institute for mission. The State
professional courses in Commission upheld the
New Delhi. At the time of district court’s direction
joining the course, she and further fined the
paid the fees Rs 61,020 institute Rs 25,000 for a
as lumpsum for the entire frivolous appeal. It also
course of two years. directed the institute to
However, she decided to opt out of the pay Rs 7000 as compensation and
course at the end of one year as she litigation cost.
found that the quality of teaching was
The State Commission also restrained
not up to the mark. When she asked
all the educational and professional
for a refund of the fee for one year, it
institutions in the state from charging
was denied to her.
fees from students for the entire
When she filed the case in the District duration of the course in advance and
Consumer Court, the Court directed that too at one go. Any violation of this
the Institute to refund Rs 28,000 order may invite penalties and
saying that she had the right to imprisonment, the commission said.

What do we understand from this if you buy a tooth brush. If you are
incident? Any consumer who receives a not interested in buying the brush,
service in whatever capacity, regardless your right to choice is denied. Similarly,
of age, gender and nature of service, has sometimes gas supply dealers insist
the right to choose whether to continue that you have to buy the stove from
to receive the service. them when you take a new connection.
Suppose you want to buy In this way many a times you are
toothpaste, and the shop owner says forced to buy things that you may not
that she can sell the toothpaste only wish to and you are left with no choice.


The following are some of the catchy advertisements of products that we purchase
from the market. Which of the following offers would really benefit consumers? Discuss.
l 15 gm more in every 500 gm pack.
l Subscribe for a newspaper with a gift at the end of a year.
l Scratch and win gifts worth Rs 10 lakhs.
l A milk chocolate inside a 500 gram glucose box.
l Win a gold coin inside a pack.
l Buy shoes worth Rs 2000 and get one pair of shoes worth Rs 500 free.

Where should consumers go depending on the degree of damage.

to get justice? There is a need to provide an easy and
effective public system by which this
Read again the cases of Reji Mathew
can be done.
and Abirami given earlier in the
chapter. You might be interested in knowing
how an aggrieved person gets his or
These are some examples in which
her compensation. Let us take the
consumers are denied their rights.
case of Prakash. He had sent a
Such instances occur quite often in
money-order to his village for his
our country. Where should these
daughter’s marriage. The money did
consumers go to get justice?
not reach his daughter at the time
Consumers have the right to seek when she needed it nor did it reach
redressal against unfair trade months later. Prakash filed a case in
practices and exploitation. If any a district level consumer court in New
damage is done to a consumer, she Delhi. All the steps he undertook are
has the right to get compensation illustrated here.









The consumer movement in India Under COPRA, a three-tier quasi-
has led to the formation of various judicial machinery at the district,
organisations locally known as state and national levels was set up
consumer forums or consumer for redressal of consumer disputes.
protection councils. They guide The district level court deals with the
consumers on how to file cases in the cases involving claims upto Rs 20
consumer court. On many occasions, lakhs, the state level courts between
they also represent individual Rs 20 lakhs and Rs 1 crore and the
consumers in the consumer courts. national level court deals with cases
These voluntary organisations also involving claims exceeding Rs 1 crore.
receive financial support from the If a case is dismissed in district level
government for creating awareness court, the consumer can also appeal
among the people. in state and then in National level
If you are living in a residential courts.
colony, you might have noticed Thus, the Act has enabled us as
name boards of Resident Welfare
consumers to have the right to
Associations. If there is any unfair
represent in the consumer courts.
trade practice meted out to their
members they take up the case on
their behalf.


Arrange the following in the correct order.
(a) Arita files a case in the District Consumer Court.
(b) She engages a professional person.
(c) She realises that the dealer has given her defective
(d) She starts attending the court proceedings.
(e) She goes and complains to the dealer and the Branch
office, to no effect.
(f) She is asked to produce the bill and warranty before
the court.
(g) She purchases a wall clock from a retail outlet.
(h) Within a few months, the dealer was ordered by the
court to replace her old wall clock with a brand new
one at no extra cost.


When we as consumers become conscious of our rights,
while purchasing various goods and services, we will be
able to discriminate and make informed choices. This
calls for acquiring the knowledge and skill to become a
well-informed consumer. How do we become conscious

of our rights? Look at the posters on
the right and in the previous page.
What do you think?
The enactment of COPRA has led
to the setting up of separate
departments of Consumer Affairs in
central and state governments. The
posters that you have seen are one
example through which government
spread information about legal
process which people can use.
You might also be seeing such
advertisements on television channels.

ISI and Agmark

While buying many commodities, on the

cover, you might have seen a logo with the
letters ISI, Agmark or Hallmark. These
logos and certification help consumers get
assured of quality while purchasing the
goods and services. The organisations that
monitor and issue these certificates allow
producers to use their logos provided they
follow certain quality standards.
Though these organisations develop
quality standards for many products, it is
not compulsory for all the producers to
follow standards. However, for some
products that affect the health and safety
of consumers or of products of mass
consumption like LPG cylinders, food
colours and additives, cement, packaged
drinking water, it is mandatory on the part
of the producers to get certified by these

1. Look at the posters and cartoons in this chapter. Think of any particular commodity
and the aspects that need to be looked at as a consumer. Design a poster for this.
2. Find out the nearest consumer court for your area.
3. What is the difference between consumer protection council and consumer court?
4. The Consumer Protection Act 1986 ensures the following as rights which every
consumer in India should possess
(i) Right to choice. (iv) Right to representation.
(ii) Right to information. (v) Right to safety.
(iii) Right to redressal. (vi) Right to consumer education.
Categorise the following cases under different heads and mark against each in
(a) Lata got an electric shock from a newly purchased iron. She complained to the
shopkeeper immediately. ( )
(b) John is dissatisfied with the services provided by MTNL/BSNL/TATA INDICOM
for the past few months. He files a case in the District Level Consumer Forum.
( )
(c) Your friend has been sold a medicine that has crossed the expiry date and you
are advising her to lodge a complaint ( ).
(d) Iqbal makes it a point to scan through all the particulars given on the pack of any
item that he buys. ( )
(e) You are not satisfied with the services of the cable operator catering to your
locality but you are unable to switch over to anybody else. ( )
(f) You realise that you have received a defective camera from a dealer. You are
complaining to the head office persistently ( ).
5. If the standardisation ensures the quality of a commodity, why are many goods
available in the market without ISI or Agmark certification?
6. Find out the details of who provides Hallmark and ISO certification.


India has been observing 24 their activities. There are today more
December as the National Consumers’ than 700 consumer groups in the
Day. It was on this day that the Indian country of which only about 20-25
Parliament enacted the Consumer are well organised and recognised for
Protection Act in 1986. India is one their work.
of the countries that have exclusive However, the consumer redressal
courts for consumer redressal. process is becoming cumbersome,
The consumer movement in India expensive and time consuming. Many
has made some progress in terms of a time, consumers are required to
numbers of organised groups and engage lawyers. These cases require

time for filing and attending the court of laws that protect workers,
proceedings etc. In most purchases especially in the unorganised sectors
cash memos are not issued hence is weak. Similarly, rules and
evidence is not easy to gather. regulations for working of markets are
Moreover most purchases in the often not followed.
market are small retail sales. The Nevertheless, there is scope for
existing laws also are not very clear consumers to realise their role and
on the issue of compensation to importance. It is often said that
consumers injured by defective consumer movements can be effective
products. After more than 25 years only with the consumers’ active
of the enactment of COPRA, consumer involvement. It requires a voluntary
awareness in India is spreading but effort and struggle involving the
slowly. Besides this the enforcement participation of one and all.

1. Why are rules and regulations required in the marketplace? Illustrate with a few examples.
2. What factors gave birth to the consumer movement in India? Trace its evolution.
3. Explain the need for consumer consciousness by giving two examples.
4. Mention a few factors which cause exploitation of consumers.
5. What is the rationale behind the enactment of Consumer Protection Act 1986?
6. Describe some of your duties as consumers if you visit a shopping complex in your locality.
7. Suppose you buy a bottle of honey and a biscuit packet. Which logo or mark you will have
to look for and why?
8. What legal measures were taken by the government to empower the consumers in India?
9. Mention some of the rights of consumers and write a few sentences on each.
10. By what means can the consumers express their solidarity?
11. Critically examine the progress of consumer movement in India.
12. Match the following.
(i) Availing details of ingredients of a product (a) Right to safety
(ii) Agmark (b) Dealing with consumer cases
(iii) Accident due to faulty engine in a scooter (c) Certification of edible oil and cereals
(iv) District Consumer Court (d) Agency that develop standards for
goods and services
(v) Consumers International (e) Right to information
(vi) Bureau of Indian Standards (f) Global level institution of
consumer welfare organisations
13. Say True or False.
(i) COPRA applies only to goods.
(ii) India is one of the many countries in the world which has exclusive courts for consumer


(iii) When a consumer feels that he has been exploited, he must file a case in
the District Consumer Court.
(iv) It is worthwhile to move to consumer courts only if the damages incurred
are of high value.
(v) Hallmark is the certification maintained for standardisation of jewellry.

(vi) The consumer redressal process is very simple and quick.

(vii) A consumer has the right to get compensation depending on the degree of
the damage.


1. Your school organises a consumer awareness week. As the Secretary of the

Consumer Awareness Forum, draft a poster covering all the consumer rights.
You may use the clues and ideas given in the poster on page 84 and 85. This
activity can be done with the help of your English teacher.

2. Mrs. Krishna bought a colour television (CTV) against six months warranty. The
CTV stopped working after three months. When she complained to the dealer /
shop where it was purchased, they sent an engineer to set it right. The CTV
continues to give trouble and Mrs Krishna no longer gets any reply to the complaint
she made to the dealer / shop. She decides to write to the Consumer Forum in
her area. Write a letter on her behalf. You may discuss with your partner / group
members before you write it.

3. Establish a consumer club in your school. Organise mock consumer awareness

workshops like monitoring bookshops, canteen, and shops in your school area.

4. Prepare posters with catchy slogans like:

– An alert consumer is a safe consumer

– Buyers, Beware

– Consumers be cautious

– Be aware of your rights

– As consumers, assert your right

– Arise, awake and stop not till ______________________ (Complete it)

5. Interview 4-5 persons in your neighbourhood and collect varied experiences

regarding how they have been victims of such exploitation and their responses.
6. Conduct a survey in your locality by supplying the following questionnaire to get
an idea as to how alert they are as consumers.


For each question, tick one. Always Sometimes Never

1. When you buy some item, do you insist on a bill?

2. Do you keep the bill carefully?
3. If you realise that you have been tricked by the shop-
keeper, have you bothered to complain to him?
4. Have you been able to convince him that you’ve been
5. Do you simply grumble to yourself reconciling that it is
your fate that you are often being victimised so and it is
nothing new?
6. Do you look for ISI mark, expiry date etc.?
7. If the expiry date mentioned is just a month or so away,
do you insist on a fresh packet?
8. Do you weigh the new gas cylinder/old newspapers
yourself before buying/selling?
9. Do you raise an objection if a vegetable seller uses stones
in place of the exact weight?
10. Do excessively bright coloured vegetables arouse your
11. Are you brand-conscious?
12. Do you associate high price with good quality (to reassure
yourself that after all you have not paid a higher price just
like that)?
13. Do you unhesitatingly respond to catchy offers?
14. Do you compare the price paid by you with those of
15. Do you strongly believe that your shopkeeper never cheats
a regular customer like you?
16. Do you favour ‘home delivery’ of provision items without
any doubt regarding weight etc.?
17. Do you insist on ‘paying by meter’ when you travel by

(i) You are extremely aware as a consumer if your answers for
Qns. 5, 12, 13, 15 and 16 are (C) and for the rest (A).
(ii) If your answers are (A) for Qns. 5, 12, 13, 15 and 16 and the
rest (C), then you have to wake up as consumer.
(iii) If your answer is (B) for all the questions – you are somewhat


Abijit Vinayak Banerjee, Roland Benabou and Dilip Mookherjee (eds.),
Understanding Poverty, Oxford University Press, New York, 2006.

Amit Bhaduri and Deepak Nayyar, Intelligent Person’s Guide to Liberalisation,

Penguin Books, New Delhi, 1996.

Amit Bhaduri, Development with Dignity: The Case for Full Employment, National
Book Trust, New Delhi, 2005.

Amit Bhaduri, Macroeconomics: The Dynamics of Commodity Production,

Macmillan, London, 1986.

Bimal Jalan (ed.), Indian Economy, Penguin Books, New Delhi, 2002.

CUTS, Is it Really Safe, Consumer Unity Trust Society, Jaipur, 2004.

CUTS, State of the Indian Consumer: Analyses of the Implementation of the United
Nations Guidelines for Consumer Protection, 1985 in India, Consumer Unity
Trust Society, Jaipur, 2001.

Indrani Mazumdar, Women and Globalisation: The Impact on Women Workers in

the Formal and Informal Sectors in India, Stree, Delhi, 2007.

Jagdish Bhagwati In Defence of Globalisation, Oxford University Press, Delhi, 2004.

Jan Breman and Parthiv Shah, Working in the mill no more, Oxford University
Press, Delhi, 2005.

Jan Breman, Footloose Labour: Working in India’s Informal Economy, Cambridge

University Press, Cambridge, 1996.

Jean Dreze and Amartya Sen, India: Development and Participation, Oxford
University Press, Delhi, Third Impression, 2007.

John K.Galbraith, Money: Whence it Came, Whence it Went, Indian Book Company,
New Delhi, 1975.

Joseph Stiglitz, Globalisation and its Discontents, Penguin Books India,

New Delhi, 2003.

National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Landmark Judgments on

Consumer Protection, Universal Law Publishing Co., Delhi, 2005.

Tirthankar Roy, The Economic History of India, 1857-1947, Oxford University

Press, Delhi, Second Edition, 2006.


Government Publications
Ministry of Finance, Economic Survey, Government of India.
NSSO, Key Results of Employment-Unemployment Rounds, National Sample Survey
Organisation, Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, Govt
of India, New Delhi.
Planning Commission, National Human Development Report 2001, Government
of India, New Delhi.

Other Reports

Reserve Bank of India, Handbook of Statistics on Indian Economy, Mumbai.

UNDP, Human Development Report 2014, United Nations Development Programme,
World Bank, World Development Indicators, The World Bank, Washington.





Development has many aspects. The enable better understanding of the themes
purpose of this chapter is to enable discussed by bringing the learners closer
students to understand this idea. They to their real-life situations.
have to understand that people have
There are certain terms used in this
different perspectives on development and
chapter that would require clarification —
there are ways by which we can arrive at
Per Capita Income, Literacy Rate, Infant
common indicators for development. To
Mortality Rate, Attendance Ratio, Life
do this, we have used situations that they
Expectancy, Gross Enrolment Ratio, and
can respond to in an intuitive manner; we
Human Development Index. Though data
have also presented analysis that is more
pertaining to these terms are provided,
complex and macro in nature.
these would need further explanation. You
How can countries or states be may also need to clarify the concept of
compared using some selected purchasing power parity that is used to
development indicators is another calculate per capita income in Table 1.6.
question that students would read about It is necessary to keep in mind that these
in this chapter. Economic development terms are used as an aid to the discussion
can be measured and income is the most and not something to be memorised.
common method for measuring
development. However, the income Sources for Information
method, though useful, has several The data for this chapter is taken from
weaknesses. Hence, we need newer ways reports published by the Government of
of looking at development using indicators India (Economic Survey), United Nations
of quality of life and environmental Development Programme (Human
sustainability. Development Report) and World Bank
It is necessary for you to expect the (World Development Indicators). These
students to respond actively in the reports are being published every year. It
classroom and on a topic such as the may be interesting to look up these reports
above, there would be wide variation in if they are available in your school library.
opinion and possibility of debate. Allow If not, you may log on to the websites of
students to argue their point of view. At these institutions (,
the end of each section there are a few,
questions and activities. These serve two Data is also available from the Reserve
purposes: first, they recap the ideas Bank’s Handbook of Statistics on Indian
discussed in the section and second, they Economy, available at



The idea of development or progress
has always been with us. We have
aspirations or desires about what we
would like to do and how we would
like to live. Similarly, we have ideas
about what a country should be like.
What are the essential things that we
require? Can life be better for all? How
should people live together? Can there
be more equality? Development
involves thinking about these
questions and about the ways in
which we can work towards achieving
these goals. This is a complex
task and in this chapter we shall
make a beginning at understanding
development. You will learn more
about these issues in greater depth
in higher classes. Also, you will find
answers to many of these questions
not just in economics but also in your
course in history and political science.
This is because the way we live today
is influenced by the past. We can’t
desire for change without being aware
of this. In the same way, it is only
through a democratic political
process that these hopes and “Without me they cannot develop...
possibilities can be achieved in in this system I cannot develop!”
real life.

Let us try to imagine what SET UP ALL YOU CAN HOPE FOR IS MAY BE TO
development or progress is likely to
mean to different persons listed in
Table 1.1. What are their aspirations?
You will find that some columns are
partially filled. Try to complete the
table. You can also add any other
category of persons.


Category of Person Developmental Goals / Aspirations

More days of work and better wages; local school is able to

Landless rural labourers provide quality education for their children; there is no social
discrimination and they too can become leaders in the village.

Assured a high family income through higher support prices for

Prosperous farmers from Punjab their crops and through hardworking and cheap labourers; they
should be able to settle their children abroad.

Farmers who depend only on

rain for growing crops

A rural woman from a land

owning family

Urban unemployed youth

A boy from a rich urban family

She gets as much freedom as her brother and is able to

A girl from a rich urban family decide what she wants to do in life. She is able to pursue her
studies abroad.

An adivasi from Narmada valley

Having filled Table 1.1, let us now They seek things that are most
examine it. Do all of these persons important for them, i.e., that which
have the same notion of development can fulfil their aspirations or desires.
or progress? Most likely not. Each In fact, at times, two persons or
one of them seeks different things. groups of persons may seek things

which are conflicting. A girl expects So, two things are quite clear: one,
as much freedom and opportunity as different persons can have
her brother, and that he also shares different developmental goals and
in the household work. Her brother two, what may be development for
may not like this. Similarly, to get one may not be development for
more electricity, industrialists may the other. It may even be
want more dams. But this may destructive for the other. DON’T WANT TO
submerge the land and disrupt the DEVELOP!
lives of people who are displaced – such
as tribals. They might resent this and
may prefer small check dams or tanks
to irrigate their land.


If you go over Table 1.1 again, you more income or more consumption
will notice one common thing: what because material goods are not all
people desire are regular work, better that you need to live.
wages, and decent price for their crops
Money, or material things that one
or other products that they produce.
can buy with it, is one factor on which
In other words, they want more
our life depends. But the quality of our
life also depends on non-material
Besides seeking more income, one- things mentioned above. If it is not
way or the other, people also seek obvious to you, then just think of the
things like equal treatment, freedom, role of your friends in your life. You
A demonstration
security, and respect of others. They may desire their friendship. Similarly, meeting against
resent discrimination. All these are there are many things that are not raising the height
important goals. In fact, in some cases, easily measured but they mean a lot of Sardar
Sarovar Dam on
these may be more important than to our lives. These are often ignored. Narmada River

However, it will be wrong to conclude Similarly, for development,
that what cannot be measured is not people look at a mix of goals. It is
important. true that if women are engaged in paid
work, their dignity in the household
Consider another example. If you
and society increases. However, it is
get a job in a far off place, before
also the case that if there is respect
accepting it you would try to consider
for women there would be more
many factors, apart from income,
sharing of housework and a
such as facilities for your family,
greater acceptance of women
working atmosphere, or opportunity
working outside. A safe and secure
to learn. In another case, a job may
environment may allow more women
give you less pay but may offer regular
to take up a variety of jobs or run
employment that enhances your
a business.
sense of security. Another job,
however, may offer high pay but no Hence, the developmental goals
job security and also leave no time for that people have are not only about
your family. This will reduce your better income but also about other
sense of security and freedom. important things in life.


1. Why do different persons have different notions of development? Which of the following
explanations is more important and why?
(a) Because people are different.
(b) Because life situations of persons are different.
2. Do the following two statement s mean the same? Justify your answer.
(a) People have different developmental goals.
(b) People have conflicting developmental goals.
3. Give some examples where factors other than income are important aspects of our lives.
4. Explain some of the important ideas of the above section in your own words.

If, as we have seen above, individuals different persons could have
seek different goals, then their notion different as well as conflicting
of national development is also likely notions of a country’s development.
to be different. Discuss among
However, can all the ideas be
yourselves on what India should do
considered equally important? Or, if
for development.
there are conflicts how does one
Most likely, you would find that decide? What would be a fair and just
different students in the class have given path for all? We also have to think
different answers to the above question. whether there is a better way of doing
In fact, you might yourself think of things. Would the idea benefit a large
many different answers and not be too number of people or only a small
sure of any of these. It is very group? National development means
important to keep in mind that thinking about these questions.


Discuss the following situations:
1. Look at the picture on the right. What should
be the developmental goals for such an area?
2. Read this newspaper report and answer the
questions that follow:

0 tonnes
A vessel dumped 50
st es in to
of liq ui d to xic wa
a city and
open-air dumps in
din g se a. This
in the surroun
in a cit y ca lle d
ha pp en ed
Co t, a
Ab id ja n in Iv or y
Th e fumes
country in Africa.
ly to xic wa ste
fro m th e hi gh
us ea , sk in ra shes,
caused na er a
. Aft
fainting, diarrhoea etc re
rs on s we
mo nt h se ve n pe an d
in ho sp ita l
dead, twenty at ed
th ou sa nd tre
twenty six
for symptoms of po
A multinational co
m an d
de al in g in pe tro leu loc al
cte d a
metals had contra t to
e Ivo ry Co as
company of th
ste from
dispose the toxic wa
its ship.

(i) Who are the people who benefited

and who did not?
(ii) What should be the developmental
goal for this country?
3. What can be some of the developmental goals for your village, town or locality?

If even the idea of what constitutes
development can be varied and
conflicting, then certainly there can be
differences about ways of developing. If
you know of any such
controversy, try to find out
arguments advanced by different
people. You may do so by talking to
different persons or you may find it from
newspapers and television.



You might ask — if development can more developed than others with less
mean different things, how come some income. This is based on the
countries are generally called understanding that more income
developed and others under - means more of all things that human
developed? Before we come to this, beings need. Whatever people like,
let us consider another question. and should have, they will be able to
get with greater income. So, greater
When we compare different things,
income itself is considered to be one
they could have similarities as well as
important goal.
differences. Which aspects do we use
to compare them? Let us look at Now, what is the income of a
students in the class itself. How do country? Intuitively, the income of the
we compare different students? They country is the income of all the
differ in their height, health, talents residents of the country. This gives
and interests. The healthiest student us the total income of the country.
may not be the most studious one.
However, for comparison between
The most intelligent student may not
countries, total income is not such an
be the friendliest one. So, how do we
useful measure. Since, countries have
compare students? The criterion we
different populations, comparing total
may use depends on the purpose of
income will not tell us what an average
comparison. We use different criterion
person is likely to earn. Are people in
to choose a sports team, a debate
one country better off than others in a
team, a music team or a team to
different country? Hence, we compare
organise a picnic. Still, if for some
the average income which is the total
purpose, we have to choose the
income of the country divided by its
criterion for the all-round progress of
total population. The average income
children in the class, how shall we
is also called per capita income.
do it?
In World Development Reports,
Usually we take one or more
brought out by the World Bank, this
important characteristics of
criterion is used in classifying
persons and compare them based
countries. Countries with per capita
on these characteristics. O f
income of US$ 12616 per annum and
course, there can be differences about
above in 2012, are called rich countries
what are important characteristics
and those with per capita income of
that should form the basis of
US$ 1035 or less are called low-income
comparison: friendliness and spirit of
countries. India comes in the category
cooperation, creativity or marks
of low middle income countries
because its per capita income in 2012
This is true of development too. was just US$ 1530 per annum. The
For comparing countries, their rich countries, excluding countries of
income is considered to be one of Middle East and certain other small
the most important attributes. countries, are generally called
Countries with higher income are developed countries.


Average Income
While ‘averages’ are useful for comparison, they also hide disparities.
For example, let us consider two countries, A and assured of being its fifth citizen
B. For the sake of simplicity, we have assumed but if it is a lottery that decides
that they have only five citizens each. Based on our citizenship number then
data given in Table 1.2, calculate the perhaps most of us will prefer to
average income for both the countries. live in country A. Even though
both the countries have identical
TABLE 1.2 COMPARISON OF TWO average income, country A is
COUNTRIES preferred because it has more
Monthly incomes of citizens in 2012 equitable distribution. In this
Country (in Rupees) country people are neither very
I II III IV V Average
rich nor extremely poor. On the
other hand most citizens in
Country A 9500 10500 9800 10000 10200 country B are poor and one
Country B 500 500 500 500 48000 person is extremely rich. Hence,
while average income is useful
Will you be equally happy to live in both these for comparison it does not tell us
countries? Are both equally developed? Perhaps how this income is distributed
some of us may like to live in country B if we are among people.



1. Give three examples where an average is used for comparing situations. AND HE
2. Why do you think average income is an important criterion for development? Explain. THEM.
3. Besides size of per capita income, what other property of income is important in
comparing two or more societies?
4. Suppose records show that the average income in a country has been increasing
over a period of time. From this, can we conclude that all sections of the economy
have become better? Illustrate your answer with an example.
5. From the text, find out the per capita income level of low-income countries as per
World Development Reports.
6. Write a paragraph on your notion of what should India do, or achieve, to become a
developed country.


When we looked at individual
aspirations and goals, we
found that people not only
think of better income but OF SELECT STATES
also have goals such as State Per Capita Income
security, respect for others, for 2012–13 (in Rs)
equal treatment, freedom, etc. Maharashtra 1,07,670
in mind. Similarly, when we Kerala 88,527
think of a nation or a region, Bihar 28,774
we may, besides average
income, think of other equally
important attributes. Source : Economic Survey 2013–14

What could these attributes be? Bihar is at the bottom. This means
Let us examine this through an that, on an average, a person in
example. Table 1.3 gives the per capita Maharashtra earned Rs 1,07,670 in
income of Maharashtra, Kerala and one year whereas, on an average, a
Bihar. Actually, these figures are of person in Bihar would earn only
Per Capita Net State Domestic Product around Rs 28,774. So, if per capita
income were to be used as the
at Current Prices for 2012–13. Let us
measure of development, Maharashtra
ignore what this complicated term will be considered the most developed
exactly means. Roughly we can take and Bihar the least developed state of
it to be per capita income of the state. the three. Now, let us look at certain
We find that of the three, Maharashtra other data pertaining to these states
has the highest per capita income and given in Table 1.4.


State Infant Mortality Literacy Rate % Net Attendance Ratio (per
Rate per 1,000 100 persons) secondary stage
live births (2012) 2011 (age 14 and 15 years) 2009-10
Maharashtra 25 82 64
Kerala 12 94 78
Bihar 43 62 35
(P) Provisional
Source : Economic Survey, 2013-14, National Sample Survey Organisation (Report No. 551)

Explanation of some of the terms used in this table:

Infant Mortality Rate (or IMR) indicates the number of children that die before the age of one year
as a proportion of 100 live children bor n in that particular year.
Literacy Rate measures the proportion of literate population in the 7 and above age group.
Net Attendance Ratio is the total number of children of age group 14 and 15 years attending school
as a percentage of total number of children in the same age group.


What does this table show? The The problem does not end with
first column of the table shows that in Infant Mortality Rate. The last column
Kerala, out of 1000 children born, 12 of table 1.4 shows around two-thirds
died before completing one year of age of children aged 14-15 in Bihar are
but in Maharashtra the proportion of not attending school beyond Class 8.
children dying within one year of birth This means that if you went to school
is 25, which is more than double. On in Bihar more than two-thirds of your
the other hand, the per capita income class would be missing. Those who
of Maharashtra is more than that of could have been in school are not
Kerala as shown in Table 1.3. Just there! If this had happened to you,
think of how dear you are to your you would not be able to read what
you are reading now.
parents, think of how every one is so
happy when a child it born. Now, try
to think of parents whose children die
before they even celebrate their first
birthday. How painful it must be to
these parents? Next, note the year to
which this data pertains. It is 2012.
So we are not talking of old times; it is
more than 65 years after independence
when our metro towns are full of high
rise buildings and shopping malls! Most babies do not get basic health care

How is it that the average person in Actually for many of the important
Maharashtra has more income than things in life the best way, also the
the average person in Kerala but lags cheapest way, is to provide these goods
behind in these crucial areas? The and services collectively. Just think –
reason is — money in your pocket will it be cheaper to have collective
cannot buy all the goods and security for the whole locality or for
services that you may need to live each house to have its own security
well. So, income by itself is not a man? What if no one, other than you,
completely adequate indicator of in your village or locality is interested
material goods and services that in studying? Would you be able to
citizens are able to use. For example, study? Not unless your parents could
normally, your money cannot buy afford to send you to some private
you a pollution-free environment or school elsewhere. So you are actually
ensure that you get unadulterated able to study because many other
medicines, unless you can afford to children also want to study and
shift to a community that already has because many people believe that the
all these things. Money may also not government should open schools and
be able to protect you from infectious provide other facilities so that all
diseases, unless the whole of your children have a chance to study. Even
community takes preventive steps. now, in many areas, children,
particularly girls, are not able to
achieve secondary level schooling
because government/society has not
provided adequate facilities.

Kerala has a low Infant Mortality Public Distribution System (PDS)
Rate because it has adequate provision functions well. Health and nutritional
of basic health and educational status of people of such states is
facilities. Similarly, in some states, the certainly likely to be better.


1. Look at data in Table 1.3 and 1.4. Is Maharashtra ahead of
Bihar in literacy rate etc. as it is in terms of per capita income?
2. Think of other examples where collective provision of goods
and services is cheaper than individual provision.
3. Does availability of good health and educational facilities depend
only on amount of money spent by the government on these
facilities? What other factors could be relevant?
4. In Tamil Nadu, 75 per cent of the people living in rural areas use
a ration shop, whereas in Jharkhand only 8 per cent of rural
people do so. Where would people be better off and why?

Study Table 1.5 carefully and fill in the blanks in the following paragraphs. For this,
you may need to make calculations based on the table.


Category Male Female
Literacy rate for rural population 52% 19%
Literacy rate for children in age group 10-14 years 68% 39%
Percentage of rural children aged 10-14 attending school 64% 31%

(a) The literacy rate for all age groups, including young and old, is _____ for rural
males and _____ for rural females. However, it is not just that these many
adults could not attend school but that there are _____ who are currently not in
(b) It is clear from the table that _____ % of rural girls and _____% of rural boys are
not attending school. Therefore, illiteracy among children in the age group 10-
14 is as high as _____% for rural females and _____% for rural males.
(c) This high level of illiteracy among __________ age group, even after more than
60 years of our independence, is most disturbing. In many other states also
we are nowhere near realisation of the constitutional goal of free and compulsory
education for all children up to the age of 14, which was expected to be achieved
by 1960.


One way to find out if adults are undernourished is to REPOR
calculate what nutrition scientists call Body Mass Once it is realised that even though
Index (BMI). This is easy to calculate. Take the weight the level of income is important, yet
of the person in kg. Then take the height in metres.
it is an inadequate measure of the
Divide the weight by the square of the height. If this
figure is less than 18.5 then the person would be
level of development, we begin to
considered undernourished. However, if this BMI is think of other criterion. There could
more than 25, then a person is overweight. Do be a long list of such criterion but
remember that this criterion is not applicable to growing then it would not be so useful. What
children. we need is a small number of the
Let each student in a
most important things. Health and
class find out the weight education indicators, such as the
and height of three adult ones we used in comparison of
persons of different Kerala and Maharashtra, are among
economic backgrounds them. Over the past decade or so,
such as construction health and education indicators
workers, domestic have come to be widely used along
servants, office workers, with income as a measure of
business-persons etc. development. For instance, Human
Collect the data from Development Report published by
all the students and
UNDP compares countries based on
make a combined table.
Calculate their BMI. Do
the educational levels of the people,
you find any relationship their health status and per capita
between economic income. It would be interesting to look
background of person and at certain relevant data regarding
her/his nutritional status? India and its neighbours from Human
Development Report 2014.


FOR 2013
Country Gross National Life Literacy Rate HDI Rank in
Income (GNI) Expectancy for 15+ yrs the world
per capita at birth population
(2011 PPP $) 2005-2012
Sri Lanka 9250 74.3 91.2 73
India 5150 66.4 62.8 135
Myanmar 3998 65.2 92.7 150
Pakistan 4652 66.6 54.9 146
Nepal 2194 68.4 57.4 145
Bangladesh 2713 70.7 57.7 142
Source : Human Development Report, 2014
1. HDI stands for Human Development Index. HDI ranks in above table are out of 177 countries in
2. Life Expectancy at birth denotes, as the name suggests, average expected length of life of a person
at the time of birth.
3. Per Capita Income is calculated in dollars for all countries so that it can be compared. It is also done in
a way so that every dollar would buy the same amount of goods and services in any country.


Isn’t it surprising that a small added to the Human Development
country in our neighbourhood, Sri Report but, by pre-fixing Human to
Lanka, is much ahead of India in every Development, it has made it very clear
respect and a big country like ours has that what is important in
such a low rank in the world? Table development is what is happening to
1.6 also shows that though Nepal has citizens of a country. It is people, their
less than half the per capita income of health, their well being, that is most
India, yet it is not far behind India in important.
life expectancy and literacy levels.
Do you think there are certain
Many improvements have been other aspects that should be
suggested in calculating HDI and considered in measuring human
many new components have been development?

Suppose for the present that a
particular country is quite developed. “We have not inherited
We would certainly like this level of the world from our
development to go up further or at forefathers — we have
least be maintained for future borrowed it from our
generations. This is obviously children.”
desirable. However, since the second
half of the twentieth century, a number
of scientists have been warning that
the present type, and levels, of
development are not sustainable.


Example 1: Groundwater in India

“Recent evidence suggests that the groundwater is under
serious threat of overuse in many parts of the country. About
300 districts have reported a water level decline of over 4 metres
during the past 20 years. Nearly one-third of the country is
overusing their groundwater reserves. In another 25 years,
60 per cent of the country would be doing the same if the present
way of using this resource continues. Groundwater overuse is
particularly found in the agriculturally prosperous regions of
Punjab and Western U.P., hard rock plateau areas of central and
south India, some coastal areas and the rapidly growing urban
(a) Why ground water is overused?
(b) Can there be development without overuse?


Groundwater is an example of Non-renewable resources are those
renewable resources. These resources which will get exhausted after years
are replenished by nature as in the of use. We have a fixed stock on earth
case of crops and plants. However, which cannot be replenished. We do
even these resources may be discover new resources that we did
overused. For example, in the case of not know of earlier. New sources in
groundwater, if we use more than this way add to the stock. However,
what is being replenished by rain then over time, even this will get exhausted.
we would be overusing this resource.

Example 2: Exhaustion of
Natural Resources
Look at the following data for crude oil.


Region/Country Reserves (2013) Number of Years
(Thousand Million Barrels) Reserves will last
Middle East 808.5 78.1
United States of America 44.2 12.1
World 1687.9 53.3
Source : BP Statistical Review of World Energy, June 2014
The table gives an estimate of reserves of crude oil (column1). More
important, it also tells us for how many years the stock of crude oil will
last if people continue to extract it at the present rate. The reserves would
last only 53 years more. This is for the world as a whole. However, different
countries face different situations. Countries like India depend on
importing oil from abroad because they do not have enough stocks of
their own. If prices of oil increase this becomes a burden for everyone.
There are countries like USA which have low reserves and hence want
to secure oil through military or economic power.
The question of sustainability of development raises many
fundamentally new issues about the nature and process of development.
(a) Is crude oil essential for the development process in a country? Discuss.
(b) India has to import crude oil. What problems do you anticipate for the
country looking at the above situation?


Consequences of environmental social scientists are working
degradation do not respect national together.
or state boundaries; this issue is In general, the question of
no longer region or nation specific. development or progress is perennial.
Our future is linked together. At all times as a member of society
Sustainability of development is and as individuals we need to ask
comparatively a new area of where we want to go, what we wish to
knowledge in which scientists, become and what our goals are. So
economists, philosophers and other the debate on development continues.

1. Development of a country can generally be determined by
(i) its per capita income
(ii) its average literacy level
(iii) health status of its people
(iv) all the above
2. Which of the following neighbouring countries has better performance in terms of
human development than India?
(i) Bangladesh
(ii) Sri Lanka
(iii) Nepal
(iv) Pakistan
3. Assume there are four families in a country. The average per capita income of
these families is Rs 5000. If the income of three families is Rs 4000, Rs 7000
and Rs 3000 respectively, what is the income of the fourth family?
(i) Rs 7500
(ii) Rs 3000
(iii) Rs 2000
(iv) Rs 6000
4. What is the main criterion used by the World Bank in classifying different
countries? What are the limitations of this criterion, if any?
5. In what respects is the criterion used by the UNDP for measuring development
different from the one used by the World Bank?
6. Why do we use averages? Are there any limitations to their use? Illustrate with
your own examples related to development.
7. Kerala, with lower per capita income has a better human development ranking
than Maharashtra. Hence, per capita income is not a useful criterion at all and
should not be used to compare states. Do you agree? Discuss.
8. Find out the present sources of energy that are used by the people in India. What
could be the other possibilities fifty years from now?
9. Why is the issue of sustainability important for development?


10. “The Earth has enough resources to meet the needs of all but not enough to
satisfy the greed of even one person”. How is this statement relevant to the
disscusion of development? Discuss.
11. List a few examples of environmental degradation that you may have observed
around you.
12. For each of the items given in Table 1.6, find out which country is at the top and
which is at the bottom.
13. The following table shows the proportion of undernourished adults in India. It is
based on a survey of various states for the year 2001. Look at the table and
answer the following questions.

State Male Female

(%) (%)
Kerala 22 19
Karnataka 36 38
Madhya Pradesh 43 42
All States 37 36

(i) Compare the nutritional level of people in Kerala and Madhya Pradesh.
(ii) Can you guess why around 40 per cent of people in the country are
undernourished even though it is argued that there is enough food in the
country? Describe in your own words.


Invite three dif ferent speakers to talk to you about the development of your region. Ask
them all the questions that come to your mind. Discuss these ideas in groups. Each
group should prepare a wall chart, giving reasons about ideas that you agree or do
not agree with.


Most regions of the world are getting increasingly of trade and investment policies and, pressures
interconnected. While this interconnectedness from international organisations such as the
across countries has many dimensions — WTO. Improvement in technology is a fascinating
cultural, political, social and economic — this area for students and you may, with a few
chapter looks at globalisation in a more limited directions, encourage them to do their own
sense. It defines globalisation as the integration explorations. While discussing liberalisation, you
between countries through foreign trade and have to keep in mind that the students are
foreign investments by multinational unaware of what India was like in the
corporations (MNCs). As you will notice, the more pre-liberalisation era. A role-play could be
complex issues of portfolio investment have been conceived to compare and contrast the pre and
left out. post-liberalisation era. Similarly, international
negotiations under WTO and the uneven
If we look at the past thirty years or so, we
balances in power are interesting subjects that
find that MNCs have been a major force in the
can be covered in a discussion mode rather than
globalisation process connecting distant regions
as lectures.
of the world. Why are the MNCs spreading their
production to other countries and what are the The final section covers the impact of
ways in which they are doing so? The first part globalisation. To what extent has globalisation
of the chapter discusses this. Rather than contributed to the development process? This
relying on quantitative estimates, the rapid rise section draws on the topics covered in Chapters
and influence of the MNCs has been shown 1 and 2 (for example, what is a fair development
through a variety of examples, mainly drawn goal), which you can refer to. Also, examples and
from the Indian context. Note that the examples activities drawn from the local environment are
are an aid to explain a more general point. While a must while discussing this section. This might
teaching, the emphasis should be on the ideas include contexts that have not been covered in
and examples are to be used as illustrations. the chapter, such as the impact of imports on
You can also creatively use comprehension local farmers, etc. Collective brainstorming
passages like the one given after Section II to sessions can be conducted to analyse such
test and reinforce new concepts. situations.
Integration of production and integration of Sources for Information
markets is a key idea behind understanding the
process of globalisation and its impact. This has The call for a fairer globalisation has been given,
been dealt with at length in this chapter, among others, by the International Labour
highlighting the role of MNCs in the process. You Organisation — Another interesting
have to ensure that the students grasp this idea resource is the WTO website
with sufficient clarity, before moving on to the It gives access to the variety of agreements that
next topic. are being negotiated at the WTO. For company
related information, most MNCs have their own
Globalisation has been facilitated by several websites. If you want to critically look at
factors. Three of these have been highlighted: the MNCs, one recommended website is
rapid improvements in technology, liberalisation



As consumers in today’s world, some
of us have a wide choice of goods and
services before us. The latest models
of digital cameras, mobile phones and
televisions made by the leading
manufacturers of the world are within
our reach. Every season, new models
of automobiles can be seen on Indian
roads. Gone are the days when
Ambassador and Fiat were the only
cars on Indian roads. Today, Indians
are buying cars produced by nearly
all the top companies in the world. A
similar explosion of brands can be
seen for many other goods: from shirts
to televisions to processed fruit juices.
Such wide-ranging choice of goods
in our markets is a relatively recent
phenomenon. You wouldn’t have
found such a wide variety of goods in
Indian markets even two decades
back. In a matter of years, our
markets have been transformed!
How do we understand these
rapid transformations? What are the
factors that are bringing about these
changes? And, how are these changes
affecting the lives of the people?
We shall dwell on these questions in
this chapter.

Until the middle of the twentieth multinational corporations (MNCs)
century, production was largely emerged on the scene. A MNC is a
organised within countries. What company that owns or controls
crossed the boundaries of these production in more than one nation.
countries were raw materials, food MNCs set up offices and factories for
stuff and finished products. Colonies production in regions where they can
such as India exported raw materials get cheap labour and other resources.
and food stuff and imported finished This is done so that the cost of
goods. Trade was the main channel production is low and the MNCs can
connecting distant countries. This was earn greater profits. Consider the
before large companies called following example.

Spreading of Production
by an MNC
A large MNC, producing industrial equipment, designs its
products in research centres in the United States, and then
has the components manufactured in China. These are then
shipped to Mexico and Eastern Europe where the products
are assembled and the finished products are sold all over the
world. Meanwhile, the company’s customer care is carried out
through call centres located in India.

This is a call centre in Bangalore, equipped with telecom facilities and access to
Internet to provide information and support to customers abroad.


In this example the MNC is not only for their closeness to the markets
selling its finished products globally, in the US and Europe. India has
but more important, the goods and highly skilled engineers who can
services are produced globally. As understand the technical aspects of
a result, production is organised in production. It also has educated
increasingly complex ways. The English speaking youth who can
production process is divided into provide customer care services. And
small parts and spread out across the all this probably can mean 50-60 per
globe. In the above example, China cent cost-savings for the MNC!
provides the advantage of being a The advantage of spreading out
cheap manufacturing location. production across the borders to the
Mexico and Eastern Europe are useful multinationals can be truly immense.


Complete the following statement to show how the production process in the garment
industry is spread across countries.
The brand tag says ‘Made in Thailand’ but they are not Thai products. We dissect
the manufacturing process and look for the best solution at each step. We are
doing it globally. In making garments, the company may, for example, get cotton
fibre from Korea, ........



In general, MNCs set up production At times, MNCs set up production

where it is close to the markets; where jointly with some of the local
there is skilled and unskilled labour companies of these countries. The
available at low costs; and where the benefit to the local company of such
availability of other factors of joint production is two-fold. First,
production is assured. In addition, MNCs can provide money for
MNCs might look for government additional investments, like buying
policies that look after their interests. new machines for faster production.
You will read more about the policies Second, MNCs might bring with them WE WILL SHIFT
later in the chapter. the latest technology for production. THIS FACTORY TO
Having assured themselves of these IT HAS BECOME
conditions, MNCs set up factories and EXPENSIVE HERE!
offices for production. The money that
is spent to buy assets such as land,
building, machines and other
equipment is called investment.
Investment made by MNCs is called
foreign investment. Any investment
is made with the hope that these
assets will earn profits.


But the most common route for
MNC investments is to buy up local
companies and then to expand
production. MNCs with huge wealth
can quite easily do so. To take an
example, Cargill Foods, a very large
American MNC, has bought over
smaller Indian companies such as
Parakh Foods. Parakh Foods had
built a large marketing network in
various parts of India, where its brand
was well-reputed. Also, Parakh Foods
had four oil refineries, whose control
has now shifted to Cargill. Cargill is
now the largest producer of edible oil
in India, with a capacity to make 5
million pouches daily!
In fact, many of the top MNCs
have wealth exceeding the entire
budgets of the developing country Jeans produced in developing countries being
sold in USA for Rs 6500 ($145)
governments. With such enormous
wealth, imagine the power and
influence of these MNCs!
There’s another way in which The products are supplied to the
MNCs control production. Large MNCs, which then sell these under
MNCs in developed countries place their own brand names to the
orders for production with small customers. These large MNCs have
producers. Garments, footwear, tremendous power to determine price,
sports items are examples of quality, delivery, and labour
industries where production is conditions for these distant
carried out by a large number of producers.
small producers around the world. Thus, we see that there are a
Women at home in Ludhiana making footballs for large MNCs
variety of ways in which the MNCs are
spreading their production and
interacting with local producers in
various countries across the globe. By
setting up partnerships with local
companies, by using the local
companies for supplies, by closely
competing with the local companies
or buying them up, MNCs are exerting
a strong influence on production
at these distant locations. As a
result, production in these widely
dispersed locations is getting


Ford Motors, an American Read the passage on the left and answer the questions.
company, is one of the 1. Would you say Ford Motors is a MNC? Why?
world’s largest 2. What is foreign investment? How much did Ford Motors invest in India?
automobile manufacturers
3. By setting up their production plants in India, MNCs such as Ford
with production spread
Motors tap the advantage not only of the large markets that countries
over 26 countries of the such as India provide, but also the lower costs of production. Explain
world. Ford Motors came the statement.
to India in 1995 and
4. Why do you think the company wants to develop India as a base for
spent Rs. 1700 crore to manufacturing car components for its global operations? Discuss the
set up a large plant near following factors:
Chennai. This was done (a) cost of labour and other resources in India
in collaboration with (b) the presence of several local manufacturers who supply auto-
Mahindra and Mahindra, parts to Ford Motors
a major Indian (c) closeness to a large number of buyers in India and China
manufacturer of jeeps 5. In what ways will the production of cars by Ford Motors in India lead to
and trucks. By the year interlinking of production?
2004, Ford Motors was 6. In what ways is a MNC different from other companies?
selling 27,000 cars in the
Indian markets, 7. Nearly all major multinationals are American, Japanese or European,
such as Nike, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Honda, Nokia. Can you guess why?
while 24,000 cars were
exported from India to
South Africa, Mexico and
Brazil. The company
wants to develop Ford
India as a component
supplying base for its
other plants across the
Cars made by Indian workers being
transported to be sold abroad by MNCs.


For a long time foreign trade has been To put it simply, foreign trade
the main channel connecting creates an opportunity for the
countries. In history you would have producers to reach beyond the
read about the trade routes domestic markets, i.e., markets of their
connecting India and South Asia to own countries. Producers can sell their
markets both in the East and West produce not only in markets located
and the extensive trade that took place within the country but can also
along these routes. Also, you would compete in markets located in other
remember that it was trading interests countries of the world. Similarly, for the
which attracted various trading buyers, import of goods produced in
companies such as the East India another country is one way of
Company to India. What then is the expanding the choice of goods beyond
basic function of foreign trade? what is domestically produced.

fect of foreign tr
Let us see the ef ys
ple of Chinese to
through the exam arkets.
in the Indian m

Chinese Toys in India

Chinese manufacturers learn What is happening here? As a
of an opportunity to export toys result of trade, Chinese toys
to India, where toys are sold at come into the Indian markets.
a high price. They start In the competition between
exporting plastic toys to India. Indian and Chinese toys,
Buyers in India now have the Chinese toys prove better.
option of choosing between Indian buyers have a greater
Indian and the Chinese toys. choice of toys and at lower
Because of the cheaper prices prices. For the Chinese toy
and new designs, Chinese toys makers, this provides an
become more popular in the opportunity to expand business.
Indian markets. Within a year, The opposite is true for Indian
70 to 80 per cent of the toy toy makers. They face losses,
shops have replaced Indian as their toys are selling
toys with Chinese toys. Toys much less.
are now cheaper in the Indian
markets than earlier.


In general, with the opening of
trade, goods travel from one market
to another. Choice of goods in the
markets rises. Prices of similar goods
in the two markets tend to become
equal. And, producers in the two
countries now closely compete against
each other even though they are
separated by thousands of miles!
Foreign trade thus results in
connecting the markets or
integration of markets in different
Small traders of readymade garments facing stiff
competition from both the MNC brands and imports.


1. What was the main channel connecting countries in the past? How is it different
2. Distinguish between foreign trade and foreign investment.
3. In recent years China has been importing steel from India. Explain how the import
of steel by China will affect.
(a) steel companies in China.
(b) steel companies in India.
(c) industries buying steel for production of other industrial goods in China.
4. How will the import of steel from India into the Chinese markets lead to integration
of markets for steel in the two countries? Explain.

In the past two to three decades, more
and more MNCs have been looking for
locations around the world which
would be cheap for their production.
Foreign investment by MNCs in these BE CAREFUL! THAT’S
countries has been rising. At the same OUR WORLD YOU’RE
time, foreign trade between countries PLAYING WITH!
has been rising rapidly. A large part HAVE TO PAY THE
of the foreign trade is also controlled PRICE!
by MNCs. For instance, the car
manufacturing plant of Ford Motors GLOBALISATION
in India not only produces cars for the
Indian markets, it also exports cars
to other developing countries and
exports car components for its many
factories around the world. Likewise,
activities of most MNCs involve
substantial trade in goods and also

The result of greater foreign contact with each other than a few
investment and greater foreign trade decades back.
has been greater integration of
Besides the movements of goods,
production and markets across
services, investments and technology,
countries. Globalisation is this
there is one more way in which the
process of rapid integration or
countries can be connected. This is
interconnection between countries.
through the movement of people
MNCs are playing a major role in
between countries. People usually
the globalisation process. More
move from one country to another in
and more goods and services,
search of better income, better jobs or
investments and technology are
better education. In the past few
moving between countries. Most
decades, however, there has not been
regions of the world are in closer
much increase in the movement of
people between countries due to
LET’S WORK THESE OUT various restrictions.

1. What is the role of MNCs in the globalisation process?

2. What are the various ways in which countries can be
3. Choose the correct option.
Globalisation, by connecting countries, shall result in
(a) lesser competition among producers.
(b) greater competition among producers.
(c) no change in competition among producers. ...WE’VE SEEN GREAT IMPROVEMENTS


Rapid improvement in technology has been one major factor that has
stimulated the globalisation process. For instance, the past fifty years have
seen several improvements in transportation technology. This has made much
faster delivery of goods across long distances possible at lower costs.

Containers for
transport of goods
Goods are placed in containers
that can be loaded intact onto
ships, railways, planes and trucks.
Containers have led to huge
reduction in port handling costs
and increased the speed with
which exports can reach markets.
Similarly, the cost of air transport
has fallen. This has enabled much
greater volumes of goods being
transported by airlines.


Even more remarkable have been amazing world of internet, where you
the developments in information and can obtain and share information on
communication technology. In almost anything you want to know.
recent times, technology in the areas Internet also allows us to send instant
of telecommunications, computers, electronic mail (e-mail) and talk
Internet has been changing rapidly. (voice-mail) across the world at
Telecommunication facilities (tele- negligible costs.
graph, telephone including mobile
phones, fax) are used to contact one
another around the world, to access
information instantly, and to ...BUT WHERE
communicate from remote areas. This IS THE
has been facilitated by satellite
communication devices. As you
would be aware, computers have now
entered almost every field of activity.
You might have also ventured into the

n technology
d communicatio
Info rm ation an
t) ha s played a major
role in Using IT in
(o r IT in sh or
spreading out pr
oduction of se
e how.
s. Let us se
across countrie
A news magazine published for London
readers is to be designed and printed in
Delhi. The text of the magazine is sent
through Internet to the Delhi office. The
designers in the Delhi office get
orders on how to design the magazine
from the office in London using
telecommunication facilities. The
designing is done on a computer. After
printing, the magazines are sent by air
to London. Even the payment of money
for designing and printing from a bank
in London to a bank in Delhi is done
instantly through the Internet


1. In the above example, underline the
words describing the use of
technology in production.
MAGAZINE. BUT WHY ISN’T MY 2. How is information technology
TEXTBOOK PRINTED LIKE NO, MY CHILD! THIS connected with globalisation? Would
THIS? I CAN HARDLY READ PRINTING PRESS IS NOT globalisation have been possible


Liberalisation of foreign trade of only essential items such as
and foreign investment machinery, fertilisers, petroleum
policy etc. Note that all developed
countries, during the early stages of
Let us return to the example of imports
development, have given protection to
of Chinese toys in India. Suppose the
domestic producers through a variety
Indian government puts a tax on
of means.
import of toys. What would happen?
Those who wish to import these toys Starting around 1991, some far-
would have to pay tax on this. reaching changes in policy were made
Because of the tax, buyers will have in India. The government decided that
to pay a higher price on imported toys. the time had come for Indian
Chinese toys will no longer be as producers to compete with producers
cheap in the Indian markets and around the globe. It felt that
imports from China will automatically competition would improve the
reduce. Indian toy-makers will performance of producers within the
prosper. country since they would have to
improve their quality. This decision
Tax on imports is an example of
was supported by powerful
trade barrier. It is called a barrier
international organisations.
because some restriction has been set
up. Governments can use trade Thus, barriers on foreign trade and
barriers to increase or decrease foreign investment were removed to a
(regulate) foreign trade and to decide large extent. This meant that goods
what kinds of goods and how much could be imported and exported
of each, should come into the country. easily and also foreign companies
could set up factories and offices
The Indian government, after
Independence, had put barriers to
foreign trade and foreign investment. Removing barriers or restrictions
This was considered necessary to set by the government is what is
protect the producers within the known as liberalisation. With
country from foreign competition. liberalisation of trade, businesses are
Industries were just coming up in the allowed to make decisions freely
1950s and 1960s, and competition about what they wish to import or
from imports at that stage would not export. The government imposes
have allowed these industries to come much less restrictions than before
up. Thus, India allowed imports and is therefore said to be more


1. What do you understand by liberalisation of foreign trade?
2. Tax on imports is one type of trade barrier. The government could also place a limit on
the number of goods that can be imported. This is known as quotas. Can you explain,
using the example of Chinese toys, how quotas can be used as trade barriers?
Do you think this should be used? Discuss.


We have seen that the liberalisation of rules regarding international trade,
foreign trade and investment in India and sees that these rules are obeyed.
was supported by some very powerful Nearly 160 countries of the world are
international organisations. These currently members of the WTO (as on
organisations say that all barriers to June 2014).
foreign trade and investment are
harmful. There should be no barriers. Though WTO is supposed to allow
Trade between countries should be free trade for all, in practice, it is seen
‘free’. All countries in the world should that the developed countries have
liberalise their policies. unfairly retained trade barriers. On
the other hand, WTO rules have forced
World Trade Organisation (WTO) is the developing countries to remove
one such organisation whose aim is trade barriers. An example of this is
to liberalise international trade. the current debate on trade in
Started at the initiative of the agricultural products.
developed countries, WTO establishes

Debate on Trade Practices

You have seen in Chapter 2, that Developing countries are, therefore, asking the
the agriculture sector provides the developed country governments, “We have
bulk of employment and a reduced trade barriers as per WTO rules. But you
significant portion of the GDP in have ignored the rules of WTO and have
India. Compare this to a developed continued to pay your farmers vast sums of
country such as the US with the money. You have asked our governments to stop
share of agriculture in GDP at 1% supporting our farmers, but you are doing so
and its share in total employment yourselves. Is this free and fair trade?”
a tiny 0.5%! And yet this very
small percentage of people
who are engaged in A typical cotton farm in USA consists of thousands of acres owned by
a huge corporation that will sell cotton abroad at lowered prices.
agriculture in the US receive
massive sums of money from
the US government for
production and for exports to
other countries. Due to this
massive money that they
receive, US farmers can sell
the farm products at
abnormally low prices. The
surplus farm products are
sold in other country markets
at low prices, adversely
affecting farmers in these


1. Fill in the blanks.
WTO was started at the initiative of __________countries. The aim of the WTO is to
____________________. WTO establishes rules regarding ________________ for
all countries, and sees that ___________________ In practice, trade between countries
is not ______________________________. Developing countries like India have
___________________, whereas developed countries, in many cases, have continued
to provide protection to their producers.

2. What do you think can be done so that trade between countries is more fair?
3. In the above example, we saw that the US government gives massive sums of money
to farmers for production. At times, governments also give support to promote production
of certain types of goods, such as those which are environmentally friendly. Discuss
whether these are fair or not.


In the last twenty years, globalisation Among producers and workers,
of the Indian economy has come a the impact of globalisation has not
long way. What has been its effect on been uniform.
the lives of people? Let us look at
some of the evidence. Firstly, MNCs have increased their
investments in India over the past 20
Globalisation and greater years, which means investing in India
competition among producers - both has been beneficial for them. MNCs
local and foreign producers - has been have been interested in industries
of advantage to consumers, such as cell phones, automobiles,
particularly the well-off sections in the electronics, soft drinks, fast food or
urban areas. There is greater choice services such as banking in urban
before these consumers who now areas. These products have a large
enjoy improved quality and lower number of well-off buyers. In these
prices for several products. As a result, industries and services, new jobs have
these people today, enjoy much been created. Also, local companies
higher standards of living than was supplying raw materials, etc. to these
possible earlier. industries have prospered.

Steps to Attract Foreign Investment
In recent years, the central and state rights. In the recent years, the government
governments in India are taking special has allowed companies to ignore many of
steps to attract foreign companies to these. Instead of hiring workers on a
invest in India. Industrial zones, called regular basis, companies hire workers
Special Economic Zones (SEZs), are ‘flexibly’ for short periods when there is
being set up. SEZs are to have world class intense pressure of work. This is done to
facilities: electricity, water, roads, reduce the cost of labour for the company.
transport, storage, recreational and However, still not satisfied, foreign
educational facilities. Companies who set companies are demanding more flexibility
up production units in the SEZs do not in labour laws.
have to pay taxes for an initial period of NOW, WE
five years. ARE READY
Government has also allowed
flexibility in the labour laws to attract
foreign investment. You have seen in
Chapter 2 that the companies in the
organised sector have to obey certain
rules that aim to protect the workers’

Secondly, several of the top Indian are some Indian companies which
companies have been able to benefit are spreading their operations
from the increased competition. They worldwide.
have invested in newer technology and
Globalisation has also created
production methods and raised their
new opportunities for companies
production standards. Some have
providing services, particularly those
gained from successful collaborations
involving IT. The Indian company
with foreign companies.
producing a magazine for the London
Moreover, globalisation has based company and call centres are
enabled some large Indian companies some examples. Besides, a host of
to emerge as multinationals services such as data entry, account-
themselves! Tata Motors (auto- ing, administrative tasks, engineering
mobiles), Infosys (IT), Ranbaxy are now being done cheaply in
(medicines), Asian Paints (paints), countries such as India and are
Sundaram Fasteners (nuts and bolts) exported to the developed countries.


1. How has competition benefited people in India?
2. Should more Indian companies emerge as MNCs? How would it benefit the people in
the country?
3. Why do governments try to attract more foreign investment?
4. In Chapter 1, we saw what may be development for one may be destructive for others.
The setting of SEZs has been opposed by some people in India. Find out who are
these people and why are they opposing it.


Small producers: Compete or perish
For a large number of small producers and
workers globalisation has posed major

R is in g Co m pe ti ti on
Ravi did not expect that he wo
uld have use d to buy dif fer ent com
to face a crisis in such a sho pon ent s
rt period inc lud ing cap aci tor s in bul k
of his life as industrialist. Rav for the
i took a ma nu fac tur e of tel evi sio
loan from the bank to start n set s.
his own However, competition from the
company producing capacitors MNC
in 1992 bra nds for ced the Ind ian tele
in Hosur, an industrial town vis ion
in Tamil com pan ies to mo ve into ass
Nadu. Capacitors are used em blin g
in many activities for MNCs. Even wh
electronic home appliances inc en some
luding of them bought capacitors, the
tube lights, television etc. Wit y would
hin three pre fer to imp ort as the pri ce
yea rs, he wa s ab le to of the
exp an d imp ort ed ite m wa s ha lf the
pro du ctio n an d ha d 20 pri ce
wo rke rs charged by people like Ravi.
working under him.
His struggle to run his compan Ravi now produces less than
y started half the
wh en the gov ern me nt rem capacitors that he produced in
ove d the year
restrictions on imports of capaci 200 0 and has onl y sev en
tors as wo rke rs
per its agreement at WTO in 200 working for him. Many of Ravi’s
1. His friends
main clients, the television com in the same business in Hy
panies, derabad
and Chennai have closed the
ir units.

Batteries, capacitors, plastics, toys, tyres, dairy products, and

vegetable oil are some examples of industries where the small
manufacturers have been hit hard due to competition. Several of the
units have shut down rendering many workers jobless. The small
industries in India employ the largest number of workers (20 million)
in the country, next only to agriculture.


1. What are the ways in which Ravi’s small production unit was affected by rising competition?
2. Should producers such as Ravi stop production because their cost of production is higher compared to
producers in other countries? What do you think?
3. Recent studies point out that small producers in India need three things to compete better in the market
(a) better roads, power, water, raw materials, marketing and information network (b) improvements and
modernisation of technology (c) timely availability of credit at reasonable interest rates.
l Can you explain how these three things would help Indian producers?

l Do you think MNCs will be interested in investing in these? Why?

l Do you think the government has a role in making these facilities available? Why?

l Can you think of any other step that the government could take? Discuss.


Competition and Uncertain Employment
Globalisation and the pressure of competition have substantially changed the lives
of workers. Faced with growing competition, most employers these days prefer to
employ workers ‘flexibly’. This means that workers’ jobs are no longer secure.

Let us see how the workers in the garment export industry

in India are having to bear this pressure of competition.

Factory workers folding garments for export. Though globalisation has created opportunities for paid work for
women, the condition of employment shows that women are denied their fair share of benefits.

Large MNCs in the garment industry in

Europe and America order their products
A Garment Worker
from Indian exporters. These large MNCs 35 year old Sushila has spent
in gar me nt exp ort
with worldwide network look for the cheapest years as a worker
s em plo yed
goods in order to maximise their profits. To industry of Delhi. She wa
d to
get these large orders, Indian garment as a ‘permanent worker’ entitle
exporters try hard to cut their own costs. As health insurance, provident
ble rat e, wh en
cost of raw materials cannot be reduced, ove rtim e at a dou
in the late
exporters try to cut labour costs. Where Sushila’s factory closed
earlier a factory used to employ workers on 1990s. After searching for a job
a permanent basis, now they employ workers six months, she finally got a job
ere she live s. Eve n
only on a temporary basis so that they do km. away from wh
fac tor y for
not have to pay workers for the whole year. aft er wo rki ng in thi s
Workers also have to put in very long several years, she is a tempor
f of
working hours and work night shifts on a worker and ear ns less than hal
regular basis during the peak season. Wages wh at she wa s ear nin g ear
hou se eve ry
are low and workers are forced to work Su shi la lea ves her
at 7:3 0
overtime to make both ends meet. morning, seven days a week
A day
a.m. and returns at 10 p.m.
While this competition among the garment ans no wa ge. She
off from work me
s she use d
exporters has allowed the MNCs to make large has none of the benefit
to her
profits, workers are denied their fair share of to get earlier. Factories closer
benefits brought about by globalisation. home have widely fluctuating ord
and therefore pay eve n less .


The conditions of work and the hardships of the workers described above
have become common to many industrial units and services in India. Most
workers, today, are employed in the unorganised sector. Moreover, increasingly
conditions of work in the organised sector have come to resemble the
unorganised sector. Workers in the organised sector such as Sushila no longer
get the protection and benefits that they enjoyed earlier.


1. In what ways has competition affected workers, Indian exporters and foreign MNCs
in the garment industry?
2. What can be done by each of the following so that the workers can get a fair share
of benefits brought by globalisation?
(a) government
(b) employers at the exporting factories
(c) MNCs
(d) workers.
3. One of the present debates in India is whether companies should have flexible
policies for employment. Based on what you have read in the chapter, summarise
the point of view of the employers and workers.


The above evidence indicates that that labour laws are properly
not everyone has benefited from implemented and the workers get
globalisation. People with education, their rights. It can support small
skill and wealth have made the best producers to improve their
use of the new opportunities. On the performance till the time they become
other hand, there are many people strong enough to compete. If
who have not shared the benefits. necessary, the government can use
Since globalisation is now a trade and investment barriers. It can
reality, the question is how to negotiate at the WTO for ‘fairer rules’.
make globalisation more ‘fair’? It can also align with other developing
Fair globalisation would create countries with similar interests to
opportunities for all, and also ensure fight against the domination of
that the benefits of globalisation are developed countries in the WTO.
shared better. In the past few years, massive
The government can play a major campaigns and representation by
role in making this possible. Its people’s organisations have
policies must protect the interests, not influenced important decisions
only of the rich and the powerful, but relating to trade and investments at
all the people in the country. You have the WTO. This has demonstrated
read about some of the possible steps that people also can play an
that the government can take. For important role in the struggle for fair
instance, the government can ensure globalisation.

A demonstration against WTO in Hong Kong, 2005


In this chapter, we looked at the investment has facilitated

present phase of globalisation. globalisation by removing
Globalisation is the process of barriers to trade and
rapid integration of countries. investment. At the inter-
This is happening through national level, WTO has put
greater foreign trade and foreign pressure on developing coun-
investment. MNCs are playing a tries to liberalise trade and
major role in the globalisation investment.
process. More and more MNCs
While globalisation has
are looking for locations around
benefited well-off consumers
the world that are cheap for their
and also producers with skill,
production. As a result,
education and wealth, many
production is being organised
small producers and workers
in complex ways.
have suffered as a result of the
Technology, particularly IT, rising competition. Fair
has played a big role in globalisation would create
organising production across opportunities for all, and also
countries. In addition, ensure that the benefits of
liberalisation of trade and globalisation are shared better.


1 What do you understand by globalisation? Explain in your own words.

2. What was the reasons for putting barriers to foreign trade and foreign investment by
the Indian government? Why did it wish to remove these barriers?

3. How would flexibility in labour laws help companies?

4. What are the various ways in which MNCs set up, or control, production in other

5. Why do developed countries want developing countries to liberalise their trade and
investment? What do you think should the developing countries demand in return?

6. “The impact of globalisation has not been uniform.” Explain this statement.

7. How has liberalisation of trade and investment policies helped the globalisation

8. How does foreign trade lead to integration of markets across countries? Explain
with an example other than those given here.

9. Globalisation will continue in the future. Can you imagine what the world would be
like twenty years from now? Give reasons for your answer.

10.Supposing you find two people arguing: One is saying globalisation has hurt our
country’s development. The other is telling, globalisation is helping India develop.
How would you respond to these arguments?

11. Fill in the blanks.

Indian buyers have a greater choice of goods than they did two decades back. This
is closely associated with the process of ______________. Markets in India are selling
goods produced in many other countries. This means there is increasing
______________ with other countries. Moreover, the rising number of brands that we
see in the markets might be produced by MNCs in India. MNCs are investing in India
because _____________ ___________________________________________ . While
consumers have more choices in the market, the effect of rising _______________
and ______________has meant greater _________________among the producers.

12.Match the following.

(i) MNCs buy at cheap rates from small (a) Automobiles
(ii) Quotas and taxes on imports are used to (b) Garments, footwear, sports
regulate trade items
(iii) Indian companies who have invested abroad (c) Call centres
(iv) IT has helped in spreading of (d) Tata Motors, Infosys, Ranbaxy
production of services
(v) Several MNCs have invested in setting (e) Trade barriers
up factories in India for production


13.Choose the most appropriate option.
(i) The past two decades of globalisation has seen rapid movements in
(a) goods, services and people between countries.
(b) goods, services and investments between countries.
(c) goods, investments and people between countries.
(ii) The most common route for investments by MNCs in countries around the
world is to
(a) set up new factories.
(b) buy existing local companies.
(c) form partnerships with local companies.
(iii) Globalisation has led to improvement in living conditions
(a) of all the people
(b) of people in the developed countries
(c) of workers in the developing countries
(d) none of the above


I. Take some branded products that we use everyday (soaps, toothpaste,
garments, electronic goods, etc.). Check which of these are produced by MNCs.
II. Take any Indian industry or service of your choice. Collect information and
photographs from newspapers, magazine clippings, books, television, internet,
interviews with people on the following aspects of the industry.
(i) Various producers/companies in the industry
(ii) Is the product exported to other countries
(iii) Are there MNCs among the producers
(iv) Competition in the industry
(v) Conditions of work in the industry
(vi) Has there been any major change in the industry in the past fifteen years
(vii) Problems that people in the industry face.



Money is a fascinating subject and full of familiar to your students. The other crucial
curiosities. It is important to capture this issue of credit is its availability to all,
element for the students. The history of especially the poor, and on reasonable
money and how various forms were used at terms. We need to emphasise that this is a
different times is an interesting story. At this right of the people and without which a large
stage the purpose is to allow students to section of them would be kept out of the
realise the social situation in which these development process. There are many
forms were used. Modern forms of money innovative interventions, such as that of
are linked to the banking system. This is the Grameen Bank, that students may be made
central idea of the first part of the chapter. familiar with but it is important to realise
that we don’t have answers to all questions.
The present situation in India, where
We need to find new ways and this is one of
newer forms of money are slowly spreading
the social challenges that developing
with computerisation of the banking system,
countries face.
offers many opportunities to students to
explore on their own. We need not get into a Sources for Information
formal discussion of the ‘functions of money’
but let it come up as questions. There are The data on formal and informal sector credit
certain areas that are not covered such as used in this chapter is drawn from the
‘creation of money’ (money multiplier) or the survey on rural debt by the National Sample
backing of the modern system that may be Survey Organisation (All India Debt and
discussed if you desire. Investment Survey, 70 th Round 2013,
conducted by NSSO. The information and
Credit is a crucial element in economic data on Grameen Bank is taken from
life and it is therefore important to first newspaper reports and websites. In order
understand this in a conceptual manner. to get the details of bank-related statistics
What are the aspects that one looks at in or a particular detail of a bank, you can log
any credit arrangement and how this affects on to the websites of Reserve Bank of
people is the main focus of the second part India ( and the concerned
of the chapter. The world around us offers banks. Data on self-help groups is provided
a tremendous variety of such arrangements on the website of National Bank for
and it would be ideal to explain these Agriculture and Rural Development
aspects of credit from situations that are (NABARD) (




The use of money spans a very large difficult it would be if the shoe
part of our everyday life. Look around manufacturer had to directly
you and you would easily be able to exchange shoes for wheat without the
identify several transactions involving use of money. He would have to look
money in any single day. Can you for a wheat growing farmer who not I DON’T NEED
make a list of these? In many of these only wants to sell wheat SHOES. I NEED
transactions, goods are being bought YOU SHOES but also wants to buy the CLOTHES.
and sold with the use of money. In FOR YOUR shoes in exchange.
some of these transactions, services WHEAT. That is, both parties
are being exchanged with money. For have to agree to
some, there might not be any actual sell and buy each
transfer of money taking place now others commodities.
but a promise to pay money later. This is known as
double coincidence
Have you ever wondered why
of wants. What a person
transactions are made in I WANT SHOES.
desires to sell is exactly what the
money? The reason is simple. BUT I DON’T HAVE
other wishes to buy. In a barter WHEAT.
A person holding money can easily
system where goods are directly
exchange it for any commodity or
exchanged without the use of money,
service that he or she might want.
double coincidence of wants is an
Thus everyone prefers to receive
essential feature.
payments in money and then
exchange the money for things that In contrast, in an economy where
they want. Take the case of a shoe money is in use, money by providing
manufacturer. He wants to sell shoes the crucial intermediate step
in the market and buy wheat. The eliminates the need for double
shoe manufacturer will first exchange coincidence of wants. It is no longer
shoes that he has produced for necessary for the shoe manufacturer
money, and then exchange the money to look for a farmer who will buy his
for wheat. Imagine how much more shoes and at the same time sell him

wheat. All he has to do is find a buyer
for his shoes. Once he has exchanged
his shoes for money, he can purchase
wheat or any other commodity in the
market. Since money acts as an
intermediate in the exchange process,
it is called a medium of exchange.


1. How does the use of money make it easier to exchange things?
2. Can you think of some examples of goods / services being exchanged or wages being
paid through barter?


We have seen that money is organisation is allowed to issue
something that can act as a medium currency. Moreover, the law legalises
of exchange in transactions. Before the use of rupee as a medium of
Early punch- the introduction of coins, a variety of payment that cannot be refused in
marked coins objects was used as money. For settling transactions in India. No
(may be 2500 example, since the very early ages, individual in India can legally refuse
years old)
Indians used grains and cattle as a payment made in rupees. Hence,
money. Thereafter came the use of the rupee is widely accepted as a
metallic coins — gold, silver, copper medium of exchange.
coins — a phase which continued well
into the last century. Deposits with Banks
coins The other form in which people hold
Currency money is as deposits with banks. At
Modern forms of money include a point of time, people need only some
currency — paper notes and coins. currency for their day-to-day needs.
Unlike the things that were used as For instance, workers who receive
money earlier, modern currency is not their salaries at the end of each month
made of precious metal such as gold, have extra cash at the beginning of
Tughlaq silver and copper. And unlike grain the month. What do people do with
and cattle, they are neither of this extra cash? They deposit it with
everyday use. The modern currency the banks by opening a bank
is without any use of its own. account in their name. Banks accept
Mohar the deposits and also pay an amount
Then, why is it accepted as a
as interest on the deposits. In this way
Akbar’s medium of exchange? It is accepted
reign people’s money is safe with the
as a medium of exchange because the
banks and it earns an amount as
currency is authorised by the
interest. People also have the
government of the country.
provision to withdraw the money as
In India, the Reserve Bank of India and when they require. Since the
issues currency notes on behalf of the deposits in the bank accounts can be
central government. As per Indian withdrawn on demand, these
law, no other individual or deposits are called demand deposits.
Modern coin


Demand deposits offer another made by cheques instead of cash.
interesting facility. It is this facility For payment through cheque, the
which lends it the essential payer who has an account with the
characteristics of money (that of a bank, makes out a cheque for a
medium of exchange). You would specific amount. A cheque is a
have heard of payments being paper instructing the bank to pay
a specific amount from the
person’s account to the person in
UNDERSTAND whose name the cheque has been

Cheque Payments
A shoe manufacturer, M. Salim has to make a payment to the leather supplier and writes
a cheque for a specific amount. This means that the shoe manufacturer instructs his
bank to pay this amount to the leather supplier. The leather supplier takes this cheque,
and deposits it in his own account in the bank. The money is transferred from one bank
account to another bank account in a couple of days. The transaction is complete without
any payment of cash.

Account number

Bank branch

Cheque number Coding used by banks

Thus we see that demand deposits You must remember the role that
share the essential features of money. the banks play here. But for the
The facility of cheques against demand banks, there would be no demand
deposits makes it possible to directly deposits and no payments by
settle payments without the use of cash. cheques against these deposits. The
Since demand deposits are accepted modern forms of money — currency
widely as a means of payment, along and deposits — are closely linked to
with currency, they constitute money the working of the modern banking
in the modern economy. system.


1. M. Salim wants to withdraw Rs 20,000 in cash for making payments. How would he
write a cheque to withdraw money?
2. Tick the correct answer.
After the transaction between Salim and Prem,
(i) Salim’s balance in his bank account increases, and Prem’s balance increases.
(ii) Salim’s balance in his bank account decreases and Prem’s balance increases.
(iii) Salim’s balance in his bank account increases and Prem’s balance decreases.
3. Why are demand deposits considered as money?


Let us take the story of banks further. huge demand for loans for various
What do the banks do with the economic activities. We shall read more
deposits which they accept from the about this in the following sections.
public? There is an interesting Banks make use of the deposits to
mechanism at work here. Banks keep meet the loan requirements of the
only a small proportion of their people. In this way, banks mediate
deposits as cash with themselves. For between those who have surplus
example, banks in India these days funds (the depositors) and those who
hold about 15 per cent of their are in need of these funds (the
deposits as cash. This is kept as borrowers). Banks charge a higher
provision to pay the depositors who interest rate on loans than what they
might come to withdraw money from offer on deposits. The difference
the bank on any given day. Since, on between what is charged from
any particular day, only some of its borrowers and what is paid to
many depositors come to withdraw depositors is their main source of
cash, the bank is able to manage with income.
this cash.
What do you think wo
uld happen
Banks use the major portion of the if all the depositors
went to ask
deposits to extend loans. There is a for their money at th
e same time?

People make People take
deposits loans

People make People repay

withdrawals and loans with
get interest interest


A large number of transactions in our day-to-day activities
involve credit in some form or the other. Credit (loan) refers to
an agreement in which the lender supplies the borrower with
money, goods or services in return for the promise of future
payment. Let us see how credit works through the following
two examples.

(1) Festival Season

It is festival season two months from now now and promises to pay him later.
and the shoe manufacturer, Salim, has Second, he obtains loan in cash from the
received an order from a large trader in large trader as advance payment for
town for 3,000 pairs of shoes to be 1000 pairs of shoes with a promise to
delivered in a month time. To complete deliver the whole order by the end of the
production on time, Salim has to hire a few month.
more workers for stitching and pasting
At the end of the month, Salim is able to
work. He has to purchase the raw
deliver the order, make a good profit, and
materials. To meet these expenses, Salim
repay the money that he had borrowed.
obtains loans from two sources. First, he
asks the leather supplier to supply leather

In this case, Salim obtains credit to meet the working

capital needs of production. The credit helps him to meet the
ongoing expenses of production, complete production on time,
and thereby increase his earnings. Credit therefore plays a
vital and positive role in this situation.

(2) Swapna’s Problem

Swapna, a small farmer, grows groundnut on her three
acres of land. She takes a loan from the moneylender
to meet the expenses of cultivation, hoping that her
harvest would help repay the loan. Midway through
the season the crop is hit by pests and the crop
fails. Though Swapna sprays her crops with
expensive pesticides, it makes little difference. She
is unable to repay the moneylender and the debt
grows over the year into a large amount. Next
year, Swapna takes a fresh loan for cultivation.
It is a normal crop this year. But the earnings
are not enough to cover the old loan.
She is caught in debt. She has to sell
a part of the land to pay off the debt.


In rural areas, the main demand In Swapna’s case, the failure of the
for credit is for crop production. Crop crop made loan repayment
production involves considerable impossible. She had to sell part of the
costs on seeds, fertilisers, pesticides, land to repay the loan. Credit, instead
water, electricity, repair of equipment, of helping Swapna improve her
etc. There is a minimum stretch of earnings, left her worse off. This is an
three to four months between the time example of what is commonly called
when the farmers buy these inputs debt-trap. Credit in this case pushes
and when they sell the crop. Farmers the borrower into a situation from
usually take crop loans at the which recovery is very painful.
beginning of the season and repay the
In one situation credit helps to
loan after harvest. Repayment of the
increase earnings and therefore the
loan is crucially dependent on the
person is better off than before. In
income from farming.
another situation, because of the
crop failure, credit
pushes the person into
LET’S WORK THESE OUT a debt trap. To repay
1. Fill the following table. her loan she has to sell
Salim Swapna
a portion of her land.
She is clearly much
Why did they need credit?
worse off than before.
What was the risk? Whether credit would
What was the outcome? be useful or not,
therefore, depends
2. Supposing Salim continues to get orders from traders. What would be on the risks in the
his position after 6 years? situation and whether
3. What are the reasons that make Swapna’s situation so risky? Discuss there is some support,
factors – pesticides; role of moneylenders; climate. in case of loss.

Every loan agreement specifies an repayment of the principal. In
interest rate which the borrower must addition, lenders may demand
pay to the lender along with the collateral (security) against loans.
Collateral is an asset that the
borrower owns (such as land,
building, vehicle, livestocks,
deposits with banks) and uses this
as a guarantee to a lender until
the loan is repaid. If the borrower
fails to repay the loan, the lender has
the right to sell the asset or collateral
to obtain payment. Property such as
land titles, deposits with banks,
livestock are some common examples
of collateral used for borrowing.

A House Loan
Megha has taken a loan of Rs 5 lakhs from the
bank to purchase a house. The annual interest
rate on the loan is 12 per cent and the loan is to
be repaid in 10 years in monthly instalments.
Megha had to submit to the bank, documents
showing her employment records and salary
before the bank agreed to give her the loan. The
bank retained as collateral the papers of the new
house, which will be returned to Megha only
when she repays the entire loan with interest.

Fill the following details of Megha’s housing loan.

Loan amount (in Rupees)
Duration of loan
Documents required
Interest rate
Mode of repayment

Interest rate, collateral and

documentation requirement, and the
mode of repayment together comprise
what is called the terms of credit. The
terms of credit vary substantially from
one credit arrangement to another.
They may vary depending on the
nature of the lender and the borrower.
The next section will provide examples
of the varying terms of credit in
different credit arrangements.


1. Why do lenders ask for collateral while lending?
2. Given that a large number of people in our country are poor, does it in any way
affect their capacity to borrow?
3. Fill in the blanks choosing the correct option from the brackets.
While taking a loan, borrowers look for easy terms of credit. This
means __________ (low/high) interest rate, ______________(easy/
tough) conditions for repayment, ___________(less/more) collateral
and documentation requirements.


Variety of Credit Arrangements
Example of a Village
Rohit and Ranjan had finished reading about the terms of credit in class.
They were eager to know the various credit arrangements that existed in
their area: who were the people who provided credit? Who were the
borrowers? What were the terms of credit? They decided to talk to some
people in their village. Read what they record...

15th Nov, 200

6. rm er s a n d
r th e fi el d s w h er e m o s t fa The fields
W e h ea d d ir ec
tl y fo e of the day.
ou ld be w or king at this tim eet Shyamal, a small
labourers w We first m
re pl an te d w it h potato crops. d village.
a te
r, a small irriga
farmer in Sonpu We next meet Arun who is supervising the
work of one farm labourer. Arun has seven
Shyamal tells us that every season he needs acres of land. He is one of the few persons
loans for cultivation on his 1.5 acres of land. Till in Sonpur to receive bank loan for
a few years back, he would borrow money from cultivation. The interest rate on the loan
the village moneylender at an interest rate of is 8.5 per cent per annum, and can be repaid
five per cent per month (60% per annum). anytime in the next three years. Arun plans
For the last few years, Shyamal has been to repay the loan after harvest by selling a
borrowing from an agricultural trader in the part of the crop. He then intends to store
village at an interest rate of three per cent the rest of the potatoes in a cold storage
per month. At the beginning of the cropping and apply for a fresh loan from the bank
season, the trader supplies the farm inputs on against the cold storage receipt. The bank
credit, which is to be repaid when the crops offers this facility to farmers who have
are ready for harvest. taken crop loan from them.
Besides the interest charge on the loan, the
trader also makes the farmers promise to R ama is working in a neigh
bouring field. She
sell the crop to him. This way the trader works as an agricultura
l labourer. There are
can ensure that the money is repaid several months in the ye
ar when Rama has
promptly. Also, since the crop prices are low no work, and needs credit
to meet the daily
after the harvest, the trader is able to expenses. Expenses on
sudden illnesses or
make a profit from buying the crop at a low functions in the family ar
e also met through
price from the farmers and then selling it loans. Rama has to depe
nd on her employer,
later when the price has risen. a medium landowner in
Sonpur, for credit.
The landowner charges
an interest rate of
5 per cent per month.
money by working for th ma repays the
e landowner. Most
of the time, Rama has to
take a fresh loan,
before the previous loa
n has been repaid.
At pr es en t, sh e ow es
th e lan do wn er
Rs 5,000. Though the
landowner doesn’t
treat her well, she continu
es to work for him
since she can get loans
from him when in
need. Rama tells us that
credit for the landless pe e only source of
ople in Sonpur are
the landowner-employers.

Loans from Cooperatives
Besides banks, the other major source of cheap credit
in rural areas are the cooperative societies (or
cooperatives). Members of a cooperative pool their
resources for cooperation in certain areas. There are
several types of cooperatives possible such as
farmers cooperatives, weavers cooperatives,
industrial workers cooperatives, etc. Krishak
Cooperative functions in a village not very far away
from Sonpur. It has 2300 farmers as members. It
accepts deposits from its members. With these
deposits as collateral, the Cooperative has obtained
a large loan from the bank. These funds are used to
provide loans to members. Once these loans are
repaid, another round of lending can take place.
Krishak Cooperative provides loans for the purchase
of agricultural implements, loans for cultivation
and agricultural trade, fishery loans, loans for
construction of houses and for a variety of other


1. List the various sources of credit in Sonpur.
2. Underline the various uses of credit in Sonpur in the above passages.
3. Comp are the terms of credit for the small farmer, the medium farmer and the landless
agricultural worker in Sonpur.
4. Why will Arun have a higher income from cultivation compared to Shyamal?
5. Can everyone in Sonpur get credit at a cheap rate? Who are the people who can?
6. Tick the correct answer.
(i) Over the years, Rama’s debt
· will rise.
· will remain constant.
· will decline.
(ii) Arun is one of the few people in Sonpur to take a bank loan because
· other people in the village prefer to borrow from the moneylenders.
· banks demand collateral which everyone cannot provide.
· interest rate on bank loans is same as the interest rate charged by
the traders.
7. Talk to some people to find out the credit arrangements that exist in your area. Record
your conversation. Note the differences in the terms of credit across people.


We have seen in the
above examples that Graph 1 : Sources of Credit per Rs 1000
people obtain loans from of Rural Households in India in 2012
various sources. The
Other non
various types of loans Institutional Government 1%
can be conveniently Agencies 2%

grouped as formal Relatives and

sector loans and Friends 8%
informal sector loans. Society/Bank 25%
Among the former
are loans from banks Money Lender
and cooperatives. The 33%
informal lenders include Commercial
Bank 25%
moneylenders, traders,
employers, relatives and
friends, etc. In Graph 1 Land Lord 1%
Other Institutional
you can see the various Agencies 5%
sources of credit to rural
households in India. Is more credit the RBI sees that the banks give loans
coming from the formal sector or the not just to profit-making businesses
informal sector? and traders but also to small
cultivators, small scale industries, to
The Reserve Bank of India
small borrowers etc. Periodically,
supervises the functioning of formal
banks have to submit information to
sources of loans. For instance, we
the RBI on how much they are
have seen that the banks maintain a
lending, to whom, at what interest
minimum cash balance out of the
rate, etc.
deposits they receive. The RBI
monitors the banks in actually There is no organisation which
maintaining cash balance. Similarly, supervises the credit activities of
lenders in the informal sector. They
BUT WHY SHOULD can lend at whatever interest rate they

choose. There is no one to stop them Formal and Informal Credit:
from using unfair means to get their Who gets what?
money back.
Graph 2 shows the importance of
Compared to the formal lenders, formal and informal sources of credit
most of the informal lenders charge a
for people in urban areas. The people
much higher interest on loans. Thus, are divided into four groups, from
the cost to the borrower of informal poor to rich, as shown in the figure.
loans is much higher. You can see that 85 per cent of the
Higher cost of borrowing means a loans taken by poor households in the
larger part of the earnings of the urban areas are from informal
borrowers is used to repay the loan. sources. Compare this with the rich
Hence, borrowers have less income urban households. What do you
left for themselves (as we saw for find? Only 10 per cent of their loans
Shyamal in Sonpur). In certain are from informal sources, while 90
cases, the high interest rate for per cent are from formal sources. A
borrowing can mean that the amount similar pattern is also found in rural
to be repaid is greater than the areas. The rich households are
income of the borrower. This could availing cheap credit from formal
lead to increasing debt (as we saw for lenders whereas the poor households
Rama in Sonpur) and debt trap. Also, have to pay a large amount for
people who might wish to start an borrowing.
enterprise by borrowing may not do What does all this suggest? First,
so because of the high cost of the formal sector still meets only about
borrowing. half of the total credit needs of the
For these reasons, banks and rural people. The remaining credit
cooperative societies need to lend needs are met from informal sources.
more. This would lead
to higher incomes Graph 2 : Of all the loans taken by urban housholds, what
and many people percentage was formal and what percentage was informal?
could then borrow
cheaply for a variety
of needs. They 15% 10%
could grow crops, do 28%
business, set up 53% 47%
85% 72% 90%
small-scale industries
etc. They could set up
new industries or poor households well-off rich
trade in goods. Cheap housholds with few assets households households
and affordable credit
is crucial for the
BLUE : Per cent of loans from the INFORMAL sector
country’s develop-
ment. PURPLE : Per cent of loans from the FORMAL sector


Most loans from informal lenders Secondly, while formal sector
carry a very high interest rate and do loans need to expand, it is also
little to increase the income of the necessary that everyone receives
borrowers. Thus, it is necessary these loans. At present, it is the richer
that banks and cooperatives households who receive formal credit
increase their lending particularly whereas the poor have to depend on
in the rural areas, so that the the informal sources. It is important
dependence on informal sources that the formal credit is distributed
of credit reduces. more equally so that the poor can
benefit from the cheaper loans.


1. What are the differences between formal and informal sources of credit?
2. Why should credit at reasonable rates be available for all?
3. Should there be a supervisor, such as the Reserve Bank of India, that looks into the
loan activities of informal lenders? Why would its task be quite difficult?
4. Why do you think that the share of formal sector credit is higher for the richer households
compared to the poorer households?
A worker
stitching a quilt




In the previous section we have seen documents and collateral. Absence of
that poor households are still collateral is one of the major reasons
dependent on informal sources of which prevents the poor from getting
credit. Why is it so? Banks are not bank loans. Informal lenders such as
present everywhere in rural India. moneylenders, on the other hand,
Even when they are present, getting a know the borrowers personally and
loan from a bank is much more hence are often willing to give a
difficult than taking a loan from loan without collateral. The borrowers
informal sources. As we saw for can, if necessary, approach the
Megha, bank loans require proper moneylenders even without repaying


their earlier loans. However, the to be granted — the purpose, amount,
moneylenders charge very high rates interest to be charged, repayment
of interest, keep no records of the schedule etc. Also, it is the group
transactions and harass the poor which is responsible for the repayment
borrowers. of the loan. Any case of non-
repayment of loan by any one
In recent years, people have tried
member is followed up seriously by
out some newer ways of providing
other members in the group. Because
loans to the poor. The idea is to
of this feature, banks are willing to
organise rural poor, in particular
lend to the poor women when
women, into small Self Help Groups
organised in SHGs, even though they
(SHGs) and pool (collect) their
have no collateral as such.
savings. A typical SHG has 15-20
members, usually belonging to one Thus, the SHGs help borrowers
neighbourhood, who meet and save overcome the problem of lack of
regularly. Saving per member varies collateral. They can get timely loans
from Rs 25 to Rs 100 or more, for a variety of purposes and at a
depending on the ability of the people reasonable interest rate. Moreover,
to save. Members can take small loans SHGs are the building blocks of
from the group itself to meet their organisation of the rural poor. Not
needs. The group charges interest on only does it help women to become
these loans but this is still less than financially self-reliant, the regular
what the moneylender charges. After meetings of the group provide a
a year or two, if the group is regular platform to discuss and act on a
in savings, it becomes eligible for variety of social issues such as health,
availing loan from the bank. nutrition, domestic violence, etc.
Loan is sanctioned in the
name of the group and is A women’s self-help group
meeting in Gujarat
meant to create self-
employment opportunities
for the members. For
instance, small loans are
provided to the members for
releasing mortgaged land,
for meeting working capital
needs (e.g. buying seeds,
fertilisers, raw materials
like bamboo and cloth), for
housing materials, for
acquiring assets like sewing
machine, handlooms, cattle,
Most of the important
decisions regarding the
savings and loan activities
are taken by the group
members. The group
decides as regards the loans


Grameen Bank of Bangladesh
Grameen Bank of Bangladesh is one of the
biggest success stories in reaching the poor to “If credit can be made available to
meet their credit needs at reasonable rates. the poor people on terms and
Started in the 1970s as a small project, conditions that are appropriate and
Grameen Bank in October 2014 has over 8.63 reasonable these millions of small
million members in about 81,390 villages spread people with their millions of small
across Bangladesh. Almost all of the borrowers pursuits can add up to create the
are women and belong to poorest sections of biggest development wonder.”
the society. These borrowers have proved that Professor Muhammad Yunus,
not only are poor women reliable borrowers, but the founder of Grameen Bank,
that they can start and run a variety of small and recipient of 2006 Nobel Prize for Peace
income-generating activities successfully.

In this chapter we have looked at the credit vary substantially between
modern forms of money and how they formal and informal lenders. At
are linked with the banking system. present, it is the richer households
On one side are the depositors who who receive credit from formal sources
keep their money in the banks and on whereas the poor have to depend on
the other side are the borrowers who the informal sources. It is essential
take loans from these banks. Economic that the total formal sector credit
activities require loans or credit. Credit, increases so that the dependence on
as we saw can have a positive impact, the more expensive informal credit
or in certain situations make the becomes less. Also, the poor should
borrower worse off. get a much greater share of formal
Credit is available from a variety of loans from banks, cooperative
sources. These can be either formal societies etc. Both these steps are
sources or informal sources. Terms of important for development.

1. In situations with high risks, credit might create further problems for the borrower.
2. How does money solve the problem of double coincidence of wants? Explain with
an example of your own.
3. How do banks mediate between those who have surplus money and those who
need money?
4. Look at a 10 rupee note. What is written on top? Can you explain this statement?
5. Why do we need to expand formal sources of credit in India?
6. What is the basic idea behind the SHGs for the poor? Explain in your own words.
7. What are the reasons why the banks might not be willing to lend to certain borrowers?


8. In what ways does the Reserve Bank of India supervise the functioning of banks?
Why is this necessary?
9. Analyse the role of credit for development.
10. Manav needs a loan to set up a small business. On what basis will Manav decide
whether to borrow from the bank or the moneylender? Discuss.
11. In India, about 80 per cent of farmers are small farmers, who need credit for cultivation.
(a) Why might banks be unwilling to lend to small farmers?
(b) What are the other sources from which the small farmers can borrow?
(c) Explain with an example how the terms of credit can be unfavourable for the
small farmer.
(d) Suggest some ways by which small farmers can get cheap credit.
12. Fill in the blanks:
(i) Majority of the credit needs of the _________________households are met
from informal sources.
(ii) ___________________costs of borrowing increase the debt-burden.
(iii) __________________ issues currency notes on behalf of the Central
(iv) Banks charge a higher interest rate on loans than what they offer on
(v) _______________ is an asset that the borrower owns and uses as a guarantee
until the loan is repaid to the lender.
13. Choose the most appropriate answer.
(i) In a SHG most of the decisions regarding savings and loan activities are taken by
(a) Bank.
(b) Members.
(c) Non-government organisation.
(ii) Formal sources of credit does not include
(a) Banks.
(b) Cooperatives.
(c) Employers.


The following table shows people in a variety of occupations in urban areas. What
are the purposes for which the following people might need loans? Fill in the column.
Occupations Reason for needing a Loan
Construction worker
Graduate student who is computer literate
A person employed in government service
Migrant labourer in Delhi
Household maid
Small trader
Autorickshaw driver
A worker whose factory has closed down
Next, classify the people into two groups based on whom you think might get a bank
loan and those who might not. What is the criterion that you have used for classification?


Chapter III
Nationalism in India
As you have seen, modern nationalism in Europe came to be
associated with the formation of nation-states. It also meant a change
in people’s understanding of who they were, and what defined their
identity and sense of belonging. New symbols and icons, new songs
and ideas forged new links and redefined the boundaries of
communities. In most countries the making of this new national
identity was a long process. How did this consciousness emerge
in India?

In India, as in Vietnam and many other colonies, the growth of

modern nationalism is intimately connected to the anti-colonial
movement. People began discovering their unity in the process of
their struggle with colonialism. The sense of being oppressed under
colonialism provided a shared bond that tied many different groups
together. But each class and group felt the effects of colonialism
differently, their experiences were varied, and their notions of
freedom were not always the same. The Congress under Mahatma
Gandhi tried to forge these groups together within one movement.
But the unity did not emerge without conflict.

In an earlier textbook you have read about the growth of nationalism

in India up to the first decade of the twentieth century. In this chapter
we will pick up the story from the 1920s and study the Non-
Cooperation and Civil Disobedience Movements. We will explore

in India
how the Congress sought to develop the national movement, how
different social groups participated in the movement, and how
nationalism captured the imagination of people.

Nationalism in India

Fig. 1 – 6 April 1919.

Mass processions on
the streets became a
common feature during
the national movement.

1 The First World War, Khilafat and Non-Cooperation

In the years after 1919, we see the national movement spreading to

new areas, incorporating new social groups, and developing new
modes of struggle. How do we understand these developments?
What implications did they have?

First of all, the war created a new economic and political situation.
It led to a huge increase in defence expenditure which was financed
by war loans and increasing taxes: customs duties were raised and
income tax introduced. Through the war years prices increased –
doubling between 1913 and 1918 – leading to extreme hardship
for the common people. Villages were called upon to supply soldiers,
and the forced recruitment in rural areas caused widespread anger.
Then in 1918-19 and 1920-21, crops failed in many parts of India, New words
resulting in acute shortages of food. This was accompanied by an
influenza epidemic. According to the census of 1921, 12 to 13 million Forced recruitment – A process by which the
people perished as a result of famines and the epidemic. colonial state forced people to join the army

People hoped that their hardships would end after the war was
over. But that did not happen.

At this stage a new leader appeared and suggested a new mode

of struggle.

1.1 The Idea of Satyagraha

Mahatma Gandhi returned to India in January 1915. As you know,
he had come from South Africa where he had successfully fought
India and the Contemporary World

Fig. 2 – Indian workers in South

Africa march through Volksrust, 6
November 1913.
Mahatma Gandhi was leading the
workers from Newcastle to
Transvaal. When the marchers were
stopped and Gandhiji arrested,
thousands of more workers joined
the satyagraha against racist laws
that denied rights to non-whites.

the racist regime with a novel method of mass agitation, which he Source A
called satyagraha. The idea of satyagraha emphasised the power of
truth and the need to search for truth. It suggested that if the cause Mahatma Gandhi on Satyagraha
was true, if the struggle was against injustice, then physical force was ‘It is said of “passive resistance” that it is the
not necessary to fight the oppressor. Without seeking vengeance or weapon of the weak, but the power which is
the subject of this article can be used only
being aggressive, a satyagrahi could win the battle through non- by the strong. This power is not passive
violence. This could be done by appealing to the conscience of the resistance; indeed it calls for intense activity. The
oppressor. People – including the oppressors – had to be persuaded movement in South Africa was not passive
but active …
to see the truth, instead of being forced to accept truth through the
‘ Satyagraha is not physical force. A satyagrahi
use of violence. By this struggle, truth was bound to ultimately does not inflict pain on the adversary; he does
triumph. Mahatma Gandhi believed that this dharma of non-violence not seek his destruction … In the use of
could unite all Indians. satyagraha, there is no ill-will whatever.
‘ Satyagraha is pure soul-force. Truth is the very
After arriving in India, Mahatma Gandhi successfully organised substance of the soul. That is why this force is
satyagraha movements in various places. In 1916 he travelled to called satyagraha. The soul is informed with
knowledge. In it burns the flame of love. … Non-
Champaran in Bihar to inspire the peasants to struggle against the
violence is the supreme dharma …
oppressive plantation system. Then in 1917, he organised a satyagraha ‘It is certain that India cannot rival Britain or
to support the peasants of the Kheda district of Gujarat. Affected Europe in force of arms. The British worship the
by crop failure and a plague epidemic, the peasants of Kheda could war-god and they can all of them become, as
they are becoming, bearers of arms. The
not pay the revenue, and were demanding that revenue collection be
hundreds of millions in India can never carry arms.
relaxed. In 1918, Mahatma Gandhi went to Ahmedabad to organise They have made the religion of non-violence their
a satyagraha movement amongst cotton mill workers. own ...’
1.2 The Rowlatt Act
Emboldened with this success, Gandhiji in 1919 decided to launch a
nationwide satyagraha against the proposed Rowlatt Act (1919). This Read the text carefully. What did Mahatma

Act had been hurriedly passed through the Imperial Legislative Gandhi mean when he said satyagraha is
active resistance?
Council despite the united opposition of the Indian members. It
gave the government enormous powers to repress political activities,
and allowed detention of political prisoners without trial for two
years. Mahatma Gandhi wanted non-violent civil disobedience against
Nationalism in India
such unjust laws, which would start with a hartal on 6 April.

Rallies were organised in various cities, workers went on strike in

railway workshops, and shops closed down. Alarmed by the popular
upsurge, and scared that lines of communication such as the railways
and telegraph would be disrupted, the British administration decided
to clamp down on nationalists. Local leaders were picked up from
Amritsar, and Mahatma Gandhi was barred from entering Delhi.
On 10 April, the police in Amritsar fired upon a peaceful procession,
provoking widespread attacks on banks, post offices and railway
stations. Martial law was imposed and General Dyer took command.

On 13 April the infamous Jallianwalla Bagh incident took place. On
that day a crowd of villagers who had come to Amritsar to attend
a fair gathered in the enclosed ground of Jallianwalla Bagh. Being
from outside the city, they were unaware of the martial law that had
been imposed. Dyer entered the area, blocked the exit points, and
opened fire on the crowd, killing hundreds. His object, as he declared
later, was to ‘produce a moral effect’, to create in the minds of
satyagrahis a feeling of terror and awe.
As the news of Jallianwalla Bagh spread, crowds took to the streets
in many north Indian towns. There were strikes, clashes with the
police and attacks on government buildings. The government
responded with brutal repression, seeking to humiliate and terrorise
people: satyagrahis were forced to rub their noses on the ground,
crawl on the streets, and do salaam (salute) to all sahibs; people were
flogged and villages (around Gujranwala in Punjab, now in Pakistan)
were bombed. Seeing violence spread, Mahatma Gandhi called off
the movement.

While the Rowlatt satyagraha had been a widespread movement, it Fig. 3 – General Dyer’s ‘crawling orders’ being
was still limited mostly to cities and towns. Mahatma Gandhi now administered by British soldiers, Amritsar,
Punjab, 1919.
felt the need to launch a more broad-based movement in India.
But he was certain that no such movement could be organised without
bringing the Hindus and Muslims closer together. One way of doing
this, he felt, was to take up the Khilafat issue. The First World War
had ended with the defeat of Ottoman Turkey. And there were
rumours that a harsh peace treaty was going to be imposed on the
Ottoman emperor – the spiritual head of the Islamic world (the
Khalifa). To defend the Khalifa’s temporal powers, a Khilafat
Committee was formed in Bombay in March 1919. A young
generation of Muslim leaders like the brothers Muhammad Ali
India and the Contemporary World

and Shaukat Ali, began discussing with Mahatma Gandhi about

the possibility of a united mass action on the issue. Gandhiji saw this
as an opportunity to bring Muslims under the umbrella of a unified
national movement. At the Calcutta session of the Congress in
September 1920, he convinced other leaders of the need to start
a non-cooperation movement in support of Khilafat as well as
for swaraj.

1.3 Why Non-cooperation?

In his famous book Hind Swaraj (1909) Mahatma Gandhi declared
that British rule was established in India with the cooperation of

Indians, and had survived only because of this cooperation. If Indians
refused to cooperate, British rule in India would collapse within a
year, and swaraj would come.

How could non-cooperation become a movement? Gandhiji

proposed that the movement should unfold in stages. It should begin
with the surrender of titles that the government awarded, and a New words
boycott of civil services, army, police, courts and legislative councils,
Boycott – The refusal to deal and associate with
schools, and foreign goods. Then, in case the government used
people, or participate in activities, or buy and
repression, a full civil disobedience campaign would be launched.
use things; usually a form of protest
Through the summer of 1920 Mahatma Gandhi and Shaukat Ali
toured extensively, mobilising popular support for the movement.

Many within the Congress were, however, concerned about the

proposals. They were reluctant to boycott the council elections
scheduled for November 1920, and they feared that the movement
might lead to popular violence. In the months between September
and December there was an intense tussle within the Congress. For a
while there seemed no meeting point between the supporters and
the opponents of the movement. Finally, at the Congress session at
Nagpur in December 1920, a compromise was worked out and
the Non-Cooperation programme was adopted.

How did the movement unfold? Who participated in it? How did
different social groups conceive of the idea of Non-Cooperation?

Nationalism in India

Fig. 4 – The boycott of foreign

cloth, July 1922.
Foreign cloth was seen as the
symbol of Western economic
and cultural domination.

2 Differing Strands within the Movement

The Non-Cooperation-Khilafat Movement began in January 1921.

Various social groups participated in this movement, each with its
own specific aspiration. All of them responded to the call of Swaraj,
but the term meant different things to different people.

2.1 The Movement in the Towns

The movement started with middle-class participation in the cities.
Thousands of students left government-controlled schools and
colleges, headmasters and teachers resigned, and lawyers gave up
their legal practices. The council elections were boycotted in most
provinces except Madras, where the Justice Party, the party of the
non-Brahmans, felt that entering the council was one way of gaining
some power – something that usually only Brahmans had access to.

The effects of non-cooperation on the economic front were more

New words
dramatic. Foreign goods were boycotted, liquor shops picketed,
and foreign cloth burnt in huge bonfires. The import of foreign Picket – A form of demonstration or protest
cloth halved between 1921 and 1922, its value dropping from by which people block the entrance to a shop,
Rs 102 crore to Rs 57 crore. In many places merchants and traders factory or office
refused to trade in foreign goods or finance foreign trade. As the
boycott movement spread, and people began discarding imported
clothes and wearing only Indian ones, production of Indian textile
mills and handlooms went up.

But this movement in the cities gradually slowed down for a variety
of reasons. Khadi cloth was often more expensive than mass-
produced mill cloth and poor people could not afford to buy it.
How then could they boycott mill cloth for too long? Similarly the
India and the Contemporary World

boycott of British institutions posed a problem. For the movement The year is 1921. You are a student in a

to be successful, alternative Indian institutions had to be set up government-controlled school. Design a

poster urging school students to answer
so that they could be used in place of the British ones. These were
Gandhiji’s call to join the Non-Cooperation
slow to come up. So students and teachers began trickling
back to government schools and lawyers joined back work in
government courts.

2.2 Rebellion in the Countryside

From the cities, the Non-Cooperation Movement spread to the
countryside. It drew into its fold the struggles of peasants and tribals

which were developing in different parts of India in the years
after the war.

In Awadh, peasants were led by Baba Ramchandra – a sanyasi who

had earlier been to Fiji as an indentured labourer. The movement New words
here was against talukdars and landlords who demanded from Begar – Labour that villagers were forced to
peasants exorbitantly high rents and a variety of other cesses. Peasants contribute without any payment
had to do begar and work at landlords’ farms without any payment.
As tenants they had no security of tenure, being regularly evicted so
that they could acquire no right over the leased land. The peasant
movement demanded reduction of revenue, abolition of begar, and
social boycott of oppressive landlords. In many places nai – dhobi Activity
bandhs were organised by panchayats to deprive landlords of the If you were a peasant in Uttar Pradesh in 1920,
services of even barbers and washermen. In June 1920, Jawaharlal how would you have responded to Gandhiji’s
call for Swaraj? Give reasons for your response.
Nehru began going around the villages in Awadh, talking to the
villagers, and trying to understand their grievances. By October, the
Oudh Kisan Sabha was set up headed by Jawaharlal Nehru, Baba
Ramchandra and a few others. Within a month, over 300 branches
had been set up in the villages around the region. So when the Non-
Cooperation Movement began the following year, the effort of the
Congress was to integrate the Awadh peasant struggle into the wider
struggle. The peasant movement, however, developed in forms that
the Congress leadership was unhappy with. As the movement spread
in 1921, the houses of talukdars and merchants were attacked,
bazaars were looted, and grain hoards were taken over. In many
places local leaders told peasants that Gandhiji had declared that
no taxes were to be paid and land was to be redistributed among
the poor. The name of the Mahatma was being invoked to sanction
all action and aspirations.

Source B
Nationalism in India
On 6 January 1921, the police in United Provinces fired at peasants near Rae Bareli. Jawaharlal Nehru wanted to go to
the place of firing, but was stopped by the police. Agitated and angry, Nehru addressed the peasants who gathered
around him. This is how he later described the meeting:
‘They behaved as brave men, calm and unruffled in the face of danger. I do not know how they felt but I know what
my feelings were. For a moment my blood was up, non-violence was almost forgotten – but for a moment only. The
thought of the great leader, who by God’s goodness has been sent to lead us to victory, came to me, and I saw the
kisans seated and standing near me, less excited, more peaceful than I was – and the moment of weakness passed, I
spoke to them in all humility on non-violence – I needed the lesson more than they – and they heeded me and
peacefully dispersed.’
Quoted in Sarvapalli Gopal, Jawaharlal Nehru: A Biography, Vol. I.

Tribal peasants interpreted the message of Mahatma Gandhi and
the idea of swaraj in yet another way. In the Gudem Hills of Andhra
Pradesh, for instance, a militant guerrilla movement spread in
the early 1920s – not a form of struggle that the Congress could
approve. Here, as in other forest regions, the colonial government
had closed large forest areas, preventing people from entering
the forests to graze their cattle, or to collect fuelwood and fruits.
This enraged the hill people. Not only were their livelihoods
affected but they felt that their traditional rights were being denied.
When the government began forcing them to contribute begar
for road building, the hill people revolted. The person who came
to lead them was an interesting figure. Alluri Sitaram Raju claimed
that he had a variety of special powers: he could make correct
astrological predictions and heal people, and he could survive
even bullet shots. Captivated by Raju, the rebels proclaimed that
he was an incarnation of God. Raju talked of the greatness of
Mahatma Gandhi, said he was inspired by the Non-Cooperation
Movement, and persuaded people to wear khadi and give up drinking.
But at the same time he asserted that India could be liberated only
by the use of force, not non-violence. The Gudem rebels attacked
police stations, attempted to kill British officials and carried on
guerrilla warfare for achieving swaraj. Raju was captured and
executed in 1924, and over time became a folk hero.

2.3 Swaraj in the Plantations

Workers too had their own understanding of Mahatma Gandhi
and the notion of swaraj. For plantation workers in Assam, freedom Activity
meant the right to move freely in and out of the confined space in Find out about other participants in the
India and the Contemporary World

which they were enclosed, and it meant retaining a link with the National Movement who were captured and
village from which they had come. Under the Inland Emigration put to death by the British. Can you think of a

Act of 1859, plantation workers were not permitted to leave the similar example from the national movement
in Indo-China (Chapter 2)?
tea gardens without permission, and in fact they were rarely given
such permission. When they heard of the Non-Cooperation
Movement, thousands of workers defied the authorities, left the
plantations and headed home. They believed that Gandhi Raj was
coming and everyone would be given land in their own villages.
They, however, never reached their destination. Stranded on the way
by a railway and steamer strike, they were caught by the police and
brutally beaten up.

The visions of these movements were not defined by the Congress
programme. They interpreted the term swaraj in their own ways,
imagining it to be a time when all suffering and all troubles would
be over. Yet, when the tribals chanted Gandhiji’s name and raised
slogans demanding ‘Swatantra Bharat’, they were also emotionally
relating to an all-India agitation. When they acted in the name of
Mahatma Gandhi, or linked their movement to that of the Congress,
they were identifying with a movement which went beyond the limits
of their immediate locality.

Fig. 5 – Chauri Chaura, 1922.

At Chauri Chaura in Gorakhpur, a peaceful demonstration in a bazaar turned into a
violent clash with the police. Hearing of the incident, Mahatma Gandhi called a halt
to the Non-Cooperation Movement.
Nationalism in India

3 Towards Civil Disobedience

In February 1922, Mahatma Gandhi decided to withdraw the

Non-Cooperation Movement. He felt the movement was turning
violent in many places and satyagrahis needed to be properly trained
before they would be ready for mass struggles. Within the Congress,
some leaders were by now tired of mass struggles and wanted to
participate in elections to the provincial councils that had been set
up by the Government of India Act of 1919. They felt that it was
important to oppose British policies within the councils, argue for
reform and also demonstrate that these councils were not truly
democratic. C. R. Das and Motilal Nehru formed the Swaraj Party
within the Congress to argue for a return to council politics. But
younger leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru and Subhas Chandra Bose
pressed for more radical mass agitation and for full independence.

In such a situation of internal debate and dissension two factors

again shaped Indian politics towards the late 1920s. The first was
the effect of the worldwide economic depression. Agricultural prices
began to fall from 1926 and collapsed after 1930. As the demand
for agricultural goods fell and exports declined, peasants found it
difficult to sell their harvests and pay their revenue. By 1930, the
countryside was in turmoil.

Against this background the new Tory government in Britain

constituted a Statutory Commission under Sir John Simon. Set up
in response to the nationalist movement, the
commission was to look into the functioning of
the constitutional system in India and suggest
changes. The problem was that the commission
did not have a single Indian member. They were
India and the Contemporary World

all British.

When the Simon Commission arrived in India in

1928, it was greeted with the slogan ‘Go back
Simon’. All parties, including the Congress and the
Muslim League, participated in the demonstrations.
In an effort to win them over, the viceroy, Lord
Irwin, announced in October 1929, a vague offer
of ‘dominion status’ for India in an unspecified
future, and a Round Table Conference to discuss a Fig. 6 – Meeting of Congress leaders at Allahabad, 1931.
Apart from Mahatma Gandhi, you can see Sardar Vallabhbhai
future constitution. This did not satisfy the Congress Patel (extreme left), Jawaharlal Nehru (extreme right) and Subhas
leaders. The radicals within the Congress, led by Chandra Bose (fifth from right).

Jawaharlal Nehru and Subhas Chandra Bose, became more assertive. Source C
The liberals and moderates, who were proposing a constitutional
system within the framework of British dominion, gradually lost The Independence Day Pledge, 26 January
their influence. In December 1929, under the presidency of Jawaharlal 1930

Nehru, the Lahore Congress formalised the demand of ‘Purna ‘We believe that it is the inalienable right of the
Indian people, as of any other people, to have
Swaraj’ or full independence for India. It was declared that 26 January freedom and to enjoy the fruits of their toil and
1930, would be celebrated as the Independence Day when people have the necessities of life, so that they may
were to take a pledge to struggle for complete independence. But have full opportunities of growth. We believe
also that if any government deprives a people of
the celebrations attracted very little attention. So Mahatma Gandhi these rights and oppresses them, the people
had to find a way to relate this abstract idea of freedom to more have a further right to alter it or to abolish it.
concrete issues of everyday life. The British Government in India has not only
deprived the Indian people of their freedom but
has based itself on the exploitation of the masses,
3.1 The Salt March and the Civil Disobedience Movement and has ruined India economically, politically,
culturally, and spiritually. We believe, therefore,
Mahatma Gandhi found in salt a powerful symbol that could unite that India must sever the British connection and
attain Purna Swaraj or Complete Independence.’
the nation. On 31 January 1930, he sent a letter to Viceroy Irwin
stating eleven demands. Some of these were of general interest; Source
others were specific demands of different classes, from industrialists
to peasants. The idea was to make the demands wide-ranging, so
that all classes within Indian society could identify with them and
everyone could be brought together in a united campaign. The most
stirring of all was the demand to abolish the salt tax. Salt was
something consumed by the rich and the poor alike, and it was one
of the most essential items of food. The tax on salt and the
government monopoly over its production, Mahatma Gandhi
declared, revealed the most oppressive face of British rule.

Mahatma Gandhi’s letter was, in a way, an ultimatum. If the

demands were not fulfilled by 11 March, the letter stated, the
Congress would launch a civil disobedience campaign. Irwin was
unwilling to negotiate. So Mahatma Gandhi started his famous
salt march accompanied by 78 of his trusted volunteers. The march
was over 240 miles, from Gandhiji’s ashram in Sabarmati to the Nationalism in India
Gujarati coastal town of Dandi. The volunteers walked for 24 days,
about 10 miles a day. Thousands came to hear Mahatma Gandhi
wherever he stopped, and he told them what he meant by swaraj
and urged them to peacefully defy the British. On 6 April he reached
Dandi, and ceremonially violated the law, manufacturing salt by
boiling sea water.

This marked the beginning of the Civil Disobedience Movement.

How was this movement different from the Non-Cooperation
Movement? People were now asked not only to refuse cooperation

Fig. 7 – The Dandi march.
During the salt march Mahatma
Gandhi was accompanied by
78 volunteers. On the way
they were joined by thousands.

with the British, as they had done in 1921-22, but also to break
colonial laws. Thousands in different parts of the country broke
the salt law, manufactured salt and demonstrated in front of
government salt factories. As the movement spread, foreign cloth
was boycotted, and liquor shops were picketed. Peasants refused to
pay revenue and chaukidari taxes, village officials resigned, and in
many places forest people violated forest laws – going into Reserved
Forests to collect wood and graze cattle.

Worried by the developments, the colonial government began

arresting the Congress leaders one by one. This led to violent clashes
in many palaces. When Abdul Ghaffar Khan, a devout disciple of
Mahatma Gandhi, was arrested in April 1930, angry crowds
demonstrated in the streets of Peshawar, facing armoured cars and
India and the Contemporary World

police firing. Many were killed. A month later, when Mahatma

Gandhi himself was arrested, industrial workers in Sholapur attacked
police posts, municipal buildings, lawcourts and railway stations –
all structures that symbolised British rule. A frightened government
responded with a policy of brutal repression. Peaceful satyagrahis
were attacked, women and children were beaten, and about 100,000
people were arrested.

In such a situation, Mahatma Gandhi once again decided to call off

the movement and entered into a pact with Irwin on 5 March 1931.
By this Gandhi-Irwin Pact, Gandhiji consented to participate in a Fig. 8 – Police cracked down on satyagrahis,
Round Table Conference (the Congress had boycotted the first 1930.

Round Table Conference) in London and the government agreed to Box 1
release the political prisoners. In December 1931, Gandhiji went to
‘To the altar of this revolution we have
London for the conference, but the negotiations broke down and
brought our youth as incense’
he returned disappointed. Back in India, he discovered that the
Many nationalists thought that the struggle
government had begun a new cycle of repression. Ghaffar Khan against the British could not be won through
and Jawaharlal Nehru were both in jail, the Congress had been non-violence. In 1928, the Hindustan Socialist
Republican Army (HSRA) was founded at a
declared illegal, and a series of measures had been imposed to prevent
meeting in Ferozeshah Kotla ground in Delhi.
meetings, demonstrations and boycotts. With great apprehension, Amongst its leaders were Bhagat Singh, Jatin
Mahatma Gandhi relaunched the Civil Disobedience Movement. Das and Ajoy Ghosh. In a series of dramatic
actions in different parts of India, the HSRA
For over a year, the movement continued, but by 1934 it lost
targeted some of the symbols of British power.
its momentum. In April 1929, Bhagat Singh and Batukeswar
Dutta threw a bomb in the Legislative Assembly.
In the same year there was an attempt to blow
3.2 How Participants saw the Movement up the train that Lord Irwin was travelling in.
Bhagat Singh was 23 when he was tried and
Let us now look at the different social groups that participated in the executed by the colonial government. During
Civil Disobedience Movement. Why did they join the movement? his trial, Bhagat Singh stated that he did not
wish to glorify ‘the cult of the bomb and pistol’
What were their ideals? What did swaraj mean to them?
but wanted a revolution in society:
In the countryside, rich peasant communities – like the Patidars of ‘Revolution is the inalienable right of mankind.
Gujarat and the Jats of Uttar Pradesh – were active in the movement. Freedom is the imprescriptible birthright of all.
The labourer is the real sustainer of society …
Being producers of commercial crops, they were very hard hit by To the altar of this revolution we have brought
the trade depression and falling prices. As their cash income our youth as incense, for no sacrifice is too
disappeared, they found it impossible to pay the government’s revenue great for so magnificent a cause. We are
content. We await the advent of revolution.
demand. And the refusal of the government to reduce the revenue Inquilab Zindabad!’
demand led to widespread resentment. These rich peasants became
enthusiastic supporters of the Civil Disobedience Movement,
organising their communities, and at times forcing reluctant members,
to participate in the boycott programmes. For them the fight for
swaraj was a struggle against high revenues. But they were deeply
disappointed when the movement was called off in 1931 without
the revenue rates being revised. So when the movement was restarted
in 1932, many of them refused to participate.
Nationalism in India
The poorer peasantry were not just interested in the lowering of the
revenue demand. Many of them were small tenants cultivating land
they had rented from landlords. As the Depression continued and
cash incomes dwindled, the small tenants found it difficult to pay
their rent. They wanted the unpaid rent to the landlord to be remitted.
They joined a variety of radical movements, often led by Socialists
and Communists. Apprehensive of raising issues that might upset
the rich peasants and landlords, the Congress was unwilling to support
‘no rent’ campaigns in most places. So the relationship between the
poor peasants and the Congress remained uncertain.

What about the business classes? How did they relate to the Civil
Disobedience Movement? During the First World War, Indian
Some important dates
merchants and industrialists had made huge profits and become
powerful (see Chapter 5). Keen on expanding their business, they 1918-19

now reacted against colonial policies that restricted business activities. Distressed UP peasants organised by Baba
They wanted protection against imports of foreign goods, and a Ramchandra.

rupee-sterling foreign exchange ratio that would discourage imports. April 1919

To organise business interests, they formed the Indian Industrial Gandhian hartal against Rowlatt Act; Jallianwala
and Commercial Congress in 1920 and the Federation of the Indian Bagh massacre.

Chamber of Commerce and Industries (FICCI) in 1927. Led by January 1921

prominent industrialists like Purshottamdas Thakurdas and Non-Cooperation and Khilafat movement
G. D. Birla, the industrialists attacked colonial control over the Indian launched.
economy, and supported the Civil Disobedience Movement when February 1922
it was first launched. They gave financial assistance and refused to Chauri Chaura; Gandhiji withdraws Non-
buy or sell imported goods. Most businessmen came to see swaraj Cooperation movement.
as a time when colonial restrictions on business would no longer May 1924
exist and trade and industry would flourish without constraints. But Alluri Sitarama Raju arrested ending a two-year
after the failure of the Round Table Conference, business groups armed tribal struggle.
were no longer uniformly enthusiastic. They were apprehensive of December 1929
the spread of militant activities, and worried about prolonged Lahore Congress; Congress adopts the demand
disruption of business, as well as of the growing influence of for ‘Purna Swaraj’.
socialism amongst the younger members of the Congress. 1930

The industrial working classes did not participate in the Civil Ambedkar establishes Depressed Classes
Disobedience Movement in large numbers, except in the Nagpur Association.

region. As the industrialists came closer to the Congress, workers March 1930

stayed aloof. But in spite of that, some workers did participate in Gandhiji begins Civil Disobedience Movement by
the Civil Disobedience Movement, selectively adopting some of breaking salt law at Dandi.

the ideas of the Gandhian programme, like boycott of foreign March 1931
goods, as part of their own movements against low wages and Gandhiji ends Civil Disobedience Movement.
India and the Contemporary World

poor working conditions. There were strikes by railway workers in December 1931
1930 and dockworkers in 1932. In 1930 thousands of workers in Second Round Table Conference.
Chotanagpur tin mines wore Gandhi caps and participated in protest 1932
rallies and boycott campaigns. But the Congress was reluctant to
Civil Disobedience re-launched.
include workers’ demands as part of its programme of struggle.
It felt that this would alienate industrialists and divide the anti-
imperial forces.

Another important feature of the Civil Disobedience Movement

was the large-scale participation of women. During Gandhiji’s salt
march, thousands of women came out of their homes to listen to
him. They participated in protest marches, manufactured salt, and

Fig. 9 – Women join
nationalist processions.
During the national
movement, many women,
for the first time in their
lives, moved out of their
homes on to a public arena.
Amongst the marchers you
can see many old women,
and mothers with children in
their arms.

picketed foreign cloth and liquor shops. Many went to jail. In urban
areas these women were from high-caste families; in rural areas
they came from rich peasant households. Moved by Gandhiji’s call,
they began to see service to the nation as a sacred duty of women.
Yet, this increased public role did not necessarily mean any radical
change in the way the position of women was visualised. Gandhiji
was convinced that it was the duty of women to look after home
and hearth, be good mothers and good wives. And for a long time
the Congress was reluctant to allow women to hold any position Why did various classes and groups of Indians
participate in the Civil Disobedience
of authority within the organisation. It was keen only on their
symbolic presence.
Nationalism in India

3.3 The Limits of Civil Disobedience

Not all social groups were moved by the abstract concept of swaraj.
One such group was the nation’s ‘untouchables’, who from around
the 1930s had begun to call themselves dalit or oppressed. For
long the Congress had ignored the dalits, for fear of offending the
sanatanis, the conservative high-caste Hindus. But Mahatma Gandhi
declared that swaraj would not come for a hundred years if
untouchability was not eliminated. He called the ‘untouchables’ harijan,

or the children of God, organised satyagraha to secure them entry
into temples, and access to public wells, tanks, roads and schools.
He himself cleaned toilets to dignify the work of the bhangi (the
sweepers), and persuaded upper castes to change their heart and
give up ‘the sin of untouchability’. But many dalit leaders were keen
on a different political solution to the problems of the community.
They began organising themselves, demanding reserved seats in
educational institutions, and a separate electorate that would choose
dalit members for legislative councils. Political empowerment, they
believed, would resolve the problems of their social disabilities.
Dalit participation in the Civil Disobedience Movement was
therefore limited, particularly in the Maharashtra and Nagpur region
where their organisation was quite strong.

Dr B.R. Ambedkar, who organised the dalits into the Depressed

Classes Association in 1930, clashed with Mahatma Gandhi at
the second Round Table Conference by demanding separate
electorates for dalits. When the British government conceded
Ambedkar’s demand, Gandhiji began a fast unto death. He believed
that separate electorates for dalits would slow down the process of
their integration into society. Ambedkar ultimately accepted Gandhiji’s
position and the result was the Poona Pact of September 1932.
It gave the Depressed Classes (later to be known as the Schedule
Castes) reserved seats in provincial and central legislative councils,
but they were to be voted in by the general electorate. The dalit
movement, however, continued to be apprehensive of the Congress-
led national movement.

Some of the Muslim political organisations in India were also

lukewarm in their response to the Civil Disobedience Movement.
After the decline of the Non-Cooperation-Khilafat movement, a
India and the Contemporary World

large section of Muslims felt alienated from the Congress. From the
mid-1920s the Congress came to be more visibly associated with
openly Hindu religious nationalist groups like the Hindu Mahasabha.
As relations between Hindus and Muslims worsened, each
community organised religious processions with militant fervour,
provoking Hindu-Muslim communal clashes and riots in various
cities. Every riot deepened the distance between the two communities.

The Congress and the Muslim League made efforts to renegotiate

an alliance, and in 1927 it appeared that such a unity could be forged. Fig. 10 – Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru
The important differences were over the question of representation and Maulana Azad at Sevagram Ashram,
Wardha, 1935.
in the future assemblies that were to be elected. Muhammad Ali

Jinnah, one of the leaders of the Muslim League, was willing to give
up the demand for separate electorates, if Muslims were assured
reserved seats in the Central Assembly and representation in
proportion to population in the Muslim-dominated provinces (Bengal
and Punjab). Negotiations over the question of representation
continued but all hope of resolving the issue at the All Parties
Conference in 1928 disappeared when M.R. Jayakar of the Hindu
Mahasabha strongly opposed efforts at compromise.

When the Civil Disobedience Movement started there was thus

an atmosphere of suspicion and distrust between communities.
Alienated from the Congress, large sections of Muslims could not
respond to the call for a united struggle. Many Muslim leaders and
intellectuals expressed their concern about the status of Muslims
as a minority within India. They feared that the culture and identity
of minorities would be submerged under the domination of a
Hindu majority.

Source D

In 1930, Sir Muhammad Iqbal, as president of the Muslim League, reiterated the importance of separate electorates for
the Muslims as an important safeguard for their minority political interests. His statement is supposed to have provided the
intellectual justification for the Pakistan demand that came up in subsequent years. This is what he said:
‘I have no hesitation in declaring that if the principle that the Indian Muslim is entitled to full and free development on the
lines of his own culture and tradition in his own Indian home-lands is recognised as the basis of a permanent communal
settlement, he will be ready to stake his all for the freedom of India. The principle that each group is entitled to free
development on its own lines is not inspired by any feeling of narrow communalism … A community which is inspired by
feelings of ill-will towards other communities is low and ignoble. I entertain the highest respect for the customs, laws,
religions and social institutions of other communities. Nay, it is my duty according to the teachings of the Quran, even to
defend their places of worship, if need be. Yet I love the communal group which is the source of life and behaviour and
which has formed me what I am by giving me its religion, its literature, its thought, its culture and thereby its whole past
as a living operative factor in my present consciousness …
‘Communalism in its higher aspect, then, is indispensable to the formation of a harmonious whole in a country like India.
The units of Indian society are not territorial as in European countries … The principle of European democracy cannot be
applied to India without recognising the fact of communal groups. The Muslim demand for the creation of a Muslim India
within India is, therefore, perfectly justified… Nationalism in India
‘The Hindu thinks that separate electorates are contrary to the spirit of true nationalism, because he understands the
word “nation” to mean a kind of universal amalgamation in which no communal entity ought to retain its private individuality.
Such a state of things, however, does not exist. India is a land of racial and religious variety. Add to this the general
economic inferiority of the Muslims, their enormous debt, especially in the Punjab, and their insufficient majorities in some
of the provinces, as at present constituted and you will begin to see clearly the meaning of our anxiety to retain separate
Read the Source D carefully. Do you agree with Iqbal’s idea of communalism? Can you define communalism in a
different way?

4 The Sense of Collective Belonging

Fig. 11 – Bal Gangadhar Tilak,

an early-twentieth-century print.
Notice how Tilak is surrounded by symbols of
unity. The sacred institutions of different faiths
(temple, church, masjid) frame the central figure.
India and the Contemporary World

Nationalism spreads when people begin to believe that they are all
part of the same nation, when they discover some unity that binds
them together. But how did the nation become a reality in the minds
of people? How did people belonging to different communities,
regions or language groups develop a sense of collective belonging?

This sense of collective belonging came partly through the experience

of united struggles. But there were also a variety of cultural processes
through which nationalism captured people’s imagination. History
and fiction, folklore and songs, popular prints and symbols, all played
a part in the making of nationalism.

The identity of the nation, as you know (see Chapter 1), is most
often symbolised in a figure or image. This helps create an image
with which people can identify the nation. It was in the twentieth
century, with the growth of nationalism, that the identity of India
came to be visually associated with the image of Bharat Mata. The
image was first created by Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay. In the
1870s he wrote ‘Vande Mataram’ as a hymn to the motherland.
Later it was included in his novel Anandamath and widely sung during
the Swadeshi movement in Bengal. Moved by the Swadeshi
movement, Abanindranath Tagore painted his famous image of
Bharat Mata (see Fig. 12). In this painting Bharat Mata is portrayed
as an ascetic figure; she is calm, composed, divine and spiritual.
In subsequent years, the image of Bharat Mata acquired many
different forms, as it circulated in popular prints, and was painted
by different artists (see Fig. 14). Devotion to this mother figure came
to be seen as evidence of one’s nationalism.

Ideas of nationalism also developed through a movement to revive

Indian folklore. In late-nineteenth-century India, nationalists began
recording folk tales sung by bards and they toured villages to gather
folk songs and legends. These tales, they believed, gave a true picture
of traditional culture that had been corrupted and damaged by
outside forces. It was essential to preserve this folk tradition in
order to discover one’s national identity and restore a sense of pride
Fig. 12 – Bharat Mata, Abanindranath Tagore,
in one’s past. In Bengal, Rabindranath Tagore himself began collecting 1905.
ballads, nursery rhymes and myths, and led the movement for folk Notice that the mother figure here is shown as
dispensing learning, food and clothing. The mala
in one hand emphasises her ascetic quality.
Abanindranath Tagore, like Ravi Varma before
him, tried to develop a style of painting that
could be seen as truly Indian.

Nationalism in India

Fig. 13 – Jawaharlal Nehru, a popular print.

Nehru is here shown holding the image of Bharat Mata and the map of India
close to his heart. In a lot of popular prints, nationalist leaders are shown
offering their heads to Bharat Mata. The idea of sacrifice for the mother was
powerful within popular imagination.

revival. In Madras, Natesa Sastri published a massive four-volume
collection of Tamil folk tales, The Folklore of Southern India. He believed
that folklore was national literature; it was ‘the most trustworthy
manifestation of people’s real thoughts and characteristics’.

As the national movement developed, nationalist leaders became

more and more aware of such icons and symbols in unifying people
and inspiring in them a feeling of nationalism. During the Swadeshi
movement in Bengal, a tricolour flag (red, green and yellow) was
designed. It had eight lotuses representing eight provinces of British
India, and a crescent moon, representing Hindus and Muslims. By
1921, Gandhiji had designed the Swaraj flag. It was again a tricolour
(red, green and white) and had a spinning wheel in the centre,
representing the Gandhian ideal of self-help. Carrying the flag,
holding it aloft, during marches became a symbol of defiance.

Another means of creating a feeling of nationalism was through

reinterpretation of history. By the end of the nineteenth century
many Indians began feeling that to instill a sense of pride in the
nation, Indian history had to be thought about differently. The British
Fig. 14 – Bharat Mata.
saw Indians as backward and primitive, incapable of governing This figure of Bharat Mata is a contrast to the
themselves. In response, Indians began looking into the past to one painted by Abanindranath Tagore. Here she
is shown with a trishul, standing beside a lion
discover India’s great achievements. They wrote about the glorious and an elephant – both symbols of power and
developments in ancient times when art and architecture, science authority.

and mathematics, religion and culture, law and philosophy, crafts

and trade had flourished. This glorious time, in their view, was
followed by a history of decline, when India was colonised. These Activity
nationalist histories urged the readers to take pride in India’s great Look at Figs. 12 and 14. Do you think these
achievements in the past and struggle to change the miserable images will appeal to all castes and communities?

conditions of life under British rule. Explain your views briefly.

These efforts to unify people were not without problems. When the
India and the Contemporary World

past being glorified was Hindu, when the images celebrated were
drawn from Hindu iconography, then people of other communities
felt left out.

Source E

‘In earlier times, foreign travellers in India marvelled at the courage, truthfulness and modesty of the people of the Arya
vamsa; now they remark mainly on the absence of those qualities. In those days Hindus would set out on conquest and
hoist their flags in Tartar, China and other countries; now a few soldiers from a tiny island far away are lording it over the
land of India.’
Tarinicharan Chattopadhyay, Bharatbarsher Itihas (The History of Bharatbarsh), vol. 1, 1858.

A growing anger against the colonial government was thus bringing
together various groups and classes of Indians into a common struggle
for freedom in the first half of the twentieth century. The Congress
under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi tried to channel people’s
grievances into organised movements for independence. Through
such movements the nationalists tried to forge a national unity. But
as we have seen, diverse groups and classes participated in these
movements with varied aspirations and expectations. As their
grievances were wide-ranging, freedom from colonial rule also meant
different things to different people. The Congress continuously
attempted to resolve differences, and ensure that the demands of
one group did not alienate another. This is precisely why the unity
within the movement often broke down. The high points of
Congress activity and nationalist unity were followed by phases of
disunity and inner conflict between groups.

In other words, what was emerging was a nation with many voices
wanting freedom from colonial rule.

Nationalism in India

Write in brief

1. Explain:
a) Why growth of nationalism in the colonies is linked to an anti-colonial movement.
b) How the First World War helped in the growth of the National Movement in India.
c) Why Indians were outraged by the Rowlatt Act.

Write in brief
d) Why Gandhiji decided to withdraw the Non-Cooperation Movement.
2. What is meant by the idea of satyagraha?
3. Write a newspaper report on:
a) The Jallianwala Bagh massacre
b) The Simon Commission
4. Compare the images of Bharat Mata in this chapter with the image of Germania
in Chapter 1.


1. List all the different social groups which joined the Non-Cooperation Movement of 1921.
Then choose any three and write about their hopes and struggles to show why they
joined the movement.

2. Discuss the Salt March to make clear why it was an effective symbol of resistance
against colonialism.
3. Imagine you are a woman participating in the Civil Disobedience Movement. Explain
what the experience meant to your life.
4. Why did political leaders differ sharply over the question of separate electorates?
India and the Contemporary World


Find out about the anti-colonial movement in Kenya. Compare and contrast India’s national

movement with the ways in which Kenya became independent.

Chapter VIII
Novels, Society and History

and History
In the previous chapter you read about the rise of print culture and
how new forms of communication reshaped the way people thought
about themselves or related to each other. You also saw how print
culture created the possibility of new forms of literature. In this Societyand History
chapter we will study the history of one such form – the novel – a
history that is closely connected to the making of modern ways of
thinking. We will first look at the history of the novel in the West,
Novels, Society

and then see how this form developed in some of the regions of
India. As you will see, despite their differences, there were many

commonalites of focus between novels written in different parts

of the world.

1 The Rise of the Novel

The novel is a modern form of literature. It is born from print, a

mechanical invention.
We cannot think of the novel without the printed book. In ancient
times, as you have seen (Chapter 7), manuscripts were handwritten.
These circulated among very few people. In contrast, because of
being printed, novels were widely read and became popular very
quickly. At this time big cities like London were growing rapidly
and becoming connected to small towns and rural areas through
print and improved communications. Novels produced a number
of common interests among their scattered and varied readers. As
readers were drawn into the story and identified with the lives of
fictitious characters, they could think about issues such as the
relationship between love and marriage, the proper conduct for
men and women, and so on.
The novel first took firm root in England and France. Novels began
to be written from the seventeenth century, but they really flowered
from the eighteenth century. New groups of lower-middle-class
people such as shopkeepers and clerks, along with the traditional
aristocratic and gentlemanly classes in England and France now
formed the new readership for novels.
As readership grew and the market for books expanded, the earnings
of authors increased. This freed them from financial dependence
on the patronage of aristocrats, and gave them independence to
experiment with different literary styles. Henry Fielding, a novelist
of the early eighteenth century, claimed he was ‘the founder of a
new province of writing’ where he could make his own laws. The
novel allowed flexibility in the form of writing. Walter Scott
India and the Contemporary World

remembered and collected popular Scottish ballads which he used

in his historical novels about the wars between Scottish clans. The
epistolary novel, on the other hand, used the private and personal
form of letters to tell its story. Samuel Richardson’s Pamela, written
in the eighteenth century, told much of its story through an exchange New words
of letters between two lovers. These letters tell the reader of the
Gentlemanly classes – People who claimed
hidden conflicts in the heroine’s mind.
noble birth and high social position. They were
supposed to set the standard for proper
1.1 The Publishing Market behaviour
For a long time the publishing market excluded the poor. Initially, Epistolary – Written in the form of a series of
novels did not come cheap. Henry Fielding’s Tom Jones (1749) was letters

issued in six volumes priced at three shillings each – which was
more than what a labourer earned in a week.

But soon, people had easier access to books with the introduction
of circulating libraries in 1740. Technological improvements in
printing brought down the price of books and innovations in
marketing led to expanded sales. In France, publishers found that
they could make super profits by hiring out novels by the hour. The
novel was one of the first mass-produced items to be sold. There
were several reasons for its popularity. The worlds created by novels
were absorbing and believable, and seemingly real. While reading
novels, the reader was transported to another person’s world, and
began looking at life as it was experienced by the characters of the
novel. Besides, novels allowed individuals the pleasure of reading in
private, as well as the joy of publicly reading or discussing stories
Fig. 1 – Cover page of Sketches by ‘Boz’.
with friends or relatives. In rural areas people would collect to hear Charles Dickens’s first publication was a collection of
one of them reading a novel aloud, often becoming deeply involved journalistic essays entitled Sketches by ‘Boz’ (1836).

in the lives of the characters. Apparently, a group at Slough in England

were very pleased to hear that Pamela, the heroine of Richardson’s
New words
popular novel, had got married in their village. They rushed out to
the parish church and began to ring the church bells! Serialised – A format in which the story is
published in instalments, each part in a new
In 1836 a notable event took place when Charles Dickens’s Pickwick
issue of a journal
Papers was serialised in a magazine. Magazines were attractive since
they were illustrated and cheap. Serialisation allowed readers to relish
the suspense, discuss the characters of a novel and live for weeks
with their stories – like viewers of television soaps today!

Novels, Society and History

Fig. 3 – Cover page of All The Year Round.

The most important feature of the magazine
All the Year Round, edited by Charles
Fig. 2 – Library notice. Dickens, was his serialised novels. This
Libraries were well publicised. particular issue begins with one.

Fig. 4 – Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910).
Tolstoy was a famous Russian novelist who wrote extensively on
rural life and community.

1.2 The World of the Novel

More than other forms of writing which came before, novels are
Explain what is meant by the following types of
about ordinary people. They do not focus on the lives of great
people or actions that change the destinies of states and empires.
¾ Epistolary novel
Instead, they are about the everyday life of common people.
¾ Serialised novel
In the nineteenth century, Europe entered the industrial age. For each type, name one writer who wrote in
Factories came up, business profits increased and the economy grew. that style.
But at the same time, workers faced problems. Cities expanded
in an unregulated way and were filled with overworked and
underpaid workers. The unemployed poor roamed the streets for
jobs, and the homeless were forced to seek shelter in workhouses.
India and the Contemporary World

The growth of industry was accompanied by an economic

philosophy which celebrated the pursuit of profit and undervalued
the lives of workers. Deeply critical of these developments, novelists
such as Charles Dickens wrote about the terrible effects of
industrialisation on people’s lives and characters. His novel Hard Times
(1854) describes Coketown, a fictitious industrial town, as a grim
place full of machinery, smoking chimneys, rivers polluted purple
and buildings that all looked the same. Here workers are known
as ‘hands’, as if they had no identity other than as operators
of machines. Dickens criticised not just the greed for profits but
also the ideas that reduced human beings into simple instruments Fig. 5 – Charles Dickens
of production. (1812-1870).

In other novels too, Dickens focused on the terrible conditions of
urban life under industrial capitalism. His Oliver Twist (1838) is the
tale of a poor orphan who lived in a world of petty criminals and
beggars. Brought up in a cruel workhouse (see Fig. 6), Oliver was
finally adopted by a wealthy man and lived happily ever after.
But not all novels about the lives of the poor gave readers the comfort
of a happy ending. Emile Zola’s Germinal (1885) on
the life of a young miner in France explores in harsh detail the
grim conditions of miners’ lives. It ends on a note of despair: the
strike the hero leads fails, his co-workers turn against him, and
hopes are shattered.

Fig. 6 – A hungry Oliver asks for more

food while other children at the workhouse
look on with fear, illustration in Oliver

Novels, Society and History

Fig. 7 – Emile Zola, painting by Edward Manet,
Manet’s portrait of the French author Zola,
showing the novelist at his worktable in an
intimate and thoughtful relationship with books.

1.3 Community and Society

The vast majority of readers of the novel lived in the city. The novel
created in them a feeling of connection with the fate of rural
communities. The nineteenth-century British novelist Thomas Hardy,
for instance, wrote about traditional rural communities of England

that were fast vanishing. This was actually a time when large farmers
fenced off land, bought machines and employed labourers to
produce for the market. The old rural culture with its independent
farmers was dying out. We get a sense of this change in Hardy’s
Mayor of Casterbridge (1886). It is about Michael Henchard, a successful
grain merchant, who becomes the mayor of the farming town of
Casterbridge. He is an independent-minded man who follows his
own style in conducting business. He can also be both unpredictably
generous and cruel with his employees. Consequently, he is no
match for his manager and rival Donald Farfrae who runs his
business on efficient managerial lines and is well regarded for he
is smooth and even-tempered with everyone. We can see that
Hardy mourns the loss of the more personalised world that is
disappearing, even as he is aware of its problems and the advantages Fig. 8 – Thomas Hardy (1840-1928).

of the new order.

The novel uses the vernacular, the language that is spoken by

common people. By coming closer to the different spoken languages
of the people, the novel produces the sense of a shared world
between diverse people in a nation. Novels also draw from different
styles of language. A novel may take a classical language and combine
it with the language of the streets and make them all a part of the
vernacular that it uses. Like the nation, the novel brings together
many cultures.

1.4 The New Woman

The most exciting element of the novel was the involvement of
women. The eighteenth century saw the middle classes become
more prosperous. Women got more leisure to read as well as write
novels. And novels began exploring the world of women – their
India and the Contemporary World

emotions and identities, their experiences and problems.

Many novels were about domestic life – a theme about which

women were allowed to speak with authority. They drew
upon their experience, wrote about family life and earned
public recognition.

New words

Vernacular – The normal, spoken form of a language rather

than the formal, literary form

Fig. 9 – A girl reading, a painting by Jean Renoir (1841-1919).
By the nineteenth century, images of women reading silently, in
the privacy of the room, became common in European paintings.

Novels, Society and History

Fig. 10 – The home of a woman author, by George Cruikshank.

When women began writing novels many people feared that they would now
neglect their traditional role as wives and mothers and homes would be in disorder.

The novels of Jane Austen give us a glimpse of the world of women
in genteel rural society in early-nineteenth-century Britain. They
make us think about a society which encouraged women to look
for ‘good’ marriages and find wealthy or propertied husbands. The
first sentence of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice states: ‘It is a truth
universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good
fortune, must be in want of a wife.’ This observation allows us to
see the behaviour of the main characters, who are preoccupied with
marriage and money, as typifying Austen’s society.

But women novelists did not simply popularise the domestic role
of women. Often their novels dealt with women who broke Fig. 11 – Jane Austen
established norms of society before adjusting to them. Such stories
allowed women readers to sympathise with rebellious actions. In
Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, published in 1874, young Jane is shown
as independent and assertive. While girls of her time were expected
to be quiet and well behaved, Jane at the age of ten protests against
the hypocrisy of her elders with startling bluntness. She tells her
India and the Contemporary World

Fig. 12 – The marriage contract, William Hogarth (1697-1764).

As you can see, the two men in the foreground are busy with the signing of the marriage
contract while the woman stays in the background.

Aunt who is always unkind to her: ‘People think you a good woman,
but you are bad ... You are deceitful! I will never call you aunt as
long as I live.’

Box 1

Women novelists
George Eliot (1819-1880) was the pen-name of Mary Ann Evans.
A very popular novelist, she believed that novels gave women a
special opportunity to express themselves freely. Every woman
could see herself as capable of writing fiction:
Fig. 13 – Charlotte Bronte (1816-1855).
‘Fiction is a department of literature in which women can, after
their kind, fully equal men … No educational restrictions can shut
women from the materials of fiction, and there is no species of art
that is so free from rigid requirements.’
George Eliot, ‘Silly novels by lady novelists’, 1856.

1.5 Novels for the Young

Novels for young boys idealised a new type of man: someone
who was powerful, assertive, independent and daring. Most of these
novels were full of adventure set in places remote from Europe.
The colonisers appear heroic and honourable – confronting ‘native’
peoples and strange surroundings, adapting to native life as well as
changing it, colonising territories and then developing nations there.
Books like R.L. Stevenson’s Treasure Island (1883) or Rudyard Kipling’s
Box 2
Jungle Book (1894) became great hits.

G.A. Henty’s historical adventure novels for boys were also wildly
popular during the height of the British empire. They aroused the G.A. Henty (1832-1902): Novels, Society and History
In Under Drake’s Flag (1883) two young
excitement and adventure of conquering strange lands. They were
Elizabethan adventurers face their apparently
set in Mexico, Alexandria, Siberia and many other countries. They approaching death, but still remember to assert
were always about young boys who witness grand historical events, their Englishness:
get involved in some military action and show what they called ‘Well, Ned, we have had more good fortune than
we could have expected. We might have been
‘English’ courage.
killed on the day when we landed, and we have
spent six jolly months in wandering together as
Love stories written for adolescent girls also first became popular
hunters on the plain. If we must die, let us
in this period, especially in the US, notably Ramona (1884) by Helen behave like Englishmen and Christians.’
Hunt Jackson and a series entitled What Katy Did (1872) by Sarah
Chauncey Woolsey, who wrote under the pen-name Susan Coolidge.

1.6 Colonialism and After
The novel originated in Europe at a time when it was colonising the
rest of the world. The early novel contributed to colonialism by
making the readers feel they were part of a superior community of
fellow colonialists. The hero of Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe (1719)
is an adventurer and slave trader. Shipwrecked on an island, Crusoe
treats coloured people not as human beings equal to him, but as
inferior creatures. He rescues a ‘native’ and makes him his slave. He
does not ask for his name but arrogantly gives him the name Friday.
But at the time, Crusoe’s behaviour was not seen as unacceptable or
odd, for most writers of the time saw colonialism as natural.
Colonised people were seen as primitive and barbaric, less than
human; and colonial rule was considered necessary to civilise them,
to make them fully human. It was only later, in the twentieth century,
that writers like Joseph Conrad (1857-1924) wrote novels that
showed the darker side of colonial occupation.

The colonised, however, believed that the novel allowed them to

explore their own identities and problems, their own national
concerns. Let us see how the novel became popular in India and
what significance it had for society.
India and the Contemporary World

2 The Novel Comes to India

Stories in prose were not new to India. Banabhatta’s Kadambari,

written in Sanskrit in the seventh century, is an early example. The
Panchatantra is another. There was also a long tradition of prose
tales of adventure and heroism in Persian and Urdu, known as dastan.

However, these works were not novels as we know them today.

The modern novel form developed in India in the nineteenth century,
as Indians became familiar with the Western novel. The development
of the vernaculars, print and a reading public helped in this process.
Some of the earliest Indian novels were written in Bengali and
Marathi. The earliest novel in Marathi was Baba Padmanji’s Yamuna
Paryatan (1857), which used a simple style of storytelling to speak Box 3
about the plight of widows. This was followed by Lakshman
Not all Marathi novels were realistic. Naro Sadashiv
Moreshwar Halbe’s Muktamala (1861). This was not a realistic novel; Risbud used a highly ornamental style in his Marathi
it presented an imaginary ‘romance’ narrative with a moral purpose. novel Manjughosha (1868). This novel was filled
with amazing events. Risbud had a reason behind
Leading novelists of the nineteenth century wrote for a cause. his choice of style. He said:
Colonial rulers regarded the contemporary culture of India as inferior. ‘Because of our attitude to marriage and for
On the other hand, Indian novelists wrote to develop a modern several other reasons one finds in the lives of the
Hindus neither interesting views nor virtues … If
literature of the country that could produce a sense of national
we write about things that we experience
belonging and cultural equality with their colonial masters. daily there would be nothing enthralling about
them, so that if we set out to write an
Translations of novels into different regional languages helped to entertaining book we are forced to take up with
spread the popularity of the novel and stimulated the growth of the marvellous.’
the novel in new areas.

2.1 The Novel in South India

Novels began appearing in south Indian languages during the period
of colonial rule. Quite a few early novels came out of attempts to
translate English novels into Indian languages. For example, Novels, Society and History
O. Chandu Menon, a subjudge from Malabar, tried to translate an
English novel called Henrietta Temple written by Benjamin Disraeli
into Malayalam. But he quickly realised that his readers in Kerala
were not familiar with the way in which the characters in English
novels lived: their clothes, ways of speaking, and manners were
unknown to them. They would find a direct translation of an English
novel dreadfully boring. So, he gave up this idea and wrote instead
a story in Malayalam in the ‘manner of English novel books’. This
delightful novel called Indulekha, published in 1889, was the first Fig. 14 – Chandu Menon
modern novel in Malayalam. (1847-1899).

The case of Andhra Pradesh was strikingly similar. Kandukuri
Viresalingam (1848-1919) began translating Oliver Goldsmith’s Vicar
of Wakefield into Telugu. He abandoned this plan for similar reasons
and instead wrote an original Telugu novel called Rajasekhara Caritamu
in 1878.

Fig. 15 – Image from Pickwick Abroad.

A drawing from the book Pickwick Abroad written by
G.W.M. Reynolds.
Minor nineteenth-century English novelists like Reynolds,
F. Marion Crawford and Marie Corelli were hugely popular in
colonial India. Their novels – which were historical romances,
adventure stories and sensation novels – were easily available
and were translated and ‘adapted’ into several Indian languages.
Reynolds’s Pickwick Abroad (1839) was more popular in India
than Dickens’s original Pickwick Papers (1837).

2.2 The Novel in Hindi

In the north, Bharatendu Harishchandra, the pioneer of modern
Hindi literature, encouraged many members of his circle of poets
and writers to recreate and translate novels from other languages.
India and the Contemporary World

Many novels were actually translated and adapted from English and
Bengali under his influence, but the first proper modern novel was
written by Srinivas Das of Delhi.

Srinivas Das’s novel, published in 1882, was titled Pariksha-Guru (The

Master Examiner). It cautioned young men of well-to-do families
against the dangerous influences of bad company and consequent
loose morals.

Pariksha-Guru reflects the inner and outer world of the newly emerging
middle classes. The characters in the novel are caught in the difficulty
of adapting to colonised society and at the same time preserving

their own cultural identity. The world of colonial modernity seems
to be both frightening and irresistible to the characters. The novel
tries to teach the reader the ‘right way’ to live and expects all ‘sensible
men’ to be worldly-wise and practical, to remain rooted in the
values of their own tradition and culture, and to live with dignity
and honour.
In the novel we see the characters attempting to bridge two different
worlds through their actions: they take to new agricultural technology,
modernise trading practices, change the use of Indian languages,
making them capable of transmitting both Western sciences and
Indian wisdom. The young are urged to cultivate the ‘healthy habit’
of reading the newspapers. But the novel emphasises that all
this must be achieved without sacrificing the traditional values of
the middle-class household. With all its good intentions, Pariksha-
Guru could not win many readers, as it was perhaps too moralising
in its style.
The writings of Devaki Nandan Khatri created a novel-reading
public in Hindi. His best-seller, Chandrakanta – a romance with
dazzling elements of fantasy – is believed to have contributed
immensely in popularising the Hindi language and the Nagari
script among the educated classes of those times. Although it was Discuss
apparently written purely for the ‘pleasure of reading’, this novel
Write about two important characteristics of the
also gives some interesting insights into the fears and desires of its
early Hindi novel.
reading public.
It was with the writing of Premchand that the Hindi novel achieved
excellence. He began writing in Urdu and then shifted to Hindi,
remaining an immensely influential writer in both languages. He drew Box 4
on the traditional art of kissa-goi (storytelling). Many critics think
The novel in Assam
that his novel Sewasadan (The Abode of Service), published in 1916,
The first novels in Assam were written by
lifted the Hindi novel from the realm of fantasy, moralising and missionaries. Two of them were translations of
simple entertainment to a serious reflection on the lives of ordinary Bengali including Phulmoni and Karuna. In 1888, Novels, Society and History
people and social issues. Sewasadan deals mainly with the poor Assamese students in Kolkata formed the Asamya
Bhasar Unnatisadhan that brought out a journal
condition of women in society. Issues like child marriage and dowry
called Jonaki . This journal opened up the
are woven into the story of the novel. It also tells us about the ways opportunities for new authors to develop the
in which the Indian upper classes used whatever little opportunities novel. Rajanikanta Bardoloi wrote the first major
historical novel in Assam called Manomati (1900).
they got from colonial authorities to govern themselves.
It is set in the Burmese invasion, stories of which
the author had probably heard from old soldiers
who had fought in the 1819 campaign. It is a
2.3 Novels in Bengal tale of two lovers belonging to two hostile families
who are separated by the war and finally
In the nineteenth century, the early Bengali novels lived in two worlds.
Many of these novels were located in the past, their characters, events

and love stories based on historical events. Another group of novels
depicted the inner world of domestic life in contemporary settings.
Domestic novels frequently dealt with the social problems and
romantic relationships between men and women.

The old merchant elite of Calcutta patronised public forms of

entertainment such as kabirlarai (poetry contests), musical soirees
and dance performances. In contrast, the new bhadralok found
himself at home in the more private world of reading novels.
Novels were read individually. They could also be read in select
groups. Sometimes the household of the great Bangla novelist
Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay would host a jatra in the courtyard
where members of the family would be gathered. In Bankim’s room,
however, a group of literary friends would collect to read, discuss
and judge literary works. Bankim read out Durgeshnandini (1865),
his first novel, to such a gathering of people who were stunned to Fig. 16 – Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay
realise that the Bengali novel had achieved excellence so quickly.
Bankim’s hands on the book indicates how
writing was the basis of his social position
Besides the ingenious twists and turns of the plot and the suspense, and authority.
the novel was also relished for its language. The prose style became
Box 5
a new object of enjoyment. Initially the Bengali novel used a colloquial
style associated with urban life. It also used meyeli, the language The Oriya novel
associated with women’s speech. This style was quickly replaced In 1877-78, Ramashankar Ray, a dramatist, began
serialising the first Oriya novel, Saudamani. But
by Bankim’s prose which was Sanskritised but also contained a
he could not complete it. Within thirty years,
more vernacular style. however, Orissa produced a major novelist in Fakir
Mohon Senapati (1843-1918). The title of his
The novel rapidly acquired popularity in Bengal. By the twentieth novel Chaa Mana Atha Guntha (1902) translates
century, the power of telling stories in simple language made Sarat as six acres and thirty-two decimals of land. It
announces a new kind of novel that will deal with
Chandra Chattopadhyay (1876-1938) the most popular novelist in
the question of land and its possession. It is the
Bengal and probably in the rest of India. story of Ramchandra Mangaraj, a landlord’s
manager who cheats his idle and drunken master
and then eyes the plot of fertile land owned by
India and the Contemporary World

Bhagia and Shariya, a childless weaver couple.

Mangaraj fools this couple and puts them into his
debt so that he can take over their land. This
pathbreaking work showed that the novel could
make rural issues an important part of urban
preoccupations. In writing this novel, Fakir Mohon
anticipated a host of writers in Bengal and

Fig. 17 – The temple and the drawing room.

On the right is the temple where the family and others would gather
and on the left is the drawing room where Bankim would entertain
select friends to discuss new literary works. Note that the two
spaces – the traditional and the modern – are next to each other,
indicating the split lifestyle of most intellectuals in colonial India.

3 Novels in the Colonial World

If we follow the history of the novel in different parts of India we

can see many regional peculiarities. But there were also recurring
patterns and common concerns. What inspired the authors to write
novels? Who read the novels? How did the culture of reading
develop? How did the novels grapple with the problems of societal
change within a colonial society? What kind of a world did novels
open up for the readers? Let us explore some of these questions
by focusing primarily on the writings of three authors from different
regions: Chandu Menon, Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay
and Premchand.

3.1 Uses of the Novel

Colonial administrators found ‘vernacular’ novels a valuable source
of information on native life and customs. Such information was
useful for them in governing Indian society, with its large variety of
communities and castes. As outsiders, the British knew little about
life inside Indian households. The new novels in Indian languages
Fig. 18 – Cover page of the novel
often had descriptions of domestic life. They showed how people Indirabai.
dressed, their forms of religious worship, their beliefs and practices, Written at the end of the nineteenth
century, Indirabai continues to be
and so on. Some of these books were translated into English, often popular and is regularly reprinted. This
by British administrators or Christian missionaries. is the cover of a recent reprint.

Indians used the novel as a powerful medium to criticise what they

considered defects in their society and to suggest remedies. Writers
like Viresalingam used the novel mainly to propagate their ideas
Box 6
about society among a wider readership.
The message of reform
Novels also helped in establishing a relationship with the past. Many
Many early novels carried a clear message of
of them told thrilling stories of adventures and intrigues set in the social reform. For example, in Indirabai , a Novels, Society and History
past. Through glorified accounts of the past, these novels helped in Kannada novel written by Gulavadi Venkata Rao
creating a sense of national pride among their readers. in 1899, the heroine is given away in marriage
at a very young age to an elderly man. Her
At the same time, people from all walks of life could read novels so husband dies soon after, and she is forced to
lead the life of a widow. In spite of opposition
long as they shared a common language. This helped in creating a
from her family and society, Indirabai succeeds
sense of collective belonging on the basis of one’s language. in continuing her education. Eventually she
marries again, this time a progressive, English-
You would have noticed that people living in different regions speak educated man. Women’s education, the plight
the same language in different ways – sometimes they use different of widows, and problems created by the early
marriage of girls – all these were important issues
words for the same thing; sometimes the same word is pronounced
for social reformers in Karnataka at that time.
differently. With the coming of novels, such variations entered the

Box 7

The most popular historical novelist in Tamil was

R. Krishnamurthy who wrote under the pen-
name ‘Kalki’. He was an active participant in the
freedom movement and the editor of the widely
read Tamil magazines Anandavikatan and Kalki.
Written in simple language and full of heroism,
adventure and suspense, Kalki’s novels captivated
the Tamil-reading public of an entire generation.

Fig. 19 – A page from the

novel Ponniyin Selvan, written
by Kalki and serialised in the
magazine Kalki, 1951.

world of print for the first time. The way characters spoke in a
novel began to indicate their region, class or caste. Thus novels made
their readers familiar with the ways in which people in other parts
of their land spoke their language.

3.2 The Problem of Being Modern

Although they were about imaginary stories, novels often spoke to
their readers about the real world. But novels did not always show
things exactly as they were in reality. Sometimes, they presented a
vision of how things ought to be. Social novelists often created
India and the Contemporary World

heroes and heroines with ideal qualities, who their readers could
admire and imitate. How were these ideal qualities defined? In many
novels written during the colonial period, the ideal person successfully
deals with one of the central dilemmas faced by colonial subjects:
how to be modern without rejecting tradition, how to accept ideas
coming from the West without losing one’s identity.

Chandu Menon portrayed Indulekha as a woman of breathtaking

beauty, high intellectual abilities, artistic talent, and with an education
in English and Sanskrit. Madhavan, the hero of the novel, was
also presented in ideal colours. He was a member of the newly
English-educated class of Nayars from the University of Madras.

He was also a ‘first-rate Sanskrit scholar’. He dressed in Western
clothes. But, at the same time, he kept a long tuft of hair, according
to the Nayar custom.

The heroes and heroines in most of the novels were people who
lived in the modern world. Thus they were different from the ideal
or mythological characters of the earlier poetic literature of India.
Under colonial rule, many of the English-educated class found new
Western ways of living and thinking attractive. But they also feared
that a wholesale adoption of Western values would destroy their
traditional ways of living. Characters like Indulekha and Madhavan
showed readers how Indian and foreign lifestyles could be brought
together in an ideal combination.

3.3 Pleasures of Reading

As elsewhere in the world, in India too, the novel became a popular
medium of entertainment among the middle class. The
circulation of printed books allowed people to amuse themselves
in new ways. Picture books, translations from other languages,
popular songs sometimes composed on contemporary events, stories
in newspapers and magazines – all these offered new forms
of entertainment. Within this new culture of print, novels soon
became immensely popular.

In Tamil, for example, there was a flood of popular novels in the

early decades of the twentieth century. Detective and mystery novels
often had to be printed again and again to meet the demand of
readers: some of them were reprinted as many as twenty-two times!

The novel also assisted in the spread of silent reading. We are so

used to reading in silence that it is difficult for us to think that this
practice was not very common in the past. As late as the nineteenth
Novels, Society and History
century and perhaps even in the early twentieth century, written texts
were often read aloud for several people to hear. Sometimes novels
were also read in this way, but in general novels encouraged reading Fig. 20 – Cover page of Kathanjali, a Kannada
alone and in silence. Individuals sitting at home or travelling in trains magazine.
Kathanjali started publication in 1929 and
enjoyed them. Even in a crowded room, the novel offered a special published short stories regularly. The picture
world of imagination into which the reader could slip, and be all shows a mother reading out stories from a book
to her children.
alone. In this, reading a novel was like daydreaming.

4 Women and the Novel

Many people got worried about the effects of the novel on readers
who were taken away from their real surroundings into an imaginary
world where anything could happen. Some of them wrote in
newspapers and magazines, advising people to stay away from the
immoral influence of novels. Women and children were often singled
out for such advice: they were seen as easily corruptible.

Some parents kept novels in the lofts in their houses, out of their
children’s reach. Young people often read them in secret. This passion
was not limited only to the youth. Older women – some of whom
could not read – listened with fascinated attention to popular
Tamil novels read out to them by their grandchildren – a nice
reversal of the familiar grandma’s tales!

But women did not remain mere readers of stories written by men;
soon they also began to write novels. In some languages, the early
creations of women were poems, essays or autobiographical
pieces. In the early decades of the twentieth century, women in
Fig. 21 – A woman reading,
south India also began writing novels and short stories. A reason woodcut by Satyendranath Bishi.
for the popularity of novels among women was that it allowed The woodcut shows how women
were discovering the pleasure of
for a new conception of womanhood. Stories of love – which reading. By the end of the
was a staple theme of many novels – showed women who could nineteenth century, images of
women reading became common in
choose or refuse their partners and relationships. It showed popular magazines in India.
women who could to some extent control their lives. Some women
authors also wrote about women who changed the world of both
men and women. Source A

Rokeya Hossein (1880-1932) was a reformer who, after she was Why women should not read novels
widowed, started a girl’s school in Calcutta. She wrote a satiric From a Tamil essay published in 1927:
India and the Contemporary World

fantasy in English called Sultana’s Dream (1905) which shows a topsy- ‘Dear children, don’t read these novels, don’t
turvy world in which women take the place of men. Her n o v e l even touch them. Your life will be ruined. You
will suffer disease and ailments. Why did the good
Padmarag also showed the need for women to reform their condition
Lord make you – to wither away at a tender
by their own actions. age? To suffer in disease? To be despised by
your brothers, relatives and those around you?
No. No. You must become mothers; you must
lead happy lives; this is the divine purpose. You
New words who were born to fulfil this sublime goal, should
you ruin your life by going crazy after despicable
Satire – A form of representation through writing, drawing, novels?’
painting, etc. that provides a criticism of society in a manner that Essay by Thiru. Vi. Ka, Translated by A.R.
is witty and clever Source

It is not surprising that many men were suspicious of women writing Box 8
novels or reading them. This suspicion cut across communities.
Women with books
Hannah Mullens, a Christian missionary and the author of Karuna o
‘These days we can see women in black bordered
Phulmonir Bibaran (1852), reputedly the first novel in Bengali, tells her sarees with massive books in their hands, walking
readers that she wrote in secret. In the twentieth century, Sailabala inside their houses. Often seeing them with these
Ghosh Jaya, a popular novelist, could only write because her husband books in hand, their brothers or husbands are
seized with fear – in case they are asked for
protected her. As we have seen in the case of the south, women and meanings.’
girls were often discouraged from reading novels. Sadharani, 1880.

4.1 Caste Practices, ‘Lower-Castes’ and Minorities

As you have seen, Indulekha was a love story. But it was also about
an issue that was hotly debated at the time when the novel was
written. This concerned the marriage practices of upper-caste Hindus
in Kerala, especially the Nambuthiri Brahmins and the Nayars.
Nambuthiris were also major landlords in Kerala at that time; and a
large section of the Nayars were their tenants. In late-nineteenth-
century Kerala, a younger generation of English-educated Nayar
men who had acquired property and wealth on their own, began
arguing strongly against Nambuthiri alliances with Nayar women.
They wanted new laws regarding marriage and property.

The story of Indulekha is interesting in the light of these debates. Suri

Nambuthiri, the foolish landlord who comes to marry Indulekha,
is the focus of much satire in the novel. The intelligent heroine
rejects him and chooses Madhavan, the educated and handsome
Nayar as her husband, and the young couple move to Madras,
where Madhavan joins the civil service. Suri Nambuthiri, desperate
to find a partner for himself, finally marries a poorer relation from
the same family and goes away pretending that he has married
Indulekha! Chandu Menon clearly wanted his readers to appreciate
the new values of his hero and heroine and criticise the ignorance Novels, Society and History
and immorality of Suri Nambuthiri.

Novels like Indirabai and Indulekha were written by members of the

upper castes, and were primarily about upper-caste characters. But Fig. 22 – Malabar Beauty, painting by
Ravi Varma.
not all novels were of this kind. Chandu Menon thought that the novel
was similar to new trends in Indian
Potheri Kunjambu, a ‘lower-caste’ writer from north Kerala, wrote painting.
a novel called Saraswativijayam in 1892, mounting a strong attack on One of the foremost oil painters of this
time was Raja Ravi Varma (1848-
caste oppression. This novel shows a young man from an 1906). Chandu Menon’s description
‘untouchable’ caste, leaving his village to escape the cruelty of his of his heroines may have been guided
by some of his paintings.
Brahmin landlord. He converts to Christianity, obtains modern

education, and returns as the judge in the local court. Meanwhile, the
villagers, thinking that the landlord’s men had killed him, file a case.
At the conclusion of the trial, the judge reveals his true identity, and
the Nambuthiri repents and reforms his ways. Saraswativijayam stresses
the importance of education for the upliftment of the lower castes.

From the 1920s, in Bengal too a new kind of novel emerged that
depicted the lives of peasants and ‘low’ castes. Advaita Malla
Burman’s (1914-51) Titash Ekti Nadir Naam (1956) is an epic about
the Mallas, a community of fisherfolk who live off fishing in the
river Titash. The novel is about three generations of the Mallas,
about their recurring tragedies and the story of Ananta, a child born
of parents who were tragically separated after their wedding night.
Ananta leaves the community to get educated in the city. The novel
describes the community life of the Mallas in great detail, their Holi
and Kali Puja festivals, boat races, bhatiali songs, their relationships
of friendship and animosity with the peasants and the oppression
of the upper castes. Slowly the community breaks up and the Mallas
start fighting amongst themselves as new cultural influences from
the city start penetrating their lives. The life of the community and
that of the river is intimately tied. Their end comes together: as the
river dries up, the community dies too. While novelists before Burman
had featured ‘low’ castes as their protagonists, Titash is special because
the author is himself from a ‘low-caste’, fisherfolk community.

Over time, the medium of the novel made room for the experiences
of communities that had not received much space in the literary
scene earlier. Vaikkom Muhammad Basheer (1908-96), for example,
was one of the early Muslim writers to gain wide renown as a
novelist in Malayalam.

Basheer had little formal education. Most of his works were based
India and the Contemporary World

on his own rich personal experience rather than on books from the
past. When he was in class five at school, Basheer left home to take
part in the Salt Satyagraha. Later he spent years wandering in different
parts of India and travelling even to Arabia, working in a ship, living Fig. 23 – Basheer carrying books.
with Sufis and Hindu sanyasis, and training as a wrestler. In his early years as a writer,
Basheer had great difficulty
Basheer’s short novels and stories were written in the ordinary earning a living from his books.
He often sold them himself,
language of conversation. With wonderful humour, Basheer’s novels carrying copies personally to
spoke about details from the everyday life of Muslim households. houses and shops. In some of his
stories, Basheer wrote about his
He also brought into Malayalam writing themes which were days as a vendor of his own
considered very unusual at that time – poverty, insanity and life books.

in prisons.

5 The Nation and its History

The history written by colonial historians tended to depict Indians as

weak, divided, and dependent on the British. These histories could
not satisfy the tastes of the new Indian administrators and intellectuals.
Nor did the traditional Puranic stories of the past – peopled by
gods and demons, filled with the fantastic and the supernatural –
seem convincing to those educated and working under the English
system. Such minds wanted a new view of the past that would
show that Indians could be independent minded and had been so in
history. The novel provided a solution. In it, the nation could be
imagined in a past that also featured historical characters, places,
events and dates.

In Bengal, many historical novels were about Marathas and Rajputs.

These novels produced a sense of a pan-Indian belonging. They
imagined the nation to be full of adventure, heroism, romance and Fig. 24 – Image from the film Chemmeen.
Many novels were made into films. The novel
sacrifice – qualities that could not be found in the offices and streets Chemmeen (Shrimp, 1956), written by Thakazhi
of the nineteenth-century world. The novel allowed the colonised Sivasankara Pillai (1912-99), is set in the
fishing community in Kerala, and characters
to give shape to their desires. Bhudeb Mukhopadhyay’s (1827-94) speak a variety of Malayalam used by fisherfolk
Anguriya Binimoy (1857) was the first historical novel written in Bengal. in the region. The film Chemmeen, directed by
Ramu Kariat, was made in 1965.
Its hero Shivaji engages in many battles against a clever and treacherous
Aurangzeb. Man Singh persuades Shivaji to make peace with
Aurangzeb. Realising that Aurangzeb intended to confine him as a
house prisoner, Shivaji escapes and returns to battle. What gives him
courage and tenacity is his belief that he is a nationalist fighting for
the freedom of Hindus.

The imagined nation of the novel was so powerful that it

could inspire actual political movements. Bankim’s Anandamath (1882)
is a novel about a secret Hindu militia that fights Muslims to establish
Novels, Society and History
a Hindu kingdom. It was a novel that inspired many kinds of
freedom fighters.

Many of these novels also reveal the problems of thinking about

the nation. Was India to be a nation of only a single religious
community? Who had natural claims to belong to the nation? Fig. 25 – A still from the
Kannada film Chomana Dudi
(Choma’s Drum, directed by
B.V. Karanth in 1975).
5.1 The Novel and Nation Making The film is based on a novel of
the same title written in 1930 by
Imagining a heroic past was one way in which the novel helped in the celebrated Kannada novelist
popularising the sense of belonging to a common nation. Another Sivarama Karanth (1902-1997).

way was to include various classes in the novel so that they could be Box 9
seen to belong to a shared world. Premchand’s novels, for instance,
Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) developed the
are filled with all kinds of powerful characters drawn from all levels Bengali novel after Bankim’s death. His early novels
of society. In his novels you meet aristocrats and landlords, middle- were historical; he later shifted to writing stories
about domestic relationships. He was mainly
level peasants and landless labourers, middle-class professionals and
preoccupied with the condition of women and
people from the margins of society. The women characters are nationalism. Both concerns are featured in his
strong individuals, especially those who come from the lower classes Ghare Baire (1916) translated in 1919 as The
and are not modernised. Unlike many of his contemporaries, Home and the World. The story is about Bimala,
the wife of Nikhilesh, a liberal landlord who
Premchand rejected the nostalgic obsession with ancient history. believes that he can save his country by patiently
Instead, his novels look towards the future without forgetting the bettering the lives of its poor and marginal
sections. But Bimala is attracted to Sandip, her
importance of the past.
husband’s friend and a firebrand extremist. Sandip
Drawn from various strata of society, Premchand’s characters create is so completely dedicated to throwing out the
British that he does not mind if the poor ‘low’
a community based on democratic values. The central character of castes suffer and Muslims are made to feel like
his novel Rangbhoomi (The Arena), Surdas, is a visually impaired beggar outsiders. By becoming a part of Sandip’s group,
from a so-called ‘untouchable’ caste. The very act of choosing such Bimala gets a sense of self-worth and self-esteem.
Rabindranth also shows the contradictory effects
a person as the ‘hero’ of a novel is significant. It makes the lives of of nationalist involvement for women. Bimala may
the most oppressed section of society as worthy of literary reflection. be admired by the young males of the group
We see Surdas struggling against the forcible takeover of his land but she cannot influence their decisions. Indeed
she is used by Sandip to acquire funds for the
for establishing a tobacco factory. As we read the story we wonder movement. Tagore’s novels are striking because
about industrialisation and its impact on society and people. Who they make us rethink both man-woman
does it serve? Must other ways of living be sacrificed for it? The relationships and nationalism.

story of Surdas was inspired by Gandhi’s personality and ideas.

Godan (The Gift of Cow), published in 1936, remains Premchand’s

best-known work. It is an epic of the Indian peasantry. The novel
tells the moving story of Hori and his wife Dhania, a peasant couple.
Landlords, moneylenders, priests and colonial bureaucrats – all those
who hold power in society – form a network of oppression, rob
their land and make them into landless labourers. Yet Hori and Dhania
retain their dignity to the end.
India and the Contemporary World

Read Godan. Write briefly on:
¾ How Premchand depicts the life of peasants in the novel.
¾ What the novel tells us about the life of peasants during the Fig. 26 – Portrait of
Premchand (1880-
Great Depression.

We have seen how, over the course of its history in both the West
and in India, the novel became part of the lives of different sections
of people. Developments in print technologies allowed the novel
to break out of its small circle of readers and introduced fresh
ways of reading. But through their stories, novels have also shown a
capacity to include and focus on the lives of those who were not
often known to literate and middle-class circles. We have seen some
examples of these in Premchand, but they are equally present in the
works of other novelists.

Bringing together people from varied backgrounds produces a sense

of shared community. The most notable form of this community
is the nation. Equally significant is the fact that by bringing in both
the powerful and the marginal peoples and cultures, the novel throws
up many questions about the nature of these communities. We can
say then that novels produce a sense of sharing, and promote an
understanding of different people, different values and different
communities. At the same time they explore how different groups
begin to question or reflect upon their own identities.

Novels, Society and History

Write in brief

1. Explain the following:

a) Social changes in Britain which led to an increase in women readers
b) What actions of Robinson Crusoe make us see him as a typical coloniser.

Write in brief
c) After 1740, the readership of novels began to include poorer people.
d) Novelists in colonial India wrote for a political cause.
2. Outline the changes in technology and society which led to an increase in
readers of the novel in eighteenth-century Europe.
3. Write a note on:
a) The Oriya novel
b) Jane Austen’s portrayal of women
c) The picture of the new middle class which the novel Pariksha-Guru portrays.


1. Discuss some of the social changes in nineteenth-century Britain which Thomas Hardy
and Charles Dickens wrote about.
2. Summarise the concern in both nineteenth-century Europe and India about women
reading novels. What does this suggest about how women were viewed?
3. In what ways was the novel in colonial India useful for both the colonisers as well as the

4. Describe how the issue of caste was included in novels in India. By referring to any two
novels, discuss the ways in which they tried to make readers think about existing social
India and the Contemporary World

5. Describe the ways in which the novel in India attempted to create a sense of pan-Indian


Imagine that you are a historian in 3035 AD. You have just located two novels which were written
in the twentieth century. What do they tell you about society and customs of the time?

Chapter VII
Print Culture and the Modern World
It is difficult for us to imagine a world without printed matter. We
find evidence of print everywhere around us – in books, journals,
newspapers, prints of famous paintings, and also in everyday things
like theatre programmes, official circulars, calendars, diaries,
advertisements, cinema posters at street corners. We read printed
literature, see printed images, follow the news through newspapers,
and track public debates that appear in print. We take for granted
this world of print and often forget that there was a time before

lture and the Modern World

print. We may not realise that print itself has a history which has, in
fact, shaped our contemporary world. What is this history? When
did printed literature begin to circulate? How has it helped create
the modern world?

In this chapter we will look at the development of print, from its

beginnings in East Asia to its expansion in Europe and in India. We
will understand the impact of the spread of technology and consider
how social lives and cultures changed with the coming of print.

C u Culture
P r i n t Print

Fig. 1 – Book making before the age of print, from

Akhlaq-i-Nasiri, 1595.
This is a royal workshop in the sixteenth century,
much before printing began in India. You can see
the text being dictated, written and illustrated. The
art of writing and illustrating by hand was
important in the age before print. Think about
what happened to these forms of art with the
coming of printing machines.

1 The First Printed Books

The earliest kind of print technology was developed in China, Japan

and Korea. This was a system of hand printing. From AD 594
onwards, books in China were printed by rubbing paper – also
invented there – against the inked surface of woodblocks. As both
sides of the thin, porous sheet could not be printed, the traditional New words
Chinese ‘accordion book’ was folded and stitched at the side.
Calligraphy – The art of beautiful and stylised
Superbly skilled craftsmen could duplicate, with remarkable accuracy,
the beauty of calligraphy.

The imperial state in China was, for a very long time, the major
producer of printed material. China possessed a huge bureaucratic
system which recruited its personnel through civil service
examinations. Textbooks for this examination were printed in vast
numbers under the sponsorship of the imperial state. From the
sixteenth century, the number of examination candidates went up
and that increased the volume of print.

By the seventeenth century, as urban culture bloomed in China, the

uses of print diversified. Print was no longer used just by scholar-
officials. Merchants used print in their everyday life, as they collected
trade information. Reading increasingly became a leisure activity.
The new readership preferred fictional narratives, poetry,
autobiographies, anthologies of literary masterpieces, and romantic
plays. Rich women began to read, and many women began
publishing their poetry and plays. Wives of scholar-officials published
their works and courtesans wrote about their lives.

This new reading culture was accompanied by a new technology.

Western printing techniques and mechanical presses were imported
India and the Contemporary World

in the late nineteenth century as Western powers established their

outposts in China. Shanghai became the hub of the new print culture,
catering to the Western-style schools. From hand printing there was
now a gradual shift to mechanical printing.

1.1 Print in Japan

Buddhist missionaries from China introduced hand-printing
technology into Japan around AD 768-770. The oldest Japanese book,
printed in AD 868, is the Buddhist Diamond Sutra, containing six sheets
of text and woodcut illustrations. Pictures were printed on textiles, Fig. 2 – A page from the Diamond Sutra.

playing cards and paper money. In medieval Japan, poets and
prose writers were regularly published, and books were cheap
and abundant.

Printing of visual material led to interesting publishing practices. In

the late eighteenth century, in the flourishing urban circles at Edo
(later to be known as Tokyo), illustrated collections of paintings
depicted an elegant urban culture, involving artists, courtesans, and
teahouse gatherings. Libraries and bookstores were packed with
hand-printed material of various types – books on women, musical
instruments, calculations, tea ceremony, flower arrangements, proper
etiquette, cooking and famous places.

Box 1

Kitagawa Utamaro, born in Edo in 1753, was widely known for

his contributions to an art form called ukiyo (‘pictures of the floating
world’) or depiction of ordinary human experiences, especially urban
ones. These prints travelled to contemporary US and Europe and
influenced artists like Manet, Monet and Van Gogh. Publishers like
Tsutaya Juzaburo identified subjects and commissioned artists who
drew the theme in outline. Then a skilled woodblock carver pasted
the drawing on a woodblock and carved a printing block to
reproduce the painter’s lines. In the process, the original drawing Fig. 3 – An ukiyo
would be destroyed and only prints would survive. print by Kitagawa

Print Culture

Fig. 4 – A morning scene,

ukiyo print by Shunman
Kubo, late eighteenth
A man looks out of the
window at the snowfall while
women prepare tea and
perform other domestic

2 Print Comes to Europe

For centuries, silk and spices from China flowed into Europe through
the silk route. In the eleventh century, Chinese paper reached Europe
via the same route. Paper made possible the production of
manuscripts, carefully written by scribes. Then, in 1295, Marco Polo,
a great explorer, returned to Italy after many years of exploration in
China. As you read above, China already had the technology of
woodblock printing. Marco Polo brought this knowledge back with
him. Now Italians began producing books with woodblocks, and
soon the technology spread to other parts of Europe. Luxury New words
editions were still handwritten on very expensive vellum, meant for
Vellum – A parchment made from the skin
aristocratic circles and rich monastic libraries which scoffed at printed
of animals
books as cheap vulgarities. Merchants and students in the university
towns bought the cheaper printed copies.

As the demand for books increased, booksellers all over Europe

began exporting books to many different countries. Book fairs were
held at different places. Production of handwritten manuscripts was
also organised in new ways to meet the expanded demand. Scribes
or skilled handwriters were no longer solely employed by wealthy
or influential patrons but increasingly by booksellers as well. More
than 50 scribes often worked for one bookseller.

But the production of handwritten manuscripts could not satisfy

the ever-increasing demand for books. Copying was an expensive,
laborious and time-consuming business. Manuscripts were fragile,
awkward to handle, and could not be carried around or read easily.
India and the Contemporary World

Their circulation therefore remained limited. With the growing

demand for books, woodblock printing gradually became more
and more popular. By the early fifteenth century, woodblocks were
being widely used in Europe to print textiles, playing cards, and
religious pictures with simple, brief texts.

There was clearly a great need for even quicker and cheaper
reproduction of texts. This could only be with the invention of a
new print technology. The breakthrough occurred at Strasbourg, Imagine that you are Marco Polo. Write a letter
from China to describe the world of print which
Germany, where Johann Gutenberg developed the first-known
you have seen there.
printing press in the 1430s.

2.1 Gutenberg and the Printing Press
Gutenberg was the son of a merchant and grew up on a large
agricultural estate. From his childhood he had seen wine and olive
presses. Subsequently, he learnt the art of polishing stones, became a
master goldsmith, and also acquired the expertise to create lead
moulds used for making trinkets. Drawing on this knowledge,
Gutenberg adapted existing technology to design his innovation.
The olive press provided the model for the printing press, and moulds
were used for casting the metal types for the letters of the alphabet.
By 1448, Gutenberg perfected the system. The first book he printed
was the Bible. About 180 copies were printed and it took three Fig. 5 – A Portrait of
Johann Gutenberg,
years to produce them. By the standards of the time this was fast 1584.

The new technology did not entirely displace the existing art of
producing books by hand. Frame

In fact, printed books at first closely resembled the written

manuscripts in appearance and layout. The metal letters imitated the
ornamental handwritten styles. Borders were illuminated by hand
with foliage and other patterns, and illustrations were painted. In the
books printed for the rich, space for decoration was kept blank on
the printed page. Each purchaser could choose the design and decide
on the painting school that would do the illustrations. Platen

In the hundred years between 1450 and 1550, printing presses were
set up in most countries of Europe. Printers from Germany travelled
to other countries, seeking work and helping start new presses. As Printing block
placed over
the number of printing presses grew, book production boomed. paper

The second half of the fifteenth century saw 20 million copies of

printed books flooding the markets in Europe. The number went Fig. 6 – Gutenberg Printing Press.
Notice the long handle attached to the screw.
up in the sixteenth century to about 200 million copies. This handle was used to turn the screw and
press down the platen over the printing block
Print Culture

This shift from hand printing to mechanical printing led to the that was placed on top of a sheet of damp
paper. Gutenberg developed metal types for
print revolution. each of the 26 characters of the Roman
alphabet and devised a way of moving them
around so as to compose different words of the
New words text. This came to be known as the moveable
type printing machine, and it remained the basic
Platen – In letterpress printing, platen is a board which is print technology over the next 300 years.
Books could now be produced much faster than
pressed onto the back of the paper to get the impression from was possible when each print block was
the type. At one time it used to be a wooden board; later it prepared by carving a piece of wood by hand.
The Gutenberg press could print 250 sheets
was made of steel on one side per hour.

Fig. 7 – Pages of Gutenberg’s Bible, the first printed book in Europe.
Gutenberg printed about 180 copies, of which no more than 50 have
Look at these pages of Gutenberg’s Bible carefully. They were not just
products of new technology. The text was printed in the new Gutenberg
press with metal type, but the borders were carefully designed, painted and
illuminated by hand by artists. No two copies were the same. Every page of
each copy was different. Even when two copies look similar, a careful
comparison will reveal differences. Elites everywhere preferred this lack of
uniformity: what they possessed then could be claimed as unique, for no
one else owned a copy that was exactly the same.
In the text you will notice the use of colour within the letters in various
places. This had two functions: it added colour to the page, and highlighted
all the holy words to emphasise their significance. But the colour on every
page of the text was added by hand. Gutenberg printed the text in black,
leaving spaces where the colour could be filled in later.
India and the Contemporary World

Fig. 8 – A printer’s workshop, sixteenth century.

This picture depicts what a printer’s shop looked like in the
sixteenth century. All the activities are going on under one roof. New words
In the foreground on the right, compositors are at work, while Compositor – The person who composes the
on the left galleys are being prepared and ink is being applied on
the metal types; in the background, the printers are turning the text for printing
screws of the press, and near them proofreaders are at work. Galley – Metal frame in which types are laid
Right in front is the final product – the double-page printed
sheets, stacked in neat piles, waiting to be bound. and the text composed

3 The Print Revolution and Its Impact

What was the print revolution? It was not just a development, a new
way of producing books; it transformed the lives of people,
changing their relationship to information and knowledge, and with
institutions and authorities. It influenced popular perceptions and
opened up new ways of looking at things.
Let us explore some of these changes.

3.1 A New Reading Public

With the printing press, a new reading public emerged. Printing
reduced the cost of books. The time and labour required to produce Activity
each book came down, and multiple copies could be produced You are a bookseller advertising the availability
with greater ease. Books flooded the market, reaching out to an of new cheap printed books. Design a poster
ever-growing readership. for your shop window.

Access to books created a new culture of reading. Earlier, reading

was restricted to the elites. Common people lived in a world of oral
culture. They heard sacred texts read out, ballads recited, and folk
tales narrated. Knowledge was transferred orally. People collectively
heard a story, or saw a performance. As you will see in Chapter 8,
they did not read a book individually and silently. Before the age of
print, books were not only expensive but they could not be produced
in sufficient numbers. Now books could reach out to wider sections
of people. If earlier there was a hearing public, now a reading public
came into being.
But the transition was not so simple. Books could be read only by
the literate, and the rates of literacy in most European countries
were very low till the twentieth century. How, then, could publishers
persuade the common people to welcome the printed book? To do
this, they had to keep in mind the wider reach of the printed work:
Print Culture

even those who did not read could certainly enjoy listening to books
being read out. So printers began publishing popular ballads and
folk tales, and such books would be profusely illustrated with pictures.
These were then sung and recited at gatherings in villages and in New words
taverns in towns. Ballad – A historical account or folk tale in
Oral culture thus entered print and printed material was orally verse, usually sung or recited
transmitted. The line that separated the oral and reading cultures Taverns – Places where people gathered to
became blurred. And the hearing public and reading public became drink alcohol, to be served food, and to meet
intermingled. friends and exchange news

3.2 Religious Debates and the Fear of Print
Print created the possibility of wide circulation of
ideas, and introduced a new world of debate and
discussion. Even those who disagreed with
established authorities could now print and circulate
their ideas. Through the printed message, they could
persuade people to think differently, and move them
to action. This had significance in different spheres
of life.

Not everyone welcomed the printed book, and those

who did also had fears about it. Many were
apprehensive of the effects that the easier access to
the printed word and the wider circulation of books,
could have on people’s minds. It was feared that if
there was no control over what was printed and
read then rebellious and irreligious thoughts might
spread. If that happened the authority of ‘valuable’
literature would be destroyed. Expressed by religious
authorities and monarchs, as well as many writers
and artists, this anxiety was the basis of widespread
criticism of the new printed literature that had began Fig. 9 – J.V. Schley, L’Imprimerie, 1739.
to circulate. This is one of the many images produced in early modern
Europe, celebrating the coming of print. You can see the
Let us consider the implication of this in one sphere printing press descending from heaven, carried by a goddess.
On two sides of the goddess, blessing the machine, are
of life in early modern Europe – namely, religion. Minerva (the goddess of wisdom) and Mercury (the messenger
god, also symbolising reason). The women in the foreground
In 1517, the religious reformer Martin Luther wrote are holding plaques with the portraits of six pioneer printers of
different countries. In the middle ground on the left (figure
Ninety Five Theses criticising many of the practices encircled) is the portrait of Gutenberg.
India and the Contemporary World

and rituals of the Roman Catholic Church. A printed

copy of this was posted on a church door in Wittenberg. It challenged
the Church to debate his ideas. Luther’s writings were immediately
reproduced in vast numbers and read widely. This lead to a division
New words
within the Church and to the beginning of the Protestant
Reformation. Luther’s translation of the New Testament sold 5,000 Protestant Reformation – A sixteenth-century
copies within a few weeks and a second edition appeared within movement to reform the Catholic Church
three months. Deeply grateful to print, Luther said, ‘Printing is the dominated by Rome. Martin Luther was one
ultimate gift of God and the greatest one.’ Several scholars, in fact, of the main Protestant reformers. Several
think that print brought about a new intellectual atmosphere and traditions of anti-Catholic Christianity
helped spread the new ideas that led to the Reformation. developed out of the movement

3.3 Print and Dissent New words
Print and popular religious literature stimulated many distinctive
Inquisition – A former Roman Catholic court
individual interpretations of faith even among little-educated working
for identifying and punishing heretics
people. In the sixteenth century, Manocchio, a miller in Italy, began
Heretical – Beliefs which do not follow the
to read books that were available in his locality. He reinterpreted
accepted teachings of the Church. In medieval
the message of the Bible and formulated a view of God and Creation
times, heresy was seen as a threat to the right
that enraged the Roman Catholic Church. When the Roman Church
of the Church to decide on what should be
began its inquisition to repress heretical ideas, Manocchio was
believed and what should not. Heretical beliefs
hauled up twice and ultimately executed. The Roman Church,
were severely punished
troubled by such effects of popular readings and questionings
Satiety – The state of being fulfilled much
of faith, imposed severe controls over publishers and booksellers
beyond the point of satisfaction
and began to maintain an Index of Prohibited Books from 1558.
Seditious – Action, speech or writing that is
seen as opposing the government

Source A

Fear of the book

Erasmus, a Latin scholar and a Catholic reformer,
who criticised the excesses of Catholicism but kept
his distance from Luther, expressed a deep anxiety
about printing. He wrote in Adages (1508):
‘To what corner of the world do they not fly,
these swarms of new books? It may be that one
here and there contributes something worth
knowing, but the very multitude of them is hurtful
to scholarship, because it creates a glut, and even
in good things satiety is most harmful ... [printers]
fill the world with books, not just trifling things
Fig. 10 – The macabre dance. (such as I write, perhaps), but stupid, ignorant,
This sixteenth-century print shows how the fear of printing was slanderous, scandalous, raving, irreligious and
dramatised in visual representations of the time. In this highly seditious books, and the number of them
interesting woodcut the coming of print is associated with the end is such that even the valuable publications lose
of the world. The interior of the printer’s workshop here is the site their value.’
of a dance of death. Skeletal figures control the printer and his
workers, define and dictate what is to be done and what is to be Source
Print Culture


Write briefly why some people feared that the development of
print could lead to the growth of dissenting ideas.

4 The Reading Mania

Through the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries literacy rates went

New words
up in most parts of Europe. Churches of different denominations
set up schools in villages, carrying literacy to peasants and artisans. Denominations – Sub groups within a religion
By the end of the eighteenth century, in some parts of Europe Almanac – An annual publication giving
literacy rates were as high as 60 to 80 per cent. As literacy and schools astronomical data, information about the
movements of the sun and moon, timing of
spread in European countries, there was a virtual reading mania.
full tides and eclipses, and much else that was
People wanted books to read and printers produced books in ever-
of importance in the everyday life of people
increasing numbers.
Chapbook – A term used to describe pocket-
New forms of popular literature appeared in print, targeting new size books that are sold by travelling pedlars
audiences. Booksellers employed pedlars who roamed around called chapmen. These became popular from
villages, carrying little books for sale. There were almanacs or ritual the time of the sixteenth-century print revolution
calendars, along with ballads and folktales. But other forms of reading
matter, largely for entertainment, began to reach ordinary readers as
well. In England, penny chapbooks were carried by petty pedlars
known as chapmen, and sold for a penny, so that even the poor
could buy them. In France, were the ‘Biliotheque Bleue’, which were
low-priced small books printed on poor quality paper, and bound
in cheap blue covers. Then there were the romances, printed on
four to six pages, and the more substantial ‘histories’ which were
stories about the past. Books were of various sizes, serving many
different purposes and interests.

The periodical press developed from the early eighteenth century, Box 2
combining information about current affairs with entertainment.
Newspapers and journals carried information about wars and trade, In 1791, a London publisher, James Lackington,
wrote in his diary:
India and the Contemporary World

as well as news of developments in other places.

The sale of books in general has increased
Similarly, the ideas of scientists and philosophers now became more prodigiously within the last twenty years. The
poorer sort of farmers and even the poor country
accessible to the common people. Ancient and medieval scientific people in general who before that period spent
texts were compiled and published, and maps and scientific diagrams their winter evenings in relating stories of witches,
ghosts, hobgoblins … now shorten the winter
were widely printed. When scientists like Isaac Newton began to night by hearing their sons and daughters read
publish their discoveries, they could influence a much wider circle them tales, romances, etc. If John goes to town
with a load of hay, he is charged to be sure not
of scientifically minded readers. The writings of thinkers such as
to forget to bring home Peregrine Pickle’s
Thomas Paine, Voltaire and Jean Jacques Rousseau were also widely Adventure … and when Dolly is sent to sell her
eggs, she is commissioned to purchase The
printed and read. Thus their ideas about science, reason and rationality
History of Joseph Andrews.’
found their way into popular literature.

4.1 ‘Tremble, therefore, tyrants of the world!’
By the mid-eighteenth century, there was a common conviction that Source B
books were a means of spreading progress and enlightenment. Many
believed that books could change the world, liberate society from This is how Mercier describes the impact of the
printed word, and the power of reading in one
despotism and tyranny, and herald a time when reason and intellect
of his books:
would rule. Louise-Sebastien Mercier, a novelist in eighteenth-century
‘Anyone who had seen me reading would have
France, declared: ‘The printing press is the most powerful engine of compared me to a man dying of thirst who was
progress and public opinion is the force that will sweep despotism gulping down some fresh, pure water … Lighting
my lamp with extraordinary caution, I threw
away.’ In many of Mercier’s novels, the heroes are transformed by myself hungrily into the reading. An easy
acts of reading. They devour books, are lost in the world books eloquence, effortless and animated, carried me
create, and become enlightened in the process. Convinced of the from one page to the next without my noticing
it. A clock struck off the hours in the silence of
power of print in bringing enlightenment and destroying the basis the shadows, and I heard nothing. My lamp began
of despotism, Mercier proclaimed: ‘Tremble, therefore, tyrants of to run out of oil and produced only a pale light,
but still I read on. I could not even take out time
the world! Tremble before the virtual writer!’
to raise the wick for fear of interrupting my
pleasure. How those new ideas rushed into my
brain! How my intelligence adopted them!’
4.2 Print Culture and the French Revolution
Many historians have argued that print culture created the conditions Quoted by Robert Darnton, The Forbidden Best-
within which French Revolution occurred. Can we make such Sellers of Pre-Revolutionary France, 1995.

a connection? Source
Three types of arguments have been usually put forward.

First: print popularised the ideas of the Enlightenment thinkers.

New words
Collectively, their writings provided a critical commentary on tradition,
superstition and despotism. They argued for the rule of reason rather Despotism – A system of governance in which
than custom, and demanded that everything be judged through the absolute power is exercised by an individual,
application of reason and rationality. They attacked the sacred unregulated by legal and constitutional checks
authority of the Church and the despotic power of the state, thus
eroding the legitimacy of a social order based on tradition. The
writings of Voltaire and Rousseau were read widely; and those who
read these books saw the world through new eyes, eyes that were Print Culture

questioning, critical and rational.

Second: print created a new culture of dialogue and debate. All

values, norms and institutions were re-evaluated and discussed by a
public that had become aware of the power of reason, and
recognised the need to question existing ideas and beliefs. Within
this public culture, new ideas of social revolution came into being.

Third: by the 1780s there was an outpouring of literature that mocked

the royalty and criticised their morality. In the process, it raised

questions about the existing social order. Cartoons and caricatures
typically suggested that the monarchy remained absorbed only in
sensual pleasures while the common people suffered immense
hardships. This literature circulated underground and led to the
growth of hostile sentiments against the monarchy.

How do we look at these arguments? There can be no doubt that

print helps the spread of ideas. But we must remember that people
did not read just one kind of literature. If they read the ideas of
Voltaire and Rousseau, they were also exposed to monarchical and Activity
Church propaganda. They were not influenced directly by everything
Imagine that you are a cartoonist in France
they read or saw. They accepted some ideas and rejected others.
before the revolution. Design a cartoon as it
They interpreted things their own way. Print did not directly shape
would have appeared in a pamphlet.
their minds, but it did open up the possibility of thinking differently.
India and the Contemporary World

Fig. 11 – The nobility and the common people before the French Revolution, a
cartoon of the late eighteenth century.
The cartoon shows how the ordinary people – peasants, artisans and workers – had a
hard time while the nobility enjoyed life and oppressed them. Circulation of cartoons
like this one had an impact on the thinking of people before the revolution.

Why do some historians think that print culture created the basis for the French Revolution?

5 The Nineteenth Century

The nineteenth century saw vast leaps in mass literacy in Europe,

bringing in large numbers of new readers among children,
women and workers.

5.1 Children, Women and Workers

As primary education became compulsory from the late
nineteenth century, children became an important category
of readers. Production of school textbooks became critical
for the publishing industry. A children’s press, devoted to
literature for children alone, was set up in France in 1857.
This press published new works as well as old fairy tales
and folk tales. The Grimm Brothers in Germany spent years
compiling traditional folk tales gathered from peasants. What
they collected was edited before the stories were published
in a collection in 1812. Anything that was considered
unsuitable for children or would appear vulgar to the elites,
was not included in the published version. Rural folk tales
thus acquired a new form. In this way, print recorded old
tales but also changed them.

Women became important as readers as well as writers. Penny

magazines (see Fig. 12) were especially meant for women, as
Fig. 12 – Frontispiece of Penny Magazine.
were manuals teaching proper behaviour and housekeeping. Penny Magazine was published between 1832 and 1835
When novels began to be written in the nineteenth century, in England by the Society for the Diffusion of Useful
Knowledge. It was aimed primarily at the working class.
women were seen as important readers. Some of the best-
known novelists were women: Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters,
George Eliot. Their writings became important in defining a new
type of woman: a person with will, strength of personality,
determination and the power to think.
Print Culture

Box 3
Lending libraries had been in existence from the seventeenth century
onwards. In the nineteenth century, lending libraries in England Thomas Wood, a Yorkshire mechanic, narrated
how he would rent old newspapers and read
became instruments for educating white-collar workers, artisans them by firelight in the evenings as he could not
and lower-middle-class people. Sometimes, self-educated working afford candles. Autobiographies of poor people
narrated their struggles to read against grim
class people wrote for themselves. After the working day was
obstacles: the twentieth-century Russian
gradually shortened from the mid-nineteenth century, workers had revolutionary author Maxim Gorky’s My Childhood
some time for self-improvement and self-expression. They wrote and My University provide glimpses of such
political tracts and autobiographies in large numbers.

5.2 Further Innovations
By the late eighteenth century, the press came to be made out of
metal. Through the nineteenth century, there were a series of further
innovations in printing technology. By the mid-nineteenth century,
Richard M. Hoe of New York had perfected the power-driven
cylindrical press. This was capable of printing 8,000 sheets per hour.
This press was particularly useful for printing newspapers. In the
late nineteenth century, the offset press was developed which could
print up to six colours at a time. From the turn of the twentieth
century, electrically operated presses accelerated printing operations.
A series of other developments followed. Methods of feeding paper
improved, the quality of plates became better, automatic paper reels
and photoelectric controls of the colour register were introduced.
The accumulation of several individual mechanical improvements
transformed the appearance of printed texts.

Printers and publishers continuously developed new strategies

to sell their product. Nineteenth-century periodicals serialised
important novels, which gave birth to a particular way of writing
novels. In the 1920s in England, popular works were sold in
cheap series, called the Shilling Series. The dust cover or the
book jacket is also a twentieth-century innovation. With the Look at Fig. 13. What impact do such
advertisements have on the public mind?
onset of the Great Depression in the 1930s, publishers feared a
Do you think everyone reacts to printed material
decline in book purchases. To sustain buying, they brought
in the same way?
out cheap paperback editions.
India and the Contemporary World

Fig. 13 – Advertisements at a railway station in England, a lithograph by Alfred Concanen, 1874.

Printed advertisements and notices were plastered on street walls, railway platforms and public buildings.

6 India and the World of Print

Let us see when printing began in India and how ideas and information
were written before the age of print.

6.1 Manuscripts Before the Age of Print

India had a very rich and old tradition of handwritten manuscripts –
in Sanskrit, Arabic, Persian, as well as in various vernacular languages.
Manuscripts were copied on palm leaves or on handmade paper.
Pages were sometimes beautifully illustrated. They would be either Fig. 14 – Pages
from the Gita
pressed between wooden covers or sewn together to ensure Govinda of
preservation. Manuscripts continued to be produced till well after Jayadeva,
eighteenth century.
the introduction of print, down to the late nineteenth century. This is a palm-leaf
Manuscripts, however, were highly expensive and fragile. They had manuscript in
to be handled carefully, and they could not be read easily as the accordion format.

Print Culture

Fig. 15 – Pages from the Diwan of Hafiz, 1824.

Hafiz was a fourteenth-century poet whose collected works are known as Diwan. Notice the
beautiful calligraphy and the elaborate illustration and design. Manuscripts like this continued
to be produced for the rich even after the coming of the letterpress.

script was written in different styles. So
manuscripts were not widely used in
everyday life. Even though pre-colonial
Bengal had developed an extensive network
of village primary schools, students very
often did not read texts. They only learnt
to write. Teachers dictated portions of
texts from memory and students wrote Fig. 16 – Pages from the Rigveda.
Handwritten manuscripts continued to be produced in India till much after
them down. Many thus became literate the coming of print. This manuscript was produced in the eighteenth
without ever actually reading any kinds century in the Malayalam script.

of texts.

6.2 Print Comes to India

The printing press first came to Goa with Portuguese missionaries
in the mid-sixteenth century. Jesuit priests learnt Konkani and
printed several tracts. By 1674, about 50 books had been printed
in the Konkani and in Kanara languages. Catholic priests printed
the first Tamil book in 1579 at Cochin, and in 1713 the first
Malayalam book was printed by them. By 1710, Dutch Protestant
missionaries had printed 32 Tamil texts, many of them translations
of older works.
The English language press did not grow in India till quite late even
though the English East India Company began to import presses
from the late seventeenth century.

From 1780, James Augustus Hickey began to edit the Bengal Gazette,
a weekly magazine that described itself as ‘a commercial paper open
to all, but influenced by none’. So it was private English enterprise,
proud of its independence from colonial influence, that began English
printing in India. Hickey published a lot of advertisements, including
India and the Contemporary World

those that related to the import and sale of slaves. But he also Source C
published a lot of gossip about the Company’s senior officials in As late as 1768, a William Bolts affixed a notice
India. Enraged by this, Governor-General Warren Hastings on a public building in Calcutta:
persecuted Hickey, and encouraged the publication of officially ‘To the Public: Mr. Bolts takes this method of
sanctioned newspapers that could counter the flow of information informing the public that the want of a printing
press in this city being of a great disadvantage in
that damaged the image of the colonial government. By the business ... he is going to give the best
close of the eighteenth century, a number of newspapers and encouragement to any ... persons who are
journals appeared in print. There were Indians, too, who began versed in the business of printing.’

to publish Indian newspapers. The first to appear was the weekly Bolts, however, left for England soon after and
nothing came of the promise.
Bengal Gazette, brought out by Gangadhar Bhattacharya, who
was close to Rammohun Roy.

7 Religious Reform and Public Debates

From the early nineteenth century, as you know, there were intense
debates around religious issues. Different groups confronted the
changes happening within colonial society in different ways, and
offered a variety of new interpretations of the beliefs of different
religions. Some criticised existing practices and campaigned for
reform, while others countered the arguments of reformers. These
debates were carried out in public and in print. Printed tracts and
newspapers not only spread the new ideas, but they shaped the
nature of the debate. A wider public could now participate in these
public discussions and express their views. New ideas emerged
through these clashes of opinions.

This was a time of intense controversies between social and religious

reformers and the Hindu orthodoxy over matters like widow
immolation, monotheism, Brahmanical priesthood and idolatry. In
Bengal, as the debate developed, tracts and newspapers proliferated,
circulating a variety of arguments. To reach a wider audience, the
ideas were printed in the everyday, spoken language of ordinary
people. Rammohun Roy published the Sambad Kaumudi from 1821
and the Hindu orthodoxy commissioned the Samachar Chandrika
to oppose his opinions. From 1822, two Persian newspapers were
published, Jam-i-Jahan Nama and Shamsul Akhbar. In the same year,
a Gujarati newspaper, the Bombay Samachar, made its appearance.

In north India, the ulama were deeply anxious about the collapse
of Muslim dynasties. They feared that colonial rulers would
encourage conversion, change the Muslim personal laws. To counter
this, they used cheap lithographic presses, published Persian and
Urdu translations of holy scriptures, and printed religious
newspapers and tracts. The Deoband Seminary, founded in 1867,
published thousands upon thousands of fatwas telling Muslim
Print Culture

readers how to conduct themselves in their everyday lives, and

explaining the meanings of Islamic doctrines. All through the
nineteenth century, a number of Muslim sects and seminaries New words
appeared, each with a different interpretation of faith, each keen Ulama – Legal scholars of Islam and the sharia
on enlarging its following and countering the influence of its ( a body of Islamic law)
opponents. Urdu print helped them conduct these battles in public. Fatwa – A legal pronouncement on Islamic
law usually given by a mufti (legal scholar) to
Among Hindus, too, print encouraged the reading of religious texts,
clarify issues on which the law is uncertain
especially in the vernacular languages. The first printed edition of

the Ramcharitmanas of Tulsidas, a sixteenth-century text, came out
from Calcutta in 1810. By the mid-nineteenth century, cheap
lithographic editions flooded north Indian markets. From the 1880s,
the Naval Kishore Press at Lucknow and the Shri Venkateshwar
Press in Bombay published numerous religious texts in vernaculars.
In their printed and portable form, these could be read easily by the
faithful at any place and time. They could also be read out to large
groups of illiterate men and women.

Religious texts, therefore, reached a very wide circle of people,

encouraging discussions, debates and controversies within and
among different religions.

Print did not only stimulate the publication of conflicting opinions

amongst communities, but it also connected communities and people
in different parts of India. Newspapers conveyed news from one
place to another, creating pan-Indian identities.

Source D

Why Newspapers?
‘Krishnaji Trimbuck Ranade inhabitant of Poona intends to publish a Newspaper in the Marathi Language with a view of
affording useful information on every topic of local interest. It will be open for free discussion on subjects of general utility,
scientific investigation and the speculations connected with the antiquities, statistics, curiosities, history and geography of
the country and of the Deccan especially… the patronage and support of all interested in the diffusion of knowledge and
Welfare of the People is earnestly solicited.’
Bombay Telegraph and Courier, 6 January 1849
‘The task of the native newspapers and political associations is identical to the role of the Opposition in the House of
Commons in Parliament in England. That is of critically examining government policy to suggest improvements, by removing
those parts that will not be to the benefit of the people, and also by ensuring speedy implementation.
These associations ought to carefully study the particular issues, gather diverse relevant information on the nation as well
as on what are the possible and desirable improvements, and this will surely earn it considerable influence.’
India and the Contemporary World

Native Opinion, 3 April 1870.


8 New Forms of Publication

Printing created an appetite for new kinds of writing. As more and

more people could now read, they wanted to see their own lives,
experiences, emotions and relationships reflected in what they read.
The novel, a literary firm which had developed in Europe, ideally
catered to this need. It soon acquired distinctively Indian forms and
styles. For readers, it opened up new worlds of experience, and
gave a vivid sense of the diversity of human lives.

Other new literary forms also entered the world of reading –

lyrics, short stories, essays about social and political matters. In
different ways, they reinforced the new emphasis on human lives
and intimate feelings, about the political and social rules that shaped
such things.
By the end of the nineteenth century, a new visual
culture was taking shape. With the setting up of an
increasing number of printing presses, visual images
could be easily reproduced in multiple copies. Painters
like Raja Ravi Varma produced images for mass
circulation. Poor wood engravers who made
woodblocks set up shop near the letterpresses, and
were employed by print shops. Cheap prints and
calendars, easily available in the bazaar, could be
bought even by the poor to decorate the walls of
their homes or places of work. These prints began
shaping popular ideas about modernity and tradition,
religion and politics, and society and culture.

By the 1870s, caricatures and cartoons were being

published in journals and newspapers, commenting
on social and political issues. Some caricatures
ridiculed the educated Indians’ fascination with
Print Culture

Western tastes and clothes, while others expressed

the fear of social change. There were imperial
caricatures lampooning nationalists, as well as
nationalist cartoons criticising imperial rule.

Fig. 17 – Raja Ritudhwaj rescuing Princess Madalsa

from the captivity of demons, print by Ravi Varma.
Raja Ravi Varma produced innumerable mythological
paintings that were printed at the Ravi Varma Press.

8.1 Women and Print
Lives and feelings of women began to be written in particularly
vivid and intense ways. Women’s reading, therefore, increased
enormously in middle-class homes. Liberal husbands and fathers
began educating their womenfolk at home, and sent them to schools
when women’s schools were set up in the cities and towns after the
mid-nineteenth century. Many journals began carrying writings by
women, and explained why women should be educated. They also
carried a syllabus and attached suitable reading matter which could
be used for home-based schooling.

But not all families were liberal. Conservative Hindus believed

that a literate girl would be widowed and Muslims feared that
educated women would be corrupted by reading Urdu romances.
Sometimes, rebel women defied such prohibition. We know the
story of a girl in a conservative Muslim family of north India
who secretly learnt to read and write in Urdu. Her family wanted
Fig. 18 – The cover page of Indian Charivari.
her to read only the Arabic Quran which she did not understand. The Indian Charivari was one of the many
So she insisted on learning to read a language that was her own. In journals of caricature and satire published in
the late nineteenth century.
East Bengal, in the early nineteenth century, Rashsundari Debi, a Notice that the imperial British figure is
young married girl in a very orthodox household, learnt to read in positioned right at the centre. He is
authoritative and imperial; telling the natives
the secrecy of her kitchen. Later, she wrote her autobiography
what is to be done. The natives sit on either
Amar Jiban which was published in 1876. It was the first full-length side of him, servile and submissive. The
autobiography published in the Bengali language. Indians are being shown a copy of Punch, the
British journal of cartoons and satire. You can
almost hear the British master say – ‘This is
Since social reforms and novels had already created a great interest
the model, produce Indian versions of it.’
in women’s lives and emotions, there was also an interest in what
women would have to say about their own lives. From the 1860s,
a few Bengali women like Kailashbashini Debi wrote books
highlighting the experiences of women – about how women were
imprisoned at home, kept in ignorance, forced to do hard domestic
India and the Contemporary World

labour and treated unjustly by the very people they served. In the Source E
1880s, in present-day Maharashtra, Tarabai Shinde and Pandita
In 1926, Begum Rokeya Sakhawat Hossein, a
Ramabai wrote with passionate anger about the miserable lives noted educationist and literary figure, strongly
of upper-caste Hindu women, especially widows. A woman in a condemned men for withholding education from
Tamil novel expressed what reading meant to women who were women in the name of religion as she addressed
the Bengal Women’s Education Conference:
so greatly confined by social regulations: ‘For various reasons, my
‘The opponents of female education say that
world is small … More than half my life’s happiness has come women will become unruly … Fie! They call
from books …’ themselves Muslims and yet go against the basic
tenet of Islam which gives Women an equal right
While Urdu, Tamil, Bengali and Marathi print culture had developed to education. If men are not led astray once
early, Hindi printing began seriously only from the 1870s. Soon, a educated, why should women?’

large segment of it was devoted to the education of women. In


the early twentieth century, journals, written for and sometimes
edited by women, became extremely popular. They discussed
issues like women’s education, widowhood, widow remarriage
and the national movement. Some of them offered household
and fashion lessons to women and brought entertainment through
short stories and serialised novels.

In Punjab, too, a similar folk literature was widely printed from

the early twentieth century. Ram Chaddha published the fast-selling
Istri Dharm Vichar to teach women how to be obedient wives.
The Khalsa Tract Society published cheap booklets with a similar
message. Many of these were in the form of dialogues about the
qualities of a good woman.

In Bengal, an entire area in central Calcutta – the Battala – was

devoted to the printing of popular books. Here you could buy
cheap editions of religious tracts and scriptures, as well as literature
that was considered obscene and scandalous. By the late nineteenth Fig. 19 – Ghor Kali (The End of the
World), coloured woodcut, late
century, a lot of these books were being profusely illustrated with nineteenth century.
woodcuts and coloured lithographs. Pedlars took the Battala The artist’s vision of the destruction
of proper family relations. Here the
publications to homes, enabling women to read them in their husband is totally dominated by his
leisure time. wife who is perched on his shoulder.
He is cruel towards his mother,
dragging her like an animal, by the

Fig. 20 – An Indian
couple, black and white
The image shows the
artist’s fear that the
Print Culture

cultural impact of the

West has turned the
family upside down.
Notice that the man is
playing the veena while
the woman is smoking a
hookah. The move
towards women’s
education in the late
nineteenth century
created anxiety about the
breakdown of traditional
family roles.

Fig. 21 – A European couple sitting on chairs,
nineteenth-century woodcut.
The picture suggests traditional family roles. The
Sahib holds a liquor bottle in his hand while the
Memsahib plays the violin.

8.2 Print and the Poor People

Very cheap small books were brought to markets in nineteenth-century
Madras towns and sold at crossroads, allowing poor people travelling
to markets to buy them. Public libraries were set up from the early
twentieth century, expanding the access to books. These libraries were
located mostly in cities and towns, and at times in prosperous villages.
For rich local patrons, setting up a library was a way of acquiring prestige.
From the late nineteenth century, issues of caste discrimination began to
be written about in many printed tracts and essays. Jyotiba Phule, the Activity
Maratha pioneer of ‘low caste’ protest movements, wrote about the
Look at Figs. 19, 20 and 21 carefully.
injustices of the caste system in his Gulamgiri (1871). In the twentieth
¾ What comment are the artists making on the
century, B.R. Ambedkar in Maharashtra and E.V. Ramaswamy Naicker
social changes taking place in society?
in Madras, better known as Periyar, wrote powerfully on caste and
¾ What changes in society were taking place to
their writings were read by people all over India. Local protest
provoke this reaction?
movements and sects also created a lot of popular journals and tracts ¾ Do you agree with the artist’s view?
criticising ancient scriptures and envisioning a new and just future.
India and the Contemporary World

Workers in factories were too overworked and lacked the education to

write much about their experiences. But Kashibaba, a Kanpur
millworker, wrote and published Chhote Aur Bade Ka Sawal in 1938 to
show the links between caste and class exploitation. The poems of
another Kanpur millworker, who wrote under the name of Sudarshan
Chakr between 1935 and 1955, were brought together and published
in a collection called Sacchi Kavitayan. By the 1930s, Bangalore cotton
millworkers set up libraries to educate themselves, following the example
of Bombay workers. These were sponsored by social reformers who
tried to restrict excessive drinking among them, to bring literacy and,
sometimes, to propagate the message of nationalism.

9 Print and Censorship

Before 1798, the colonial state under the East India Company was Box 4
not too concerned with censorship. Strangely, its early measures to
control printed matter were directed against Englishmen in India Sometimes, the government found it hard to
who were critical of Company misrule and hated the actions of find candidates for editorship of loyalist papers.
When Sanders, editor of the Statesman that had
particular Company officers. The Company was worried that such
been founded in 1877, was approached, he
criticisms might be used by its critics in England to attack its trade asked rudely how much he would be paid
monopoly in India. for suffering the loss of freedom. The Friend
of India refused a government subsidy, fearing
By the 1820s, the Calcutta Supreme Court passed certain regulations that this would force it to be obedient to
government commands.
to control press freedom and the Company began encouraging
publication of newspapers that would celebrate Britsh rule. In 1835,
faced with urgent petitions by editors of English and vernacular
Box 5
newspapers, Governor-General Bentinck agreed to revise press laws.
Thomas Macaulay, a liberal colonial official, formulated new rules
The power of the printed word is most often
that restored the earlier freedoms. seen in the way governments seek to regulate
and suppress print. The colonial government kept
After the revolt of 1857, the attitude to freedom of the press
continuous track of all books and newspapers
changed. Enraged Englishmen demanded a clamp down on the published in India and passed numerous laws to
‘native’ press. As vernacular newspapers became assertively control the press.
nationalist, the colonial government began debating measures of During the First World War, under the Defence
of India Rules, 22 newspapers had to furnish
stringent control. In 1878, the Vernacular Press Act was passed,
securities. Of these, 18 shut down rather than
modelled on the Irish Press Laws. It provided the government comply with government orders. The Sedition
with extensive rights to censor reports and editorials in the vernacular Committee Report under Rowlatt in 1919 further
strengthened controls that led to imposition of
press. From now on the government kept regular track of the
penalties on various newspapers. At the outbreak
vernacular newspapers published in different provinces. When a of the Second World War, the Defence of India
report was judged as seditious, the newspaper was warned, and if Act was passed, allowing censoring of reports of
war-related topics. All reports about the Quit India
the warning was ignored, the press was liable to be seized and the movement came under its purview. In August
printing machinery confiscated. 1942, about 90 newspapers were suppressed.

Despite repressive measures, nationalist newspapers grew in numbers

in all parts of India. They reported on colonial misrule and
Print Culture
Source F
encouraged nationalist activities. Attempts to throttle nationalist
criticism provoked militant protest. This in turn led to a renewed Gandhi said in 1922:
cycle of persecution and protests. When Punjab revolutionaries were ‘Liberty of speech ... liberty of the press ...
freedom of association. The Government of India
deported in 1907, Balgangadhar Tilak wrote with great sympathy
is now seeking to crush the three powerful
about them in his Kesari. This led to his imprisonment in 1908, vehicles of expressing and cultivating public
provoking in turn widespread protests all over India. opinion. The fight for Swaraj, for Khilafat ...
means a fight for this threatened freedom
before all else ...’

Write in brief

1. Give reasons for the following:

a) Woodblock print only came to Europe after 1295.
b) Martin Luther was in favour of print and spoke out in praise of it.
c) The Roman Catholic Church began keeping an Index of Prohibited books from
the mid-sixteenth century.
d) Gandhi said the fight for Swaraj is a fight for liberty of speech, liberty of the
press, and freedom of association.

Write in brief
2. Write short notes to show what you know about:
a) The Gutenberg Press
b) Erasmus’s idea of the printed book
c) The Vernacular Press Act
3. What did the spread of print culture in nineteenth century India mean to:
a) Women
b) The poor
c) Reformers


1. Why did some people in eighteenth century Europe think that print culture would bring
enlightenment and end despotism?
2. Why did some people fear the effect of easily available printed books? Choose one example
from Europe and one from India.
3. What were the effects of the spread of print culture for poor people in nineteenth century India?
India and the Contemporary World

4. Explain how print culture assisted the growth of nationalism in India.


Find out more about the changes in print technology in the last 100 years. Write about the
changes, explaining why they have taken place, what their consequences have been.

Chapter I
The Rise of Nationalism in Europe

EuropeNationalism in Europe
Fig. 1 — The Dream of Worldwide Democratic and Social Republics – The Pact Between Nations, a print prepared by
Frédéric Sorrieu, 1848.

In 1848, Frédéric Sorrieu, a French artist, prepared a series of four

New words
prints visualising his dream of a world made up of ‘democratic
and social Republics’, as he called them. The first print (Fig. 1) of the Absolutist – Literally, a government or
series, shows the peoples of Europe and America – men and women system of rule that has no restraints on
of all ages and social classes – marching in a long train, and offering the power exercised. In history, the term
homage to the statue of Liberty as they pass by it. As you would refers to a form of monarchical
Rise inof
recall, artists of the time of the French Revolution personified Liberty government that was centralised,
as a female figure – here you can recognise the torch of Enlightenment militarised and repressive
The Nationalism

she bears in one hand and the Charter of the Rights of Man in the Utopian – A vision of a society that is so
other. On the earth in the foreground of the image lie the shattered ideal that it is unlikely to actually exist
remains of the symbols of absolutist institutions. In Sorrieu’s
utopian vision, the peoples of the world are grouped as distinct Activity
nations, identified through their flags and national costume. Leading
In what way do you think this print (Fig. 1)
the procession, way past the statue of Liberty, are the United States
depicts a utopian vision?
and Switzerland, which by this time were already nation-states. France,

identifiable by the revolutionary tricolour, has just reached the statue. Source A
She is followed by the peoples of Germany, bearing the black, red
Ernst Renan, ‘What is a Nation?’
and gold flag. Interestingly, at the time when Sorrieu created this
In a lecture delivered at the University of
image, the German peoples did not yet exist as a united nation – the
Sorbonne in 1882, the French philosopher Ernst
flag they carry is an expression of liberal hopes in 1848 to unify the Renan (1823-92) outlined his understanding of
numerous German-speaking principalities into a nation-state under what makes a nation. The lecture was
subsequently published as a famous essay entitled
a democratic constitution. Following the German peoples are the
‘Qu’est-ce qu’une nation?’ (‘What is a Nation?’).
peoples of Austria, the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, Lombardy, In this essay Renan criticises the notion suggested
Poland, England, Ireland, Hungary and Russia. From the heavens by others that a nation is formed by a common
language, race, religion, or territory:
above, Christ, saints and angels gaze upon the scene. They have
‘A nation is the culmination of a long past of
been used by the artist to symbolise fraternity among the nations of endeavours, sacrifice and devotion. A heroic past,
the world. great men, glory, that is the social capital upon
which one bases a national idea. To have
This chapter will deal with many of the issues visualised by Sorrieu common glories in the past, to have a common
in Fig. 1. During the nineteenth century, nationalism emerged as a will in the present, to have performed great deeds
together, to wish to perform still more, these
force which brought about sweeping changes in the political and
are the essential conditions of being a people. A
mental world of Europe. The end result of these changes was the nation is therefore a large-scale solidarity … Its
emergence of the nation-state in place of the multi-national dynastic existence is a daily plebiscite … A province is its
inhabitants; if anyone has the right to be
empires of Europe. The concept and practices of a modern state, in
consulted, it is the inhabitant. A nation never
which a centralised power exercised sovereign control over a clearly has any real interest in annexing or holding on to
defined territory, had been developing over a long period of time a country against its will. The existence of nations
is a good thing, a necessity even. Their existence
in Europe. But a nation-state was one in which the majority of its
is a guarantee of liberty, which would be lost if
citizens, and not only its rulers, came to develop a sense of common the world had only one law and only one master.’
identity and shared history or descent. This commonness did not
exist from time immemorial; it was forged through struggles, through Source
the actions of leaders and the common people. This chapter will
look at the diverse processes through which nation-states and
New words
nationalism came into being in nineteenth-century Europe.
Plebiscite – A direct vote by which all the
people of a region are asked to accept or reject
India and the Contemporary World

a proposal

Summarise the attributes of a nation, as Renan
understands them. Why, in his view, are nations

1 The French Revolution and the Idea of the Nation

The first clear expression of nationalism came with

the French Revolution in 1789. France, as you
would remember, was a full-fledged territorial state
in 1789 under the rule of an absolute monarch.
The political and constitutional changes that came
in the wake of the French Revolution led to the
transfer of sovereignty from the monarchy to a
body of French citizens. The revolution proclaimed
that it was the people who would henceforth
constitute the nation and shape its destiny.

From the very beginning, the French revolutionaries

introduced various measures and practices that
could create a sense of collective identity amongst
the French people. The ideas of la patrie (the
fatherland) and le citoyen (the citizen) emphasised
the notion of a united community enjoying equal rights under a Fig. 2 — The cover of a German almanac
designed by the journalist Andreas Rebmann in
constitution. A new French flag, the tricolour, was chosen to replace 1798.
the former royal standard. The Estates General was elected by the The image of the French Bastille being stormed
by the revolutionary crowd has been placed
body of active citizens and renamed the National Assembly. New next to a similar fortress meant to represent the
hymns were composed, oaths taken and martyrs commemorated, bastion of despotic rule in the German province
of Kassel. Accompanying the illustration is the
all in the name of the nation. A centralised administrative system slogan: ‘The people must seize their own
was put in place and it formulated uniform laws for all citizens freedom!’ Rebmann lived in the city of Mainz
and was a member of a German Jacobin group.
within its territory. Internal customs duties and dues were abolished
and a uniform system of weights and measures was adopted.
Regional dialects were discouraged and French, as it was spoken
and written in Paris, became the common language of the nation.

The revolutionaries further declared that it was the mission and the
destiny of the French nation to liberate the peoples of Europe Nationalism in Europe
from despotism, in other words to help other peoples of Europe
to become nations.

When the news of the events in France reached the different cities
of Europe, students and other members of educated middle classes
began setting up Jacobin clubs. Their activities and campaigns
prepared the way for the French armies which moved into Holland,
Belgium, Switzerland and much of Italy in the 1790s. With the
outbreak of the revolutionary wars, the French armies began to
carry the idea of nationalism abroad.
















EGYPT Fig. 3 — Europe after the

Congress of Vienna, 1815.

Within the wide swathe of territory that came under his control,
Napoleon set about introducing many of the reforms that he had
already introduced in France. Through a return to monarchy
India and the Contemporary World

Napoleon had, no doubt, destroyed democracy in France, but in

the administrative field he had incorporated revolutionary principles
in order to make the whole system more rational and efficient. The
Civil Code of 1804 – usually known as the Napoleonic Code –
did away with all privileges based on birth, established equality
before the law and secured the right to property. This Code was
exported to the regions under French control. In the Dutch Republic,
in Switzerland, in Italy and Germany, Napoleon simplified
administrative divisions, abolished the feudal system and freed
peasants from serfdom and manorial dues. In the towns too, guild
restrictions were removed. Transport and communication systems
were improved. Peasants, artisans, workers and new businessmen

Fig. 4 — The Planting of Tree of Liberty in Zweibrücken, Germany.
The subject of this colour print by the German painter Karl Kaspar Fritz is the occupation of the town of Zweibrücken
by the French armies. French soldiers, recognisable by their blue, white and red uniforms, have been portrayed as
oppressors as they seize a peasant’s cart (left), harass some young women (centre foreground) and force a peasant
down to his knees. The plaque being affixed to the Tree of Liberty carries a German inscription which in translation
reads: ‘Take freedom and equality from us, the model of humanity.’ This is a sarcastic reference to the claim of the
French as being liberators who opposed monarchy in the territories they entered.

enjoyed a new-found freedom. Businessmen and small-scale

producers of goods, in particular, began to realise that uniform
laws, standardised weights and measures, and a common national
currency would facilitate the movement and exchange of goods
and capital from one region to another.

However, in the areas conquered, the reactions of the local

populations to French rule were mixed. Initially, in many places such
Nationalism in Europe
as Holland and Switzerland, as well as in certain cities like Brussels,
Mainz, Milan and Warsaw, the French armies were welcomed as
harbingers of liberty. But the initial enthusiasm soon turned to hostility,
as it became clear that the new administrative arrangements did not
go hand in hand with political freedom. Increased taxation,
censorship, forced conscription into the French armies required to
Fig. 5 — The courier of Rhineland loses all that
conquer the rest of Europe, all seemed to outweigh the advantages
he has on his way home from Leipzig.
of the administrative changes. Napoleon here is represented as a postman on
his way back to France after he lost the battle of
Leipzig in 1813. Each letter dropping out of his
bag bears the names of the territories he lost.

2 The Making of Nationalism in Europe

If you look at the map of mid-eighteenth-century Europe you will

find that there were no ‘nation-states’ as we know them today.
Some important dates
What we know today as Germany, Italy and Switzerland were 1797
Napoleon invades Italy; Napoleonic wars
divided into kingdoms, duchies and cantons whose rulers had their begin.
autonomous territories. Eastern and Central Europe were under
autocratic monarchies within the territories of which lived diverse Fall of Napoleon; the Vienna Peace
peoples. They did not see themselves as sharing a collective identity Settlement.

or a common culture. Often, they even spoke different languages 1821

and belonged to different ethnic groups. The Habsburg Empire Greek struggle for independence begins.
that ruled over Austria-Hungary, for example, was a patchwork of 1848
many different regions and peoples. It included the Alpine regions Revolutions in Europe; artisans, industrial
workers and peasants revolt against
– the Tyrol, Austria and the Sudetenland – as well as Bohemia, economic hardships; middle classes
where the aristocracy was predominantly German-speaking. It also demand constitutions and representative
governments; Italians, Germans, Magyars,
included the Italian-speaking provinces of Lombardy and Venetia. Poles, Czechs, etc. demand nation-states.
In Hungary, half of the population spoke Magyar while the other
half spoke a variety of dialects. In Galicia, the aristocracy spoke Unification of Italy.
Polish. Besides these three dominant groups, there also lived within
the boundaries of the empire, a mass of subject peasant peoples – Unification of Germany.
Bohemians and Slovaks to the north, Slovenes in Carniola, Croats
to the south, and Roumans to the east in Transylvania. Such
Slav nationalism gathers force in the
differences did not easily promote a sense of political unity. The Habsburg and Ottoman Empires.
only tie binding these diverse groups together was a common
allegiance to the emperor.

How did nationalism and the idea of the nation-state emerge?

2.1 The Aristocracy and the New Middle Class

India and the Contemporary World

Socially and politically, a landed aristocracy was the dominant class

on the continent. The members of this class were united by a
common way of life that cut across regional divisions. They owned
estates in the countryside and also town-houses. They spoke French
for purposes of diplomacy and in high society. Their families were
often connected by ties of marriage. This powerful aristocracy was,
however, numerically a small group. The majority of the population
was made up of the peasantry. To the west, the bulk of the land
was farmed by tenants and small owners, while in Eastern and
Central Europe the pattern of landholding was characterised by
vast estates which were cultivated by serfs.

In Western and parts of Central Europe the growth of industrial
production and trade meant the growth of towns and the emergence
of commercial classes whose existence was based on production
for the market. Industrialisation began in England in the second
half of the eighteenth century, but in France and parts of the German
states it occurred only during the nineteenth century. In its wake,
new social groups came into being: a working-class population, and
middle classes made up of industrialists, businessmen, professionals.
In Central and Eastern Europe these groups were smaller in number
till late nineteenth century. It was among the educated, liberal middle
classes that ideas of national unity following the abolition of
aristocratic privileges gained popularity.

2.2 What did Liberal Nationalism Stand for?

Ideas of national unity in early-nineteenth-century Europe were closely
allied to the ideology of liberalism. The term ‘liberalism’ derives
from the Latin root liber, meaning free. For the new middle classes
liberalism stood for freedom for the individual and equality of all
before the law. Politically, it emphasised the concept of government
by consent. Since the French Revolution, liberalism had stood for
the end of autocracy and clerical privileges, a constitution and
representative government through parliament. Nineteenth-century
liberals also stressed the inviolability of private property.

Yet, equality before the law did not necessarily stand for universal
New words
suffrage. You will recall that in revolutionary France, which marked
the first political experiment in liberal democracy, the right to vote Suffrage – The right to vote
and to get elected was granted exclusively to property-owning men.
Men without property and all women were excluded from political
rights. Only for a brief period under the Jacobins did all adult males
enjoy suffrage. However, the Napoleonic Code went back to limited
Nationalism in Europe
suffrage and reduced women to the status of a minor, subject to
the authority of fathers and husbands. Throughout the nineteenth
and early twentieth centuries women and non-propertied men
organised opposition movements demanding equal political rights.

In the economic sphere, liberalism stood for the freedom of markets

and the abolition of state-imposed restrictions on the movement
of goods and capital. During the nineteenth century this was a strong
demand of the emerging middle classes. Let us take the example of
the German-speaking regions in the first half of the nineteenth
century. Napoleon’s administrative measures had created out of

countless small principalities a confederation of 39 states. Each of Source B
these possessed its own currency, and weights and measures. A
Economists began to think in terms of the national
merchant travelling in 1833 from Hamburg to Nuremberg to sell economy. They talked of how the nation could
his goods would have had to pass through 11 customs barriers and develop and what economic measures could help
pay a customs duty of about 5 per cent at each one of them. Duties forge this nation together.

were often levied according to the weight or measurement of the Friedrich List, Professor of Economics at the
University of Tübingen in Germany, wrote in 1834:
goods. As each region had its own system of weights and measures,
‘The aim of the zollverein is to bind the Germans
this involved time-consuming calculation. The measure of cloth, economically into a nation. It will strengthen the
for example, was the elle which in each region stood for a different nation materially as much by protecting its
length. An elle of textile material bought in Frankfurt would get you interests externally as by stimulating its internal
productivity. It ought to awaken and raise
54.7 cm of cloth, in Mainz 55.1 cm, in Nuremberg 65.6 cm, in national sentiment through a fusion of individual
Freiburg 53.5 cm. and provincial interests. The German people have
realised that a free economic system is the only
Such conditions were viewed as obstacles to economic exchange means to engender national feeling.’
and growth by the new commercial classes, who argued for the
creation of a unified economic territory allowing the unhindered
movement of goods, people and capital. In 1834, a customs union
or zollverein was formed at the initiative of Prussia and joined by Discuss
most of the German states. The union abolished tariff barriers and
Describe the political ends that List hopes to
reduced the number of currencies from over thirty to two. The
achieve through economic measures.
creation of a network of railways further stimulated mobility,
harnessing economic interests to national unification. A wave of
economic nationalism strengthened the wider nationalist sentiments
growing at the time.

2.3 A New Conservatism after 1815 New words

Following the defeat of Napoleon in 1815, European governments Conservatism – A political philosophy that
were driven by a spirit of conservatism. Conservatives believed stressed the importance of tradition, established
that established, traditional institutions of state and society – like the institutions and customs, and preferred gradual
monarchy, the Church, social hierarchies, property and the family – development to quick change
India and the Contemporary World

should be preserved. Most conservatives, however, did not propose

a return to the society of pre-revolutionary days. Rather, they realised,
from the changes initiated by Napoleon, that modernisation could
in fact strengthen traditional institutions like the monarchy. It could
make state power more effective and strong. A modern army, an
efficient bureaucracy, a dynamic economy, the abolition of feudalism
and serfdom could strengthen the autocratic monarchies of Europe.

In 1815, representatives of the European powers – Britain, Russia,

Prussia and Austria – who had collectively defeated Napoleon, met
at Vienna to draw up a settlement for Europe. The Congress was
hosted by the Austrian Chancellor Duke Metternich. The delegates

drew up the Treaty of Vienna of 1815 with the object of undoing
most of the changes that had come about in Europe during the
Napoleonic wars. The Bourbon dynasty, which had been deposed
during the French Revolution, was restored to power, and France
lost the territories it had annexed under Napoleon. A series of states
were set up on the boundaries of France to prevent French expansion
in future. Thus the kingdom of the Netherlands, which included
Belgium, was set up in the north and Genoa was added to Piedmont
in the south. Prussia was given important new territories on its western
frontiers, while Austria was given control of northern Italy. But the Activity
German confederation of 39 states that had been set up by Napoleon
Plot on a map of Europe the changes drawn
was left untouched. In the east, Russia was given part of Poland
up by the Vienna Congress.
while Prussia was given a portion of Saxony. The main intention
was to restore the monarchies that had been overthrown by
Napoleon, and create a new conservative order in Europe.

Conservative regimes set up in 1815 were autocratic. They did not

tolerate criticism and dissent, and sought to curb activities that
questioned the legitimacy of autocratic governments. Most of them Discuss
imposed censorship laws to control what was said in newspapers,
What is the caricaturist trying to depict?
books, plays and songs and reflected the ideas of liberty and freedom

Nationalism in Europe

Fig. 6 — The Club of Thinkers, anonymous caricature dating to c. 1820.

The plaque on the left bears the inscription: ‘The most important question of today’s meeting: How
long will thinking be allowed to us?’
The board on the right lists the rules of the Club which include the following:
‘1. Silence is the first commandment of this learned society.
2. To avoid the eventuality whereby a member of this club may succumb to the temptation of
speech, muzzles will be distributed to members upon entering.’

associated with the French Revolution. The memory of the French
Revolution nonetheless continued to inspire liberals. One of the major
issues taken up by the liberal-nationalists, who criticised the new
conservative order, was freedom of the press.

2.4 The Revolutionaries

During the years following 1815, the fear of repression drove many
liberal-nationalists underground. Secret societies sprang up in many
European states to train revolutionaries and spread their ideas. To
be revolutionary at this time meant a commitment to oppose
monarchical forms that had been established after the Vienna
Congress, and to fight for liberty and freedom. Most of these
revolutionaries also saw the creation of nation-states as a necessary
part of this struggle for freedom.

One such individual was the Italian revolutionary Giuseppe Mazzini.

Born in Genoa in 1807, he became a member of the secret society
of the Carbonari. As a young man of 24, he was sent into exile in
1831 for attempting a revolution in Liguria. He subsequently founded
two more underground societies, first, Young Italy in Marseilles,
and then, Young Europe in Berne, whose members were like-minded
young men from Poland, France, Italy and the German states.
Mazzini believed that God had intended nations to be the natural
units of mankind. So Italy could not continue to be a patchwork of
small states and kingdoms. It had to be forged into a single unified
republic within a wider alliance of nations. This unification alone
could be the basis of Italian liberty. Following his model, secret
societies were set up in Germany, France, Switzerland and Poland.
Mazzini’s relentless opposition to monarchy and his vision of
Fig. 7 — Giuseppe Mazzini and the founding of
democratic republics frightened the conservatives. Metternich
India and the Contemporary World

Young Europe in Berne 1833.

described him as ‘the most dangerous enemy of our social order’. Print by Giacomo Mantegazza.

3 The Age of Revolutions: 1830-1848

As conservative regimes tried to consolidate their power, liberalism

and nationalism came to be increasingly associated with revolution
in many regions of Europe such as the Italian and German states,
the provinces of the Ottoman Empire, Ireland and Poland. These
revolutions were led by the liberal-nationalists belonging to the
educated middle-class elite, among whom were professors, school-
teachers, clerks and members of the commercial middle classes.

The first upheaval took place in France in July 1830. The Bourbon
kings who had been restored to power during the conservative
reaction after 1815, were now overthrown by liberal revolutionaries
who installed a constitutional monarchy with Louis Philippe at its
head. ‘When France sneezes,’ Metternich once remarked, ‘the rest of
Europe catches cold.’ The July Revolution sparked an uprising in
Brussels which led to Belgium breaking away from the United
Kingdom of the Netherlands.

An event that mobilised nationalist feelings among the educated elite

across Europe was the Greek war of independence. Greece had
been part of the Ottoman Empire since the fifteenth century. The
growth of revolutionary nationalism in Europe sparked off a struggle
for independence amongst the Greeks which began in 1821.
Nationalists in Greece got support from other Greeks living in exile
and also from many West Europeans who had sympathies for ancient
Greek culture. Poets and artists lauded Greece as the cradle of
European civilisation and mobilised public opinion to support its
struggle against a Muslim empire. The English poet Lord Byron
organised funds and later went to fight in the war, where he died of
fever in 1824. Finally, the Treaty of Constantinople of 1832
recognised Greece as an independent nation.
Nationalism in Europe

3.1 The Romantic Imagination and National Feeling

The development of nationalism did not come about only through
wars and territorial expansion. Culture played an important role in
creating the idea of the nation: art and poetry, stories and music
helped express and shape nationalist feelings.

Let us look at Romanticism, a cultural movement which sought to

develop a particular form of nationalist sentiment. Romantic artists
and poets generally criticised the glorification of reason and science

Fig. 8 — The Massacre at Chios, Eugene Delacroix, 1824.
The French painter Delacroix was one of the most important French Romantic
painters. This huge painting (4.19m x 3.54m) depicts an incident in which
20,000 Greeks were said to have been killed by Turks on the island of Chios. By
dramatising the incident, focusing on the suffering of women and children, and
India and the Contemporary World

using vivid colours, Delacroix sought to appeal to the emotions of the spectators,
and create sympathy for the Greeks.

and focused instead on emotions, intuition and mystical feelings.

Their effort was to create a sense of a shared collective heritage, a
common cultural past, as the basis of a nation.

Other Romantics such as the German philosopher Johann Gottfried

Herder (1744-1803) claimed that true German culture was to be
discovered among the common people – das volk. It was through
folk songs, folk poetry and folk dances that the true spirit of the
nation (volksgeist) was popularised. So collecting and recording these
forms of folk culture was essential to the project of nation-building.

The emphasis on vernacular language and the collection of local Box 1
folklore was not just to recover an ancient national spirit, but also to
carry the modern nationalist message to large audiences who were The Grimm Brothers: Folktales and
mostly illiterate. This was especially so in the case of Poland, which
Grimms’ Fairy Tales is a familiar name. The brothers
had been partitioned at the end of the eighteenth century by the Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm were born in the
Great Powers – Russia, Prussia and Austria. Even though Poland no German city of Hanau in 1785 and 1786
longer existed as an independent territory, national feelings were kept respectively. While both of them studied law,
they soon developed an interest in collecting old
alive through music and language. Karol Kurpinski, for example, folktales. They spent six years travelling from
celebrated the national struggle through his operas and music, turning village to village, talking to people and writing
folk dances like the polonaise and mazurka into nationalist symbols. down fairy tales, which were handed down
through the generations. These were popular
Language too played an important role in developing nationalist both among children and adults. In 1812, they
published their first collection of tales.
sentiments. After Russian occupation, the Polish language was forced Subsequently, both the brothers became active
out of schools and the Russian language was imposed everywhere. in liberal politics, especially the movement
In 1831, an armed rebellion against Russian rule took place which for freedom of the press. In the meantime they
also published a 33-volume dictionary of the
was ultimately crushed. Following this, many members of the clergy German language.
in Poland began to use language as a weapon of national resistance. The Grimm brothers also saw French domination
Polish was used for Church gatherings and all religious instruction. as a threat to German culture, and believed that
As a result, a large number of priests and bishops were put in jail or the folktales they had collected were expressions
of a pure and authentic German spirit. They
sent to Siberia by the Russian authorities as punishment for their considered their projects of collecting folktales
refusal to preach in Russian. The use of Polish came to be seen as a and developing the German language as part of
symbol of the struggle against Russian dominance. the wider effort to oppose French domination
and create a German national identity.

3.2 Hunger, Hardship and Popular Revolt

The 1830s were years of great economic hardship in Europe. The
first half of the nineteenth century saw an enormous increase in Discuss
population all over Europe. In most countries there were more Discuss the importance of language and
seekers of jobs than employment. Population from rural areas popular traditions in the creation of national
migrated to the cities to live in overcrowded slums. Small producers identity.
in towns were often faced with stiff competition from imports of
cheap machine-made goods from England, where industrialisation
Nationalism in Europe
was more advanced than on the continent. This was especially so in
textile production, which was carried out mainly in homes or small
workshops and was only partly mechanised. In those regions of
Europe where the aristocracy still enjoyed power, peasants struggled
under the burden of feudal dues and obligations. The rise of food
prices or a year of bad harvest led to widespread pauperism in
town and country.

The year 1848 was one such year. Food shortages and widespread
unemployment brought the population of Paris out on the roads.
Barricades were erected and Louis Philippe was forced to flee. A

Fig. 9 — Peasants’ uprising, 1848.

National Assembly proclaimed a Republic, granted suffrage to all

adult males above 21, and guaranteed the right to work. National
workshops to provide employment were set up.

Earlier, in 1845, weavers in Silesia had led a revolt against contractors

who supplied them raw material and gave them orders for finished
textiles but drastically reduced their payments. The journalist Wilhelm
Wolff described the events in a Silesian village as follows:

In these villages (with 18,000 inhabitants) cotton weaving is the

most widespread occupation … The misery of the workers is
extreme. The desperate need for jobs has been taken advantage
of by the contractors to reduce the prices of the goods they
order …
India and the Contemporary World

On 4 June at 2 p.m. a large crowd of weavers emerged from

their homes and marched in pairs up to the mansion of their
contractor demanding higher wages. They were treated with
scorn and threats alternately. Following this, a group of them Describe the cause of the Silesian weavers’
forced their way into the house, smashed its elegant window- uprising. Comment on the viewpoint of the

panes, furniture, porcelain … another group broke into the journalist.

storehouse and plundered it of supplies of cloth which they

tore to shreds … The contractor fled with his family to a Activity
neighbouring village which, however, refused to shelter such a
Imagine you are a weaver who saw the events
person. He returned 24 hours later having requisitioned the army.
as they unfolded. Write a report on what you saw.
In the exchange that followed, eleven weavers were shot.

3.3 1848: The Revolution of the Liberals
Parallel to the revolts of the poor, unemployed and starving peasants Source C
and workers in many European countries in the year 1848, a revolution
How were liberty and equality for women
led by the educated middle classes was under way. Events of February
to be defined?
1848 in France had brought about the abdication of the monarch
The liberal politician Carl Welcker, an elected
and a republic based on universal male suffrage had been proclaimed. member of the Frankfurt Parliament, expressed
In other parts of Europe where independent nation-states did not the following views:
yet exist – such as Germany, Italy, Poland, the Austro-Hungarian ‘Nature has created men and women to carry
out different functions … Man, the stronger, the
Empire – men and women of the liberal middle classes combined
bolder and freer of the two, has been designated
their demands for constitutionalism with national unification. They as protector of the family, its provider, meant for
took advantage of the growing popular unrest to push their public tasks in the domain of law, production,
defence. Woman, the weaker, dependent and
demands for the creation of a nation-state on parliamentary
timid, requires the protection of man. Her sphere
principles – a constitution, freedom of the press and freedom is the home, the care of the children, the
of association. nurturing of the family … Do we require any
further proof that given such differences, equality
In the German regions a large number of political associations whose between the sexes would only endanger
harmony and destroy the dignity of the family?’
members were middle-class professionals, businessmen and
Louise Otto-Peters (1819-95) was a political
prosperous artisans came together in the city of Frankfurt and decided
activist who founded a women’s journal and
to vote for an all-German National Assembly. On 18 May 1848, subsequently a feminist political association. The
831 elected representatives marched in a festive procession to take first issue of her newspaper (21 April 1849) carried
the following editorial:
their places in the Frankfurt parliament convened in the Church of
‘Let us ask how many men, possessed by
St Paul. They drafted a constitution for a German nation to be
thoughts of living and dying for the sake of Liberty,
headed by a monarchy subject to a parliament. When the deputies would be prepared to fight for the freedom of
offered the crown on these terms to Friedrich Wilhelm IV, King of the entire people, of all human beings? When
asked this question, they would all too easily
Prussia, he rejected it and joined other monarchs to oppose the
respond with a “Yes!”, though their untiring
elected assembly. While the opposition of the aristocracy and military efforts are intended for the benefit of only one
became stronger, the social basis of parliament eroded. The half of humanity – men. But Liberty is indivisible!
Free men therefore must not tolerate to be
parliament was dominated by the middle classes who resisted the
surrounded by the unfree …’
demands of workers and artisans and consequently lost their support. An anonymous reader of the same newspaper
In the end troops were called in and the assembly was forced sent the following letter to the editor on 25 June
to disband. 1850:
Nationalism in Europe
‘It is indeed ridiculous and unreasonable to deny
The issue of extending political rights to women was a controversial women political rights even though they enjoy
one within the liberal movement, in which large numbers of women the right to property which they make use
of. They perform functions and assume
had participated actively over the years. Women had formed their
responsibilities without however getting the
own political associations, founded newspapers and taken part in benefits that accrue to men for the same … Why
political meetings and demonstrations. Despite this they were denied this injustice? Is it not a disgrace that even the
stupidest cattle-herder possesses the right
to vote, simply because he is a man, whereas
New words highly talented women owning considerable
property are excluded from this right, even
Feminist – Awareness of women’s rights and interests based on though they contribute so much to the
the belief of the social, economic and political equality of the genders maintenance of the state?’
Fig. 10 — The Frankfurt parliament in the Church of St Paul.
Contemporary colour print. Notice the women in the upper left gallery.

suffrage rights during the election of the Assembly. When the

Frankfurt parliament convened in the Church of St Paul, women
were admitted only as observers to stand in the visitors’ gallery. Compare the positions on the question of
India and the Contemporary World

women’s rights voiced by the three writers cited

Though conservative forces were able to suppress liberal movements
above. What do they reveal about liberal
in 1848, they could not restore the old order. Monarchs were ideology?
beginning to realise that the cycles of revolution and repression could
only be ended by granting concessions to the liberal-nationalist
revolutionaries. Hence, in the years after 1848, the autocratic New words
monarchies of Central and Eastern Europe began to introduce the Ideology – System of ideas reflecting a
changes that had already taken place in Western Europe before 1815. particular social and political vision
Thus serfdom and bonded labour were abolished both in the
Habsburg dominions and in Russia. The Habsburg rulers granted
more autonomy to the Hungarians in 1867.

4 The Making of Germany and Italy

4.1 Germany – Can the Army be the Architect of a Nation?

After 1848, nationalism in Europe moved away from its association
with democracy and revolution. Nationalist sentiments were often
mobilised by conservatives for promoting state power and achieving
political domination over Europe.

This can be observed in the process by which Germany and Italy came
to be unified as nation-states. As you have seen, nationalist feelings were
widespread among middle-class Germans, who in 1848 tried to unite
the different regions of the German confederation into a nation-state
governed by an elected parliament. This liberal initiative to nation-building
was, however, repressed by the combined forces of the monarchy and
the military, supported by the large landowners (called Junkers) of Prussia.
From then on, Prussia took on the leadership of the movement for
national unification. Its chief minister, Otto von
Bismarck, was the architect of this process carried
out with the help of the Prussian army and
bureaucracy. Three wars over seven years – with
Austria, Denmark and France – ended in Prussian
victory and completed the process of unification.
In January 1871, the Prussian king, William I,
was proclaimed German Emperor in a ceremony
held at Versailles.

On the bitterly cold morning of 18 January 1871,

an assembly comprising the princes of the
German states, representatives of the army,
important Prussian ministers including the chief
minister Otto von Bismarck gathered in the
Nationalism in Europe
unheated Hall of Mirrors in the Palace of Versailles
to proclaim the new German Empire headed
by Kaiser William I of Prussia.

The nation-building process in Germany had

demonstrated the dominance of Prussian state
power. The new state placed a strong emphasis
Fig. 11 — The proclamation of the German empire in the Hall of
on modernising the currency, banking, legal Mirrors at Versailles, Anton von Werner. At the centre stands the
and judicial systems in Germany. Prussian Kaiser and the chief commander of the Prussian army, General von
Roon. Near them is Bismarck. This monumental work (2.7m x
measures and practices often became a model for 2.7m) was completed and presented by the artist to Bismarck on
the rest of Germany. the latter’s 70th birthday in 1885.





Prussia before 1866

BE AUSTRIAN Conquered by Prussia in Austro-Prussia
EM EMPIRE War, 1866
UR Austrian territories excluded from German
W Confederation 1867

Joined with Prussia to form German


Confederation, 1867

South German states joining with Prussia to
form German Empire, 1871
Won by Prussia in Franco-Prussia War, 1871

Fig. 12 — Unification of Germany (1866-71).

4.2 Italy Unified

Like Germany, Italy too had a long history of political fragmentation.
Italians were scattered over several dynastic states as well as the
multi-national Habsburg Empire. During the middle of the
nineteenth century, Italy was divided into seven states, of which
only one, Sardinia-Piedmont, was ruled by an Italian princely house.
The north was under Austrian Habsburgs, the centre was ruled by
the Pope and the southern regions were under the domination
of the Bourbon kings of Spain. Even the Italian language had
India and the Contemporary World

Fig. 13 — Caricature of Otto von Bismarck in

not acquired one common form and still had many regional and the German reichstag (parliament), from Figaro,
local variations. Vienna, 5 March 1870.

During the 1830s, Giuseppe Mazzini had sought to put together a

coherent programme for a unitary Italian Republic. He had also Activity
formed a secret society called Young Italy for the dissemination of Describe the caricature. How does it represent
his goals. The failure of revolutionary uprisings both in 1831 and the relationship between Bismarck and the
1848 meant that the mantle now fell on Sardinia-Piedmont under elected deputies of Parliament? What
its ruler King Victor Emmanuel II to unify the Italian states through interpretation of democratic processes is the

war. In the eyes of the ruling elites of this region, a unified artist trying to convey?

Italy offered them the possibility of economic development and

political dominance.

Chief Minister Cavour who led the movement to unify the regions
of Italy was neither a revolutionary nor a democrat. Like many Activity
other wealthy and educated members of the Italian elite, he spoke Look at Fig. 14(a). Do you think that the people
French much better than he did Italian. Through a tactful diplomatic living in any of these regions thought of
alliance with France engineered by Cavour, Sardinia-Piedmont themselves as Italians?
succeeded in defeating the Austrian forces in 1859. Apart from regular Examine Fig. 14(b). Which was the first region
troops, a large number of armed volunteers under the leadership of to become a part of unified Italy? Which was the
Giuseppe Garibaldi joined the fray. In 1860, they marched into South last region to join? In which year did the largest

Italy and the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies and succeeded in winning number of states join?

the support of the local peasants in order to drive out the Spanish
rulers. In 1861 Victor Emmanuel II was proclaimed king of united
Italy. However, much of the Italian population, among whom rates
of illiteracy were very high, remained blissfully unaware of liberal-
nationalist ideology. The peasant masses who had supported Garibaldi
in southern Italy had never heard of Italia, and believed that ‘La Talia’
was Victor Emmanuel’s wife!



SAVOY 1866

MONACO 1858-60


OF BOTH 1858

Nationalism in Europe


Fig. 14(b) — Italy after unification.

The map shows the year in which different
regions (seen in Fig 14(a) become part of a
Fig. 14(a) — Italian states before unification, 1858. unified Italy.

4.3 The Strange Case of Britain

The model of the nation or the nation-state, some scholars have
argued, is Great Britain. In Britain the formation of the nation-state

was not the result of a sudden upheaval or revolution. It was the Box 2
result of a long-drawn-out process. There was no British nation
prior to the eighteenth century. The primary identities of the people Giuseppe Garibaldi (1807-82) is perhaps the
most celebrated of Italian freedom fighters. He
who inhabited the British Isles were ethnic ones – such as English, came from a family engaged in coastal trade and
Welsh, Scot or Irish. All of these ethnic groups had their own cultural was a sailor in the merchant navy. In 1833 he
and political traditions. But as the English nation steadily grew in met Mazzini, joined the Young Italy movement
and participated in a republican uprising in
wealth, importance and power, it was able to extend its influence Piedmont in 1834. The uprising was suppressed
over the other nations of the islands. The English parliament, which and Garibaldi had to flee to South America, where
had seized power from the monarchy in 1688 at the end of a he lived in exile till 1848. In 1854, he supported
Victor Emmanuel II in his efforts to unify the
protracted conflict, was the instrument through which a nation-state, Italian states. In 1860, Garibaldi led the famous
with England at its centre, came to be forged. The Act of Union Expedition of the Thousand to South Italy. Fresh
(1707) between England and Scotland that resulted in the formation volunteers kept joining through the course of
the campaign, till their numbers grew to about
of the ‘United Kingdom of Great Britain’ meant, in effect, that 30,000. They were popularly known as Red
England was able to impose its influence on Scotland. The British Shirts.
parliament was henceforth dominated by its English members. The In 1867, Garibaldi led an army of volunteers to
growth of a British identity meant that Scotland’s distinctive culture Rome to fight the last obstacle to the unification
of Italy, the Papal States where a French garrison
and political institutions were systematically suppressed. The Catholic was stationed. The Red Shirts proved to be no
clans that inhabited the Scottish Highlands suffered terrible repression match for the combined French and Papal troops.
whenever they attempted to assert their independence. The Scottish It was only in 1870 when, during the war with
Prussia, France withdrew its troops from Rome
Highlanders were forbidden to speak their Gaelic language or that the Papal States were finally joined
wear their national dress, and large numbers were forcibly driven to Italy.
out of their homeland.

Ireland suffered a similar fate. It was a country deeply divided

between Catholics and Protestants. The English helped the Protestants
of Ireland to establish their dominance over a largely Catholic country.
Catholic revolts against British dominance were suppressed. After a
failed revolt led by Wolfe Tone and his United Irishmen (1798),
Ireland was forcibly incorporated into the United Kingdom in 1801.
A new ‘British nation’ was forged through the propagation of a
India and the Contemporary World

dominant English culture. The symbols of the new Britain – the

British flag (Union Jack), the national anthem (God Save Our Noble
King), the English language – were actively promoted and the older
nations survived only as subordinate partners in this union. Fig. 15 – Garibaldi helping King Victor
Emmanuel II of Sardinia-Piedmont to pull on the
boot named ‘Italy’. English caricature of 1859.
The artist has portrayed Garibaldi as holding on to the base of
New words
the boot, so that the King of Sardinia-Piedmont can enter it from
the top. Look at the map of Italy once more. What statement is Ethnic – Relates to a common racial, tribal, or
this caricature making? cultural origin or background that a community
identifies with or claims

5 Visualising the Nation

While it is easy enough to represent a ruler through a portrait or a

statue, how does one go about giving a face to a nation? Artists in
the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries found a way out by
personifying a nation. In other words they represented a country as
if it were a person. Nations were then portrayed as female figures.
The female form that was chosen to personify the nation did not
stand for any particular woman in real life; rather it sought to give
the abstract idea of the nation a concrete form. That is, the female
figure became an allegory of the nation.

You will recall that during the French Revolution artists used the
female allegory to portray ideas such as Liberty, Justice and the Fig. 16 — Postage stamps of 1850 with the
figure of Marianne representing the Republic of
Republic. These ideals were represented through specific objects or France.
symbols. As you would remember, the attributes of Liberty are the
red cap, or the broken chain, while Justice is generally a blindfolded
woman carrying a pair of weighing scales.

Similar female allegories were invented by artists in the nineteenth

century to represent the nation. In France she was christened
Marianne, a popular Christian name, which underlined the idea of a
people’s nation. Her characteristics were drawn from those of Liberty
and the Republic – the red cap, the tricolour, the cockade. Statues
of Marianne were erected in public squares to remind the public of
the national symbol of unity and to persuade them to identify with
it. Marianne images were marked on coins and stamps.

Similarly, Germania became the allegory of the German nation. In

visual representations, Germania wears a crown of oak leaves, as
the German oak stands for heroism.

Nationalism in Europe
New words

Allegory – When an abstract idea (for instance, greed, envy,

freedom, liberty) is expressed through a person or a thing. An
allegorical story has two meanings, one literal and one symbolic

Fig. 17 — Germania, Philip Veit, 1848.

The artist prepared this painting of Germania on a
cotton banner, as it was meant to hang from the
ceiling of the Church of St Paul where the Frankfurt
parliament was convened in March 1848.

Box 3

Meanings of the symbols

Attribute Significance
Broken chains Being freed
Breastplate with eagle Symbol of the German empire – strength
Crown of oak leaves Heroism
Sword Readiness to fight
Olive branch around the sword Willingness to make peace
Black, red and gold tricolour Flag of the liberal-nationalists in 1848, banned by the Dukes of the
German states
Rays of the rising sun Beginning of a new era

With the help of the chart in Box 3, identify the attributes of Veit’s
Germania and interpret the symbolic meaning of the painting.
In an earlier allegorical rendering of 1836, Veit had portrayed the
Kaiser’s crown at the place where he has now located the
broken chain. Explain the significance of this change.
India and the Contemporary World

Fig. 18 — The fallen Germania, Julius Hübner, 1850.

Describe what you see in Fig. 17. What historical events could Hübner be
referring to in this allegorical vision of the nation?

Fig. 19 — Germania guarding the Rhine.
In 1860, the artist Lorenz Clasen was commissioned to paint this image. The inscription
on Germania’s sword reads: ‘The German sword protects the German Rhine.’

Activity Nationalism in Europe

Look once more at Fig. 10. Imagine you were a citizen of Frankfurt in March 1848 and were present during the
proceedings of the parliament. How would you (a) as a man seated in the hall of deputies, and (b) as a woman
observing from the galleries, relate to the banner of Germania hanging from the ceiling?

6 Nationalism and Imperialism

By the last quarter of the nineteenth century nationalism no longer

retained its idealistic liberal-democratic sentiment of the first half
of the century, but became a narrow creed with limited ends. During
this period nationalist groups became increasingly intolerant of each
other and ever ready to go to war. The major European powers, in
turn, manipulated the nationalist aspirations of the subject peoples
in Europe to further their own imperialist aims.

The most serious source of nationalist tension in Europe after 1871

was the area called the Balkans. The Balkans was a region of
geographical and ethnic variation comprising modern-day Romania,
Bulgaria, Albania, Greece, Macedonia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina,
Slovenia, Serbia and Montenegro whose inhabitants were broadly
known as the Slavs. A large part of the Balkans was under the control
of the Ottoman Empire. The spread of the ideas of romantic
nationalism in the Balkans together with the disintegration of the
Ottoman Empire made this region very explosive. All through the
nineteenth century the Ottoman Empire had sought to strengthen
itself through modernisation and internal reforms but with very
little success. One by one, its European subject nationalities broke
away from its control and declared independence. The Balkan
peoples based their claims for independence or political rights on
nationality and used history to prove that they had once been
independent but had subsequently been subjugated by foreign
powers. Hence the rebellious nationalities in the Balkans thought of
their struggles as attempts to win back their long-lost independence.

As the different Slavic nationalities struggled to define their identity

India and the Contemporary World

and independence, the Balkan area became an area of intense conflict.

The Balkan states were fiercely jealous of each other and each hoped
to gain more territory at the expense of the others. Matters were
further complicated because the Balkans also became the scene of
big power rivalry. During this period, there was intense rivalry among
the European powers over trade and colonies as well as naval and
military might. These rivalries were very evident in the way the Balkan
problem unfolded. Each power – Russia, Germany, England,
Austro-Hungary – was keen on countering the hold of other powers
over the Balkans, and extending its own control over the area. This
led to a series of wars in the region and finally the First World War.

Fig. 20 — A map celebrating the British Empire.
At the top, angels are shown carrying the banner of freedom. In the foreground, Britannia — the
symbol of the British nation — is triumphantly sitting over the globe. The colonies are represented
through images of tigers, elephants, forests and primitive people. The domination of the world is
shown as the basis of Britain’s national pride.

Nationalism, aligned with imperialism, led Europe to disaster in 1914.

But meanwhile, many countries in the world which had been
colonised by the European powers in the nineteenth century began Nationalism in Europe
to oppose imperial domination. The anti-imperial movements that
developed everywhere were nationalist, in the sense that they all
struggled to form independent nation-states, and were inspired by
a sense of collective national unity, forged in confrontation with
imperialism. European ideas of nationalism were nowhere
replicated, for people everywhere developed their own specific variety
of nationalism. But the idea that societies should be organised into
‘nation-states’ came to be accepted as natural and universal.

Write in brief

1. Write a note on:

a) Guiseppe Mazzini
b) Count Camillo de Cavour
c) The Greek war of independence

Write in brief
d) Frankfurt parliament
e) The role of women in nationalist struggles
2. What steps did the French revolutionaries take to create a sense of collective
identity among the French people?
3. Who were Marianne and Germania? What was the importance of the way in
which they were portrayed?
4. Briefly trace the process of German unification.
5. What changes did Napoleon introduce to make the administrative system more
efficient in the territories ruled by him?


1. Explain what is meant by the 1848 revolution of the liberals. What were the political, social
and economic ideas supported by the liberals?
2. Choose three examples to show the contribution of culture to the growth of nationalism
in Europe.
3. Through a focus on any two countries, explain how nations developed over the nineteenth
India and the Contemporary World

4. How was the history of nationalism in Britain unlike the rest of Europe?
5. Why did nationalist tensions emerge in the Balkans?

Find out more about nationalist symbols in countries outside Europe. For one or two countries,
collect examples of pictures, posters or music that are symbols of nationalism. How are these
different from European examples?


An economy is best understood when we of agriculture and growing importance of

study its components or sectors. Sectoral industry and services should be related
classification can be done on the basis of to the experience of the children by taking
several criteria. In this chapter, three more examples that they may observe in
types of classifications are discussed: their day-to-day life. Information derived
primary/secondary/tertiary; organised/ from the media could be used for this
unorganised; and public/private. You can purpose. You may encourage the students
create a discussion about these types by to bring important cuttings and stories
taking examples familiar to the students from newspapers, which could be
and relate them to their daily life. It is prominently displayed in storyboards, and
important to emphasise the changing encourage the class to discuss these
roles of sectors. This can be highlighted issues. While discussing the unorganised
further by drawing attention of the sector, the key issue of protecting the
students to the rapid growth of service workers engaged in the sector should be
sector. While elaborating the ideas highlighted. You may also encourage the
provided in the chapter, the students may students to visit persons and enterprises
need to be familiarised with a few in the unorganised sector and get a first
fundamental concepts such as Gross hand experience from real life situation.
Domestic Product, Employment etc. Since
the students may find this difficult to Sources for Information
understand, it is necessary to explain to
The GDP data used in this chapter
them through examples. Several activities
pertaining to Gross Domestic Product at
and exercises are suggested in the chapter
to help the students understand how a Factor Cost by Industry of Origin at
person’s activity could be placed — 2004-05 prices is taken from Economic
whether in the primary, secondary or Survey 2011. It is a valuable source of GDP
tertiary, organised or unorganised, and and other information relating to the Indian
public or private sector. You may economy. For evaluation purposes,
encourage the students to talk to various particularly to develop the analytical ability
working people around them (such as of learners, teachers can refer to Economic
shop owners, casual workers, vegetable Survey to get data for different years.
vendors, workshop mechanics, domestic The employment figures are based on
workers etc.) to know more about how they data taken from the five-yearly surveys
live and work. Based on such information, on employment and unemployment
the students can be encouraged to develop conducted by the National Sample Survey
their own classification of economic Organisation (NSSO). NSSO is an
activities. organisation under the Ministry of
Another important issue to be Statistics, Planning and Programme
highlighted is about the problems caused Implementation, Government of India.
by the changes in the roles of sectors. The website you can log onto is:
The chapter has taken the example of http:/ Employment data is also
unemployment and what the government available from other sources such as
can do to solve it. The declining importance Census of India.






Let us look at these pictures. You will find that people are
engaged in various economic activities. Some of these are
activities producing goods. Some others are producing
services. These activities are happening around us every
minute even as we speak. How do we understand these
activities? One way of doing this is to group them (classify
them) using some important criterion. These groups are also
called sectors.

at different spin yarn and weave cloth. Using
We begin by looking sugarcane as a raw material, we make
kind of economic activ sugar or gur. We convert earth into
bricks and use bricks to make houses
There are many activities that are and buildings. Since this sector
undertaken by directly using gradually became associated with the
natural resources. Take, for different kinds of industries that came
Primary example, the cultivation of cotton. It
(Agriculture) up, it is also called as industrial sector.
takes place within a crop season. For
Sector the growth of the cotton plant, we After primary and secondary, there
depend mainly, but not entirely, is a third category of activities that falls
on natural factors like rainfall, under tertiary sector and is different
sunshine and climate. The product from the above two. These are
of this activity, cotton, is a natural activities that help in the development
product. Similarly, in the case of an of the primary and secondary sectors.
activity like dairy, we are dependent These activities, by themselves, do not
on the biological process of produce a good but they are an aid
the animals and availability or a support for the production
(Service) of fodder etc. The product process. For example, goods that are
Sector here, milk, also is a natural produced in the primary or secondary
product. Similarly, minerals sector would need to be transported
and ores are also natural by trucks or trains and then sold in
products. When we produce wholesale and retail shops. At times,
a good by exploiting natural it may be necessary to store these in
produces resources, it is an activity of godowns. We also may need to talk to
natural others over telephone or send letters
the primary sector. Why
goods (communication) or borrow money
primary? This is because it
forms the base for all from banks (banking) to help
other products that we production and trade. Transport,
subsequently make. Since storage, communication, banking,
most of the natural trade are some examples of tertiary
helps to develop products we get are from activities. Since these activities
Secondary other sectors generate services rather than goods,
agriculture, dairy, fishing,
(Industrial) the tertiary sector is also called the
Sector forestry, this sector is also
called agriculture and related service sector.
sector. Service sector also includes some
The secondary sector covers essential services that may not directly
activities in which natural products help in the production of goods. For
are changed into other forms through example, we require teachers, doctors,
ways of manufacturing that we and those who provide personal
associate with industrial activity. It is services such as washermen, barbers,
the next step after primary. The cobblers, lawyers, and people to do
product is not produced by nature administrative and accounting works.
but has to be made and therefore In recent times, certain new services
some process of manufacturing is based on information technology such
produces essential. This could be in a factory, a as internet cafe, ATM booths, call
manufactured centres, software companies etc have
goods workshop or at home. For example,
using cotton fibre from the plant, we become important.


ferent categories,
iti es , th ou gh , ar e grouped into three dif
Economic activ e examples.
ghly interd ep en de nt. Let us look at som
are hi


Imagine what would happen if farmers This is an example of the secondary or
refuse to sell sugarcane to a particular industrial sector being dependent on
sugar mill. The mill will have to shut the primary.
Imagine what would happen to cotton
cultivation if companies decide not to
buy from the Indian market and import
all cotton they need from other
countries. Indian cotton cultivation will
become less profitable and the farmers
may even go bankrupt, if they cannot
quickly switch to other crops. Cotton
prices will fall.
Farmers buy many goods such as
tractors, pumpsets, electricity ,
pesticides and fertilisers. Imagine what
would happen if the price of fertilisers
or pumpsets go up. Cost of cultivation
of the farmers will rise and their profits
will be reduced.
People working in industrial and service
sector need food. Imagine what would
happen if there is a strike by
transporters and lorries refuse to take
vegetables, milk, etc. from rural areas.
Food will become scarce in urban areas
whereas farmers will be unable to sell
their products.


1. Complete the above table to show how sectors are dependent on each other.
2. Explain the difference between primary, secondary and tertiary sectors using
examples other than those mentioned in the text.
3. Classify the following list of occupations under primary, secondary and tertiary sectors:
• Tailor • Workers in match factory
• Basket weaver • Money lender
• Flower cultivator • Gardener
• Milk vendor • Potter
• Fishermen • Bee-keeper
• Priest • Astronaut
• Courier • Call centre employee
4. Students in a school are often classified into primary and secondary or junior and
senior. What is the criterion that is used? Do you think this is a useful classification?


The various production activities in the primary, secondary
and tertiary sectors produce a very large number of goods
and services. Also, the three sectors have a large number of
people working in them to produce these goods and services.
The next step, therefore, is to see how much goods and services
are produced and how many people work in each sector. In
an economy there could be one or more sectors which are
dominant in terms of total production and employment, while
other sectors are relatively small in size.

How do we count the various goods and

services and know the total production in
each sector?
With so many thousands of goods and services produced,
you might think this is an impossible task! Not only would
the task be enormous, you might also wonder how we can
add up cars and computers and nails and furniture. It won’t
make sense!!!
You are right in thinking so. To get around this problem,
economists suggest that the values of goods and services
should be used rather than adding up the actual numbers.
For example, if 10,000 kgs of wheat is sold at Rs 8 per kg,
the value of wheat will be Rs 80,000. The value of 5000
coconuts at Rs 10 per coconut will be Rs 50,000. Similarly,
the value of goods and services in the three sectors are
calculated, and then added up.
Remember, there is one precaution one has to take. Not
every good (or service) that is produced and sold needs to be
counted. It makes sense only to include the final goods and
services. Take, for instance, a farmer who sells wheat to a
flour mill for Rs 8 per kg. The mill grinds the wheat and sells
the flour to a biscuit company for Rs 10 per kg. The biscuit
company uses the flour and things such as sugar and oil to
make four packets of biscuits. It sells biscuits in the market
to the consumers for Rs 60 (Rs 15 per packet). Biscuits are
the final goods, i.e., goods that reach the consumers.
Why are only ‘final goods and services’ counted? In
contrast to final goods, goods such as wheat and the wheat
flour in this example are intermediate goods. Intermediate
goods are used up in producing final goods and services.
The value of final goods already includes the value of all
...BUT I SHOULD BE PAID THE the intermediate goods that are used in making the final
FULL VALUE OF THE WHEAT good. Hence, the value of Rs 60 for the biscuits (final good)
already includes the value of flour (Rs 10). Similarly, the


value of all other intermediate goods administrators, army etc. However, at
would have been included. To count this stage, most of the goods produced
the value of the flour and wheat were natural products from the
separately is therefore not correct primary sector and most people were
because then we would be counting also employed in this sector.
the value of the same things a number
Over a long time (more than
of times. First as wheat, then as flour
hundred years), and especially
and finally as biscuits.
because new methods of
The value of final goods and manufacturing were introduced,
services produced in each sector factories came up and started
during a particular year provides expanding. Those people who had
the total production of the sector earlier worked on farms now began
for that year. And the sum of to work in factories in large numbers.
production in the three sectors gives People began to use many more
what is called the Gross Domestic goods that were produced in factories
Product (GDP) of a country. It is the at cheap rates. Secondary sector
value of all final goods and services gradually became the most important
produced within a country during a in total production and employment.
particular year. GDP shows how big Hence, over time, a shift had taken
the economy is. place. This means that the importance
of the sectors had changed.
In India, the mammoth task of
measuring GDP is undertaken by a In the past 100 years, there has
central government ministry. This been a further shift from secondary to
Ministry, with the help of various tertiary sector in developed countries.
government departments of all the The service sector has become the most
Indian states and union territories, important in terms of total production.
collects information relating to total Most of the working people are also
volume of goods and services and their employed in the service sector. This is
prices and then estimates the GDP. the general pattern observed in
developed countries.
Historical Change in Sectors
What is the total production and
Generally, it has been noted from the
employment in the three sectors in
histories of many, now developed,
India? Over the years have there been
countries that at initial stages of
changes similar to the pattern
development, primary sector was the
observed for the developed countries?
most important sector of economic
We shall see in the next section.
As the methods of farming LET’S WORK THESE OUT
changed and agriculture sector began
1. What does the history of developed countries indicate
to prosper, it produced much more about the shifts that have taken place between sectors?
food than before. Many people could
now take up other activities. There 2. Correct and arrange the important aspects for calculating
GDP from this Jumble.
were increasing number of craft-
persons and traders. Buying and To count goods and services we add the numbers that
are produced. We count all those that were produced in
selling activities increased many times.
the last five years. Since we shouldn’t leave out anything
Besides, there were also transporters, we add up all these goods and services.


Graph 1 shows the
production of goods Graph 1 : GDP by Primary, Secondary and
and services in the Tertiary Sectors
three sectors. This
is shown for two
years, 1970-71 and
2010-11. You can
see how the total
production has
grown over the forty


Answer the following questions by
looking at the graph:
1. Which was the largest producing
sector in 1970-71?
2. Which is the largest producing
sector in 2010-11?
3 . Can you say which sector has
grown the most over forty years?
4. What was the GDP of India in 2011?

Why is the tertiary sector becoming

so important in India? There could be
rison between
What does the compa several reasons.
1 show?
1970-71 and 2010-1
n we draw
What conclusions ca First, in any country several
from the comparison services such as hospitals,
Let’s find ou t. educational institutions, post and
telegraph services, police stations,
courts, village administrative offices,
Rising Importance of the municipal corporations, defence,
Tertiary Sector in Production transport, banks, insurance
companies, etc. are required. These
Over the forty years between 1970-71
can be considered as basic services.
and 2010-11, while production in all
In a developing country the
the three sectors has increased, it has
government has to take responsibility
increased the most in the tertiary sector.
for the provision of these services.
As a result, in the year 2010-11, the
tertiary sector has emerged as the Second, the development of
largest producing sector in India agriculture and industry leads to the
replacing the primary sector. development of services such as

transport, trade, storage and the like,
as we have already seen. Greater the Graph 2 : Share of Sectors in GDP (%)
development of the primary and
secondary sectors, more would be the
demand for such services.
Third, as income levels rise, certain
sections of people start demanding
many more services like eating out,
tourism, shopping, private hospitals,
private schools, professional training
etc. You can see this change quite
sharply in cities, especially in big cities.
Fourth, over the past decade or so,
certain new services such as
those based on information and
communication technology have A remarkable fact about India is
become important and essential. The that while there has been a change
production of these services has been in the share of the three sectors in
rising rapidly. In Chapter 4, we shall GDP, a similar shift has not taken
see examples of these new services place in employment. Graph 3
and the reasons for their expansion. shows the share of employment in
However, you must remember that the three sectors in 1970-71 and
not all of the service sector is growing 2009-10. T h e p r i m a r y s e c t o r
equally well. Service sector in India continues to be the largest
employs many different kinds of employer even now.
people. At one end there are a limited
number of services that employ highly
Graph 3 : Share of Sectors in Employment (%)
skilled and educated workers. At the
other end, there are a very large
number of workers engaged in
services such as small shopkeepers,
repair persons, transport persons,
etc. These people barely manage to
earn a living and yet they perform
these services because no alternative
opportunities for work are available
to them. Hence, only a part of this
sector is growing in importance. You
shall read more about this in the next

Where are most of the people

employed? Why didn’t a similar shift out of
Graph 2 presents percentage share of primary sector happen in case of
the three sectors in GDP. Now you can employment? It is because not
directly see the changing importance enough jobs were created in the
of the sectors over the forty years. secondary and tertiary sectors. Even

though industrial output or the underemployment is hidden in
production of goods went up by contrast to someone who does not
more than nine times during the have a job and is clearly visible as
period, employment in the industry unemployed. Hence, it is also
went up by around three times. The called disguised unemployment.
same applies to tertiary sector as
well. While production in the service Now, supposing a landlord,
sector rose by more than 14 times, Sukhram, comes and hires one or
employment in the service sector two members of the family to work
rose around five times. on his land. Laxmi’s family is now
able to earn some extra income
As a result, more than half of the through wages. Since you do not
workers in the country are working need five people to look after that
in the primary sector, mainly in small plot, two people moving out
agriculture, producing only a does not affect production on their
quarter of the GDP. In contrast to farm. In the above example, two
this, the secondary and tertiary people may move to work in a
sectors produce three-fourth of the factory. Once again the earnings of
produce whereas they employ less the family would increase and they
than half the people. Does this mean
would also continue to produce as
that the workers in agriculture are
much from their land.
not producing as much as they
could? There are lakhs of farmers like
Laxmi in India. This means that even
What it means is that there are
if we remove a lot of people from
more people in agriculture than is
agricultural sector and provide them
necessary. So, even if you move a few
with proper work elsewhere,
people out, production will not be
agricultural production will not
affected. In other words, workers in
agricultural sector ar e under - suffer. The incomes of the people who
employed. take up other work would increase
the total family income.
For instance, take the case of a
small farmer, Laxmi , owning about This underemployment can also
two hectares of unirrigated land happen in other sectors. For
dependent only on rain and example there are thousands of
growing crops like jowar and arhar. casual workers in the service
All five members of her family work sector in urban areas who search
in the plot throughout the year. for daily employment. They are
Why? They have nowhere else to go employed as painters, plumbers,
for work. You will see that everyone repair persons and others doing
is working, none remains idle, but odd jobs. Many of them don’t find
in actual fact their labour effort work everyday. Similarly, we see
gets divided. Each one is doing other people of the service sector
some work but no one is fully on the street pushing a cart or
employed. This is the situation of selling something where they may
underemployment, where people spend the whole day but earn
are apparently working but all very little. They are doing this
of them are made to work less work because they do not have
than their potential. This kind of better opportunities.


1. Complete the table using the data given in Graphs 2 and 3 and answer the question
that follows.


1970-71 2010-11

Share in GDP

Share in employment

What are the changes that you observe in the primary sector over a span of forty
2. Choose the correct answer:
Underemployment occurs when people
(i) do not want to work
(ii) are working in a lazy manner
(iii) are working less than what they are capable of doing
(iv) are not paid for their work
3. Compare and contrast the changes in India with the pattern that was observed for
developed countries. What kind of changes between sectors were desired but did
not happen in India?
4. Why should we be worried about underemployment?

How to Create More

From the above discussion, we can see
that there continues to be considerable
underemployment in agriculture.
There are also people who are not
employed at all. In what ways can one
increase employment for people? Let
us look at some of them.
Take the case of Laxmi with her
two-hectare plot of un-irrigated land.
The government can spend some
money or banks can provide a loan,
to construct a well for her family to
irrigate the land. Laxmi will then be
able to irrigate her land and take a
second crop, wheat, during the rabi
season. Let us suppose that one
hectare of wheat can provide
employment to two people for 50 days
(including sowing, watering, fertiliser


application and harvesting). So, two rate of interest. If the local bank gives
more members of the family can be her credit at a reasonable rate of
employed in her own field. Now interest, she will be able to buy all these
suppose a new dam is constructed in time and cultivate her land. This
and canals are dug to irrigate many means that along with water, we also
such farms. This could lead to a lot of need to provide cheap agricultural
employment generation within the credit to the farmers for farming to
agricultural sector itself reducing the improve. We will look at some of these
problem of underemployment. needs in Chapter 3, Money and Credit.
Now, suppose Laxmi and other Another way by which we can
farmers produce much more than tackle this problem is to identify,
before. They would also need to sell some promote and locate industries and
of this. For this they may be required to services in semi-rural areas where a
transport their products to a nearby large number of people may be
town. If the government invests some employed. For instance, suppose
money in transportation and storage of many farmers decide to grow arhar
crops, or makes better rural roads so and chickpea (pulse crops). Setting
that mini-trucks reach everywhere up a dal mill to procure and process
several farmers like Laxmi, who now these and sell in the cities is one such
have access to water, can continue to example. Opening a cold storage could
grow and sell these crops. This activity give an opportunity for farmers to
can provide productive employment to store their products like potatoes and
not just farmers but also others such as onions and sell them when the price
those in services like transport or trade. is good. In villages near forest areas,
we can start honey collection centres
Laxmi’s need is not confined to
where farmers can come and sell wild
water alone. To cultivate the land, she
honey. It is also possible to set up
also needs seeds, fertilisers,
industries that process vegetables and
agricultural equipments and
agricultural produce like potato,
pumpsets to draw water. Being a poor
sweet potato, rice, wheat, tomato,
farmer, she cannot afford many of
fruits, which can be sold in outside
these. So she will have to borrow money
Gur Making in markets. This will provide
Haryana from moneylenders and pay a high
employment in industries located in
semi-rural areas and not necessarily
in large urban centres.

What groups of peop

le do
you think are unemplo
or underemployed in
ar ea ? Ca n yo u th
in k of
some measures that
be taken up for them

Do you know that in India 46.9 per

cent of the population belongs to the
age group 5-29 years? Out of this,
only about 52 per cent are attending
educational institutions. The rest are
not— they may be at home or many
of them may be working as child

labourers. If these children are to
attend schools, we will require more
buildings, more teachers and other
staff. A study conducted by the
Planning Commission estimates that
nearly 20 lakh jobs can be created in
the education sector alone. Similarly,
if we are to improve the health
situation, we need many more doctors,
nurses, health workers etc. to work
in rural areas. These are some ways
by which jobs would be created and
we would also be able to address the
important aspects of development
talked about in Chapter 1.
Every state or region has potential
for increasing the income and
employment for people in that area.
It could be tourism, or regional craft
industry, or new services like IT. Some
of these would require proper districts. The remaining districts in
planning and support from the rural areas were brought under the
government. For example, the same act with effect from 1 April, 2008. It is
study by the Planning Commission called National Rural Employment
says that if tourism as a sector is
Guarantee Act 2005 (NREGA 2005).
improved, every year we can give
Under NREGA 2005, all those who
additional employment to more than
35 lakh people. are able to, and are in need of, work
are guaranteed 100 days of
We must realise that some of the employment in a year by the
suggestions discussed above would government. If the government fails in
take a long time to implement. For
its duty to provide employment, it will
the short-term, we need some quick
give unemployment allowances to the
measures. Recognising this, the
central government in India made a people. The types of work that would
law implementing the Right to Work in future help to increase the
in 200 districts of India and then production from land will be given
extended to an additional 130 preference under the Act.


1. Why do you think NREGA 2005 is referred to as ‘ Right to work’ ?
2. Imagine that you are the village head. In that capacity suggest some activities that
you think should be taken up under this Act that would also increase the income of
people? Discuss.
3. How would income and employment increase if farmers were provided with irrigation
and marketing facilities?
4. In what ways can employment be increased in urban areas?


Let us examine another way of classifying activities in the economy. This looks
at the way people are employed. What are their conditions of work? Are there
any rules and regulations that are followed as regards their employment?

Ka n ta
nds her office from
Kanta works in an office. She atte
s her salary regularly
9.30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. She get
ition to the salary,
at the end of every month. In add
as per the rules laid
she also gets provident fund
also gets medical and
down by the government. She
s not go to office on
other allowances. Kanta doe
y. When she joined
Sundays. This is a paid holida
tment letter stating
work, she was given an appoin
all the terms and conditions of
Kamal is Kanta’s neighbour.
He is a
da ily wa ge lab our er in a
nea rby
grocery shop. He goes to the
shop at
7:30 in the morning and works
till 8:00
p.m. in the evening. He gets
no other
allowances apart from his wa
ges. He
is not paid for the days he
does not
work. He has therefore no leave
or paid
holidays. Nor was he given any
let ter say ing tha t he ha
s bee n
employed in the shop. He can be
to leave anytime by his emplo
differences in
Do you see the
s of w or k
th e co n d it io n organised because it has some formal
and Kamal?
between Kanta processes and procedures. Some of
these people may not be employed by
Kanta works in the organised anyone but may work on their own
sector. Organised sector covers those
but they too have to register
enterprises or places of work where
themselves with the government and
the terms of employment are regular
follow the rules and regulations.
and therefore, people have assured
work. They are registered by the Workers in the organised sector
government and have to follow its enjoy security of employment. They
rules and regulations which are are expected to work only a fixed
given in various laws such as the number of hours. If they work more,
Factories Act, Minimum Wages Act, they have to be paid overtime by the
Payment of Gratuity Act, Shops and employer. They also get several other
Establishments Act etc. It is called benefits from the employers. What are

these benefits? They get paid leave, low-paid and often not regular. There
payment during holidays, provident is no provision for overtime, paid
fund, gratuity etc. They are supposed leave, holidays, leave due to sickness
to get medical benefits and, under the etc. Employment is not secure. People
laws, the factory manager has to can be asked to leave without any
ensure facilities like drinking water reason. When there is less work, such
and a safe working environment. as during some seasons, some people
When they retire, these workers get may be asked to leave. A lot also
pensions as well. depends on the whims of the
In contrast, Kamal works in the employer. This sector includes a large
unorganised sector. The unorganised number of people who are employed
sector is characterised by small and on their own doing small jobs such
scattered units which are largely as selling on the street or doing repair
outside the control of the government. work. Similarly, farmers work on their
There are rules and regulations but own and hire labourers as and when
these are not followed. Jobs here are they require.


1. Look at the following examples. Which of these are unorganised sector activities?
(i) A teacher taking classes in a school
(ii) A headload worker carrying a bag of cement on his back in a market
(iii) A farmer irrigating her field
(iv) A doctor in a hospital treating a patient
(v) A daily wage labourer working under a contractor
(vi) A factory worker going to work in a big factory
(vii) A handloom weaver working in her house
2. Talk to someone who has a regular job in the organised sector and another who works in the unorganised
sector. Compare and contrast their working conditions in all aspects.
3. How would you distinguish between organised and unorganised sectors? Explain in your own words.
4. The table below shows the estimated number of workers in India in the organised and unorganised
sectors. Read the table carefully. Fill in the missing data and answer the questions that follow.


Sector Organised Unorganised Total
Primary 2 242
Secondary 9 54 63
Tertiary 17 76 93
Total 28
Total in Percentage 100%

· What is the percentage of people in the unorganised sector in agriculture?

· Do you agree that agriculture is an unorganised sector activity? Why?
· If we look at the country as a whole, we find that ———% of the workers in India are in the
unorganised sector. Organised sector employment is available to only about ———% of the
workers in India.


How to Protect Workers in Who are these vulnerable people
the Unorganised Sector? who need protection? In the rural
areas, the unorganised sector mostly
The organised sector offers jobs that
comprises of landless agricultural
are the most sought-after. But the
labourers, small and marginal
employment opportunities in the
farmers, sharecroppers and artisans
organised sector have been expanding
(such as weavers, blacksmiths,
very slowly. It is also common to find
carpenters and goldsmiths). Nearly
many organised sector enterprises in
80 per cent of rural households in
the unorganised sector. They adopt
India are in small and marginal
such strategies to evade taxes and
farmer category. These farmers need
refuse to follow laws that protect
to be supported through adequate
labourers. As a result, a large number
facility for timely delivery of seeds,
of workers are forced to enter the
agricultural inputs, credit, storage
unorganised sector jobs, which pay a
facilities and marketing outlets.
very low salary. They are often
exploited and not paid a fair wage. In the urban areas, unorganised
Their earnings are low and not sector comprises mainly of workers in
regular. These jobs are not secure and small-scale industry, casual workers
have no other benefits. in construction, trade and transport
etc., and those who work as street
Since the 1990s, it is also common
vendors, head load workers, garment
to see a large number of workers
makers, rag pickers etc. Small-scale
losing their jobs in the organised
industry also needs government’s
sector. These workers are forced to
support for procuring raw material
take up jobs in the unorganised
and marketing of output. The casual
sector with low earnings. Hence,
workers in both rural and urban
besides the need for more work, there
areas need to be protected.
is also a need for protection and
support of the workers in the We also find that majority of
unorganised sector. workers from scheduled castes, tribes
and backward communities
find themselves in the
unorganised sector. Besides
getting the irregular and low
paid work, these workers also
face social discrimination.
Protection and support to
the unorganised sector
workers is thus necessary
for both economic and
social development.

When factories close down, many

once regular workers are found
selling goods or pushing a cart or
doing some other odd job


With so many activities taking place around us, one needs to use the
process of classification to think in a useful manner. The criterion for
classification could be many depending on what we desire to find out.
The process of classification helps to analyse a situation.
In dividing the economic activities into three sectors — primary,
secondary, tertiary — the criterion used was the ‘nature of activity’. On
the basis of this classification, we were able to analyse the pattern of total
production and employment in India. Similarly, we divided the economic
activities into organised and unorganised and used the classification to
look at employment in the two sectors.
What was the most important conclusion that was derived from the
classification exercises? What were the problems and solutions that were
indicated? Can you summarise the information in the following table?
Sector Criteria used Most important Problems indicated and
conclusion how they can be tackled
Primary, Nature
Secondary, of activity


Another way of classifying economic To get such services we have to pay
activities into sectors could be on the money to these individuals and
basis of who owns assets and is companies. The purpose of the public
responsible for the delivery of services. sector is not just to earn profits.
In the public sector, the government Governments raise money through
owns most of the assets and provides taxes and other ways to meet expenses
all the services. In the private sector, on the services rendered by it. Modern
ownership of assets and delivery of day governments spend on a whole
services is in the hands of private range of activities. What are these
individuals or companies. Railways or activities? Why do governments spend
post office is an example of the public on such activities? Let’s find out.
sector whereas companies like Tata
There are several things needed by
Iron and Steel Company Limited
the society as a whole but which the
(TISCO) or Reliance Industries
private sector will not provide at
Limited (RIL) are privately owned.
a reasonable cost. Why? Some of
Activities in the private sector are these need spending large sums of
guided by the motive to earn profits. money, which is beyond the capacity


of the private sector. Also, collecting government has to bear some of the
money from thousands of people who cost. In this way, the government
use these facilities is not easy. Even if supports both farmers and
they do provide these things they consumers.
would charge a high rate for their
use. Examples are construction of There are a large number of
roads, bridges, railways, harbours, activities which are the primary
generating electricity, providing responsibility of the government. The
irrigation through dams etc. Thus, government must spend on these.
governments have to undertake such Providing health and education
heavy spending and ensure that facilities for all is one example. We have
these facilities are available for discussed some of these issues in the
everyone. first chapter. Running proper schools
and providing quality education,
There are some activities, which particularly elementary education, is
the government has to support. The the duty of the government. India’s size
private sector may not continue their of illiterate population is one of the
production or business unless
largest in the world.
government encourages it. For
example, selling electricity at the cost Similarly, we know that nearly half
of generation may push up the costs of India’s children are malnourished
of production of goods in many and a quarter of them are critically ill.
industries. Many units, especially We have read about Infant Mortality
small-scale units, might have to shut Rates. The infant mortality rate of
down. Government here steps in by Odisha (53) or Madhya Pradesh (56)
producing and supplying electricity is higher than some of the poorest
at rates which these industries can regions of the world. Government
afford. Government has to bear part also needs to pay attention to aspects
of the cost. of human development such as
Similarly, the Government in India availability of safe drinking water,
buys wheat and rice from farmers at housing facilities for the poor and food
a ‘fair price’. This it stores in its and nutrition. It is also the duty of
godowns and sells at a lower price to the government to take care of the
consumers through ration shops. You poorest and most ignored regions of
have read about this in the chapter the country through increased
on Food Security in Class IX. The spending in such areas.

In this chapter we have looked at ways of what all can be done for increasing
classifying economic activities into some employment opportunities in the country.
meaningful groups. One way of doing this Another classification is to consider whether
is to examine whether the activity relates to people are working in organised or
the primary, secondary or tertiary sectors. unorganised sectors. Most people are
The data for India, for the last thirty years, working in the unorganised sectors and
shows that while goods and services protection is necessary for them. We also
produced in the tertiary sector contribute looked at the difference between private and
the most to GDP, the employment remains public activities, and why it is important for
in the primary sector. We have also seen public activities to focus on certain areas.


1. Fill in the blanks using the correct option given in the bracket:

(i) Employment in the service sector _________ increased to the same extent
as production. (has / has not)
(ii) Workers in the _________ sector do not produce goods.
(tertiary / agricultural)
(iii) Most of the workers in the _________ sector enjoy job security.
(organised / unorganised)
(iv) A _________ proportion of labourers in India are working in the unorganised
sector. (large / small)
(v) Cotton is a _________ product and cloth is a _________ product.
[natural /manufactured]
(vi) The activities in primary, secondary and tertiary sectors are_________
[independent / interdependent]

2. Choose the most appropriate answer.

(a) The sectors are classified into public and private sector on the basis of:
(i) employment conditions
(ii) the nature of economic activity
(iii) ownership of enterprises
(iv) number of workers employed in the enterprise

(b) Production of a commodity, mostly through the natural process, is an

activity in _________ sector.
(i) primary
(ii) secondary
(iii) tertiary
(iv) information technology

(c) GDP is the total value of _________ produced during a particular year.
(i) all goods and services
(ii) all final goods and services
(iii) all intermediate goods and services
(iv) all intermediate and final goods and services

(d) In terms of GDP the share of tertiary sector in 2010-11 is _________

(i) between 20 to 30 per cent

(ii) between 30 to 40 per cent

(iii) between 50 to 60 per cent

(iv) 70 per cent


3. Match the following:
Problems faced by farming sector Some possible measures
1. Unirrigated land (a) Setting up agro-based mills
2. Low prices for crops (b) Cooperative marketing societies
3. Debt burden (c) Procurement of food grains by government
4. No job in the off season (d) Construction of canals by the government
5. Compelled to sell their grains to (e) Banks to provide credit with low interest
the local traders soon after harvest

4. Find the odd one out and say why.

(i) Tourist guide, dhobi, tailor, potter
(ii) Teacher, doctor, vegetable vendor, lawyer
(iii) Postman, cobbler, soldier, police constable
(iv) MTNL, Indian Railways, Air India, SAHARA Airlines, All India Radio
5. A research scholar looked at the working people in the city of Surat and found
the following.

Place of work Nature of employment Percentage of working people

In offices and factories registered Organised 15
with the government
Own shops, office, clinics in
marketplaces with formal license
People working on the street,
construction workers, domestic 20
Working in small workshops
usually not registered with the

Complete the table. What is the percentage of workers in the unorganised

sector in this city?
6. Do you think the classification of economic activities into primary, secondary
and tertiary is useful? Explain how.
7. For each of the sectors that we came across in this chapter why should one
focus on employment and GDP? Could there be other issues which should be
examined? Discuss.
8. Make a long list of all kinds of work that you find adults around you doing for a
living. In what way can you classify them? Explain your choice.
9. How is the tertiary sector different from other sectors? Illustrate with a few
10. What do you understand by disguised unemployment? Explain with an example
each from the urban and rural areas.
11. Distinguish between open unemployment and disguised unemployment.
12. “Tertiary sector is not playing any significant role in the development of Indian
economy.” Do you agree? Give reasons in support of your answer.

36 U

13. Service sector in India employs two different kinds of people. Who are these?
14. Workers are exploited in the unorganised sector. Do you agree with this view?
Give reasons in support of your answer.
15. How are the activities in the economy classified on the basis of employment
16. Compare the employment conditions prevailing in the organised and unorganised
17. Explain the objective of implementing the NREGA 2005.
18. Using examples from your area compare and contrast that activities and functions
of private and public sectors.
19. Discuss and fill the following table giving one example each from your area.

Well managed organisation Badly managed organisation

Public sector
Private Sector

20. Give a few examples of public sector activities and explain why the government
has taken them up.
21. Explain how public sector contributes to the economic development of a nation.
22. The workers in the unorganised sector need protection on the following issues :
wages, safety and health. Explain with examples.
23. A study in Ahmedabad found that out of 15,00,000 workers in the city, 11,00,000
worked in the unorganised sector. The tot al income of the city in this year
(1997-1998) was Rs 60,000 million. Out of this Rs 32,000 million was generated
in the organised sector. Present this data as a table. What kind of ways should
be thought of for generating more employment in the city?

24. The following table gives the GDP in Rupees (Crores) by the three sectors:

Year Primary Secondary Tertiary

1950 80,000 19,000 39,000
2011 8,18,000 12,49,000 28,18,000

(i) Calculate the share of the three sectors in GDP for 1950 and 2011.
(ii) Show the data as a bar diagram similar to Graph 2 in the chapter.
(iii) What conclusions can we draw from the bar graph?


Chapter V
The Age of Industrialisation

o f I n d us t r i a l isa t i o n
Fig. 1 – Dawn of the Century, published by E.T. Paull Music Co.,
New York, England, 1900.

In 1900, a popular music publisher E.T. Paull produced a music

book that had a picture on the cover page announcing the ‘Dawn
of the Century’ (Fig. 1). As you can see from the illustration, at the g eof Industrialisation
centre of the picture is a goddess-like figure, the angel of progress,
bearing the flag of the new century. She is gently perched on a wheel
The Age of Industrialisation
with wings, symbolising time. Her flight is taking her into the future.
New words
Floating about, behind her, are the signs of progress: railway, camera,
T h e TheA Age

machines, printing press and factory. Orient – The countries to the east of
the Mediterranean, usually referring to
This glorification of machines and technology is even more marked
Asia. The term arises out of a western
in a picture which appeared on the pages of a trade magazine over
viewpoint that sees this region as pre-
a hundred years ago (Fig. 2). It shows two magicians. The one at the
modern, traditional and mysterious
top is Aladdin from the Orient who built a beautiful palace with his

magic lamp. The one at the bottom is the modern mechanic, who
with his modern tools weaves a new magic: builds bridges, ships,
towers and high-rise buildings. Aladdin is shown as representing the
East and the past, the mechanic stands for the West and modernity.

These images offer us a triumphant account of the modern world.

Within this account the modern world is associated with rapid
technological change and innovations, machines and factories, railways
and steamships. The history of industrialisation thus becomes simply
a story of development, and the modern age appears as a wonderful
time of technological progress.

These images and associations have now become part of popular

imagination. Do you not see rapid industrialisation as a time of
progress and modernity? Do you not think that the spread of railways
and factories, and construction of high-rise buildings and bridges is
a sign of society’s development?

How have these images developed? And how do we relate to these

ideas? Is industrialisation always based on rapid technological
development? Can we today continue to glorify continuous Fig. 2 – Two Magicians, published in Inland
Printers, 26 January 1901.
mechanisation of all work? What has industrialisation meant to
people’s lives? To answer such questions we need to turn to the
history of industrialisation.

In this chapter we will look at this history by focusing first on Britain,

the first industrial nation, and then India, where the pattern of
industrial change was conditioned by colonial rule.

Give two examples where modern development that is
India and the Contemporary World

associated with progress has lead to problems. You may like to

think of areas related to environmental issues, nuclear weapons
or disease.

1 Before the Industrial Revolution

All too often we associate industrialisation with the growth of

factory industry. When we talk of industrial production we refer
to factory production. When we talk of industrial workers we
mean factory workers. Histories of industrialisation very often begin
with the setting up of the first factories.

There is a problem with such ideas. Even before factories began to

dot the landscape in England and Europe, there was large-scale New words
industrial production for an international market. This was not based Proto – Indicating the first or early form
on factories. Many historians now refer to this phase of of something
industrialisation as proto-industrialisation.

In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, merchants from the towns

in Europe began moving to the countryside, supplying money to
peasants and artisans, persuading them to produce for an international
market. With the expansion of world trade and the acquisition of
colonies in different parts of the world, the demand for goods
began growing. But merchants could not expand production within
towns. This was because here urban crafts and trade guilds were
powerful. These were associations of producers that trained
craftspeople, maintained control over production, regulated
competition and prices, and restricted the entry of new people into
the trade. Rulers granted different guilds the monopoly
right to produce and trade in specific products. It was
therefore difficult for new merchants to set up
business in towns. So they turned to the countryside.

In the countryside poor peasants and artisans began

working for merchants. As you have seen in the

The Age of Industrialisation

textbook last year, this was a time when open fields
were disappearing and commons were being
enclosed. Cottagers and poor peasants who had earlier
depended on common lands for their survival,
gathering their firewood, berries, vegetables, hay and
straw, had to now look for alternative sources of
income. Many had tiny plots of land which could not
provide work for all members of the household. So
Fig. 3 – Spinning in the eighteenth century.
when merchants came around and offered advances You can see each member of the family involved in the
to produce goods for them, peasant households production of yarn. Notice that one wheel is moving only one
eagerly agreed. By working for the merchants, they

could remain in the countryside and continue to cultivate their small
plots. Income from proto-industrial production supplemented their New words
shrinking income from cultivation. It also allowed them a fuller use Stapler – A person who ‘staples’ or sorts wool
of their family labour resources. according to its fibre
Within this system a close relationship developed between the town Fuller – A person who ‘fulls’ – that is, gathers
and the countryside. Merchants were based in towns but the work – cloth by pleating
was done mostly in the countryside. A merchant clothier in England Carding – The process in which fibres, such as
purchased wool from a wool stapler, and carried it to the spinners; cotton or wool, are prepared prior to spinning
the yarn (thread) that was spun was taken in subsequent stages
of production to weavers, fullers, and then to dyers. The finishing
was done in London before the export merchant sold the cloth in
the international market. London in fact came to be known as a
finishing centre.

This proto-industrial system was thus part of a network of

commercial exchanges. It was controlled by merchants and the goods
were produced by a vast number of producers working within
their family farms, not in factories. At each stage of production 20
to 25 workers were employed by each merchant. This meant that
each clothier was controlling hundreds of workers.

1.1 The Coming Up of the Factory

The earliest factories in England came up by the 1730s. But it
was only in the late eighteenth century that the number of
factories multiplied.

The first symbol of the new era was cotton. Its production boomed
in the late nineteenth century. In 1760 Britain was importing 2.5
million pounds of raw cotton to feed its cotton industry. By 1787
this import soared to 22 million pounds. This increase was linked to
India and the Contemporary World

a number of changes within the process of production. Let us look

briefly at some of these.

A series of inventions in the eighteenth century increased the efficacy

of each step of the production process (carding, twisting and
spinning, and rolling). They enhanced the output per worker, enabling
each worker to produce more, and they made possible the Fig. 4 – A Lancashire cotton mill, painted by
C.E. Turner, The Illustrated London News,
production of stronger threads and yarn. Then Richard Arkwright 1925.
created the cotton mill. Till this time, as you have seen, cloth The artist said: ‘Seen through the humid
atmosphere that makes Lancashire the best
production was spread all over the countryside and carried out within cotton-spinning locality in the world, a huge
village households. But now, the costly new machines could be cotton-mill aglow with electricity in the
twilight, is a most impressive sight.’
purchased, set up and maintained in the mill. Within the mill all the

processes were brought together under one roof and management.
This allowed a more careful supervision over the production process, Activity
a watch over quality, and the regulation of labour, all of which had The way in which historians focus on
been difficult to do when production was in the countryside. industrialisation rather than on small
workshops is a good example of how what we
In the early nineteenth century, factories increasingly became an
believe today about the past is influenced by
intimate part of the English landscape. So visible were the imposing
what historians choose to notice and what they
new mills, so magical seemed to be the power of new technology,
ignore. Note down one event or aspect of your
that contemporaries were dazzled. They concentrated their attention own life which adults such as your parents or
on the mills, almost forgetting the bylanes and the workshops where teachers may think is unimportant, but which
production still continued. you believe to be important.

Fig. 5 – Industrial Manchester by M. Jackson, The Illustrated London News, 1857.

Chimneys billowing smoke came to characterise the industrial landscape.

1.2 The Pace of Industrial Change

The Age of Industrialisation
How rapid was the process of industrialisation? Does industrialisation
Look at Figs. 4 and 5. Can you see any
mean only the growth of factory industries?
difference in the way the two images show
First: The most dynamic industries in Britain were clearly cotton and industrialisation? Explain your view briefly.
metals. Growing at a rapid pace, cotton was the leading sector in the
first phase of industrialisation up to the 1840s. After that the iron
and steel industry led the way. With the expansion of railways, in
England from the 1840s and in the colonies from the 1860s, the
demand for iron and steel increased rapidly. By 1873 Britain was
exporting iron and steel worth about £ 77 million, double the value
of its cotton export.

Second: the new industries could not easily displace traditional
industries. Even at the end of the nineteenth century, less than 20 per
cent of the total workforce was employed in technologically
advanced industrial sectors. Textiles was a dynamic sector, but a
large portion of the output was produced not within factories, but
outside, within domestic units.

Third: the pace of change in the ‘traditional’ industries was not set
by steam-powered cotton or metal industries, but they did not remain
entirely stagnant either. Seemingly ordinary and small innovations Fig. 6 – A fitting shop at a railway works in
were the basis of growth in many non-mechanised sectors such as England, The Illustrated London News, 1849.
In the fitting shop new locomotive engines were
food processing, building, pottery, glass work, tanning, furniture completed and old ones repaired.
making, and production of implements.

Fourth: technological changes occurred slowly. They did not spread

dramatically across the industrial landscape. New technology was
expensive and merchants and industrialists were cautious about using
it. The machines often broke down and repair was costly. They
were not as effective as their inventors and manufacturers claimed.

Consider the case of the steam engine. James Watt improved the
steam engine produced by Newcomen and patented the new engine
in 1781. His industrialist friend Mathew Boulton manufactured the
new model. But for years he could find no buyers. At the beginning
of the nineteenth century, there were no more than 321 steam engines
all over England. Of these, 80 were
in cotton industries, nine in wool
industries, and the rest in mining,
canal works and iron works. Steam
engines were not used in any of the
other industries till much later in
the century. So even the most
India and the Contemporary World

powerful new technology that

enhanced the productivity of
labour manifold was slow to be
accepted by industrialists.

Historians now have come to

increasingly recognise that the typical
worker in the mid-nineteenth century Fig. 7 – A spinning factory in 1830.
was not a machine operator but the You can see how giant wheels moved by steam power could set in motion
hundreds of spindles to manufacture thread.
traditional craftsperson and labourer.

2 Hand Labour and Steam Power

In Victorian Britain there was no shortage of human labour. Poor Source A

peasants and vagrants moved to the cities in large numbers in search
of jobs, waiting for work. As you will know, when there is plenty of Will Thorne is one of those who went in search
labour, wages are low. So industrialists had no problem of labour of seasonal work, loading bricks and doing odd
jobs. He describes how job-seekers walked to
shortage or high wage costs. They did not want to introduce machines London in search of work:
that got rid of human labour and required large capital investment. ‘I had always wanted to go to London, and my
desire … was stimulated by letters from an old
In many industries the demand for labour was seasonal. Gas works workmate … who was now working at the Old
and breweries were especially busy through the cold months. So Kent Road Gas Works … I finally decided to go …
they needed more workers to meet their peak demand. Book- in November, 1881. With two friends I started
out to walk the journey, filled with the hope
binders and printers, catering to Christmas demand, too needed that we would be able to obtain employment,
extra hands before December. At the waterfront, winter was the when we get there, with the kind assistance of
time that ships were repaired and spruced up. In all such industries my friend … we had little money when we
started, not enough to pay for our food and
where production fluctuated with the season, industrialists usually lodgings each night until we arrived in London.
preferred hand labour, employing workers for the season. Some days we walked as much as twenty miles,
and other days less. Our money was gone at
the end of the third day … For two nights we
slept out – once under a haystack, and once in
an old farm shed … On arrival in London we tried
to find … my friend … but … were unsuccessful.
Our money was gone, so there was nothing for
us to do but to walk around until late at night,
and then try to find some place to sleep. We
found an old building and slept in it that night.
The next day, Sunday, late in the afternoon, we
got to the Old Kent Gas Works, and applied for
work. To my great surprise, the man we had
been looking for was working at the time. He
spoke to the foreman and I was given a job.’
Quoted in Raphael Samuel, ‘Comers and Goers’,
in H.J. Dyos and Michael Wolff, eds, The Victorian
City: Images and Realities, 1973.

Source The Age of Industrialisation

Fig. 8 – People on the move in search of work, The Illustrated

London News, 1879.
Some people were always on the move selling small goods and
looking for temporary work.
A range of products could be produced only with hand Imagine that you are a merchant writing back
to a salesman who has been trying to
labour. Machines were oriented to producing uniforms,
persuade you to buy a new machine. Explain
standardised goods for a mass market. But the demand in the market
in your letter what you have heard and why you
was often for goods with intricate designs and specific shapes. In
do not wish to invest in the new technology.
mid-nineteenth-century Britain, for instance, 500 varieties of

hammers were produced and 45 kinds of axes. These required
human skill, not mechanical technology.

In Victorian Britain, the upper classes – the aristocrats and the

bourgeoisie – preferred things produced by hand. Handmade
products came to symbolise refinement and class. They were better
finished, individually produced, and carefully designed. Machine-
made goods were for export to the colonies.

In countries with labour shortage, industrialists were keen on using

mechanical power so that the need for human labour can be
minimised. This was the case in nineteenth-century America. Britain,
however, had no problem hiring human hands.

Fig. 9 – Workers in an iron works, north-east

2.1 Life of the Workers England, painting by William Bell Scott, 1861.
Many artists from the late nineteenth century
The abundance of labour in the market affected the lives of workers. began idealising workers: they were shown
As news of possible jobs travelled to the countryside, hundreds suffering hardship and pain for the cause of
the nation.
tramped to the cities. The actual possibility of getting a job depended
on existing networks of friendship and kin relations. If you had
a relative or a friend in a factory, you were more likely to get a
job quickly. But not everyone had social connections. Many job-
seekers had to wait weeks, spending nights under bridges or in night
India and the Contemporary World

Fig. 10 – Houseless and Hungry, painting by Samuel Luke Fildes, 1874.

This painting shows the homeless in London applying for tickets to stay overnight in a workhouse. These shelters
were maintained under the supervision of the Poor Law Commissioners for the ‘destitute, wayfarers, wanderers and
foundling’. Staying in these workhouses was a humiliating experience: everyone was subjected to a medical
examination to see whether they were carrying disease, their bodies were cleansed, and their clothes purified. They
had to also do hard labour.

shelters. Some stayed in Night Refuges that were set up by private
individuals; others went to the Casual Wards maintained by the Poor
Law authorities.

Seasonality of work in many industries meant prolonged periods

without work. After the busy season was over, the poor were on
the streets again. Some returned to the countryside after the winter,
when the demand for labour in the rural areas opened up in places.
But most looked for odd jobs, which till the mid-nineteenth century
were difficult to find. spindles

Wages increased somewhat in the early nineteenth century. But they Fig. 11 – A Spinning Jenny, a drawing by
tell us little about the welfare of the workers. The average figures T.E. Nicholson, 1835.
Notice the number of spindles that could be
hide the variations between trades and the fluctuations from year to operated with one wheel.
year. For instance, when prices rose sharply during the prolonged
Napoleonic War, the real value of what the workers earned fell
significantly, since the same wages could now buy fewer things.
Moreover, the income of workers depended not on the wage rate
alone. What was also critical was the period of employment: the
number of days of work determined the average daily income of
New words
the workers. At the best of times till the mid-nineteenth century,
about 10 per cent of the urban population were extremely poor. In Spinning Jenny – Devised by James Hargreaves
periods of economic slump, like the 1830s, the proportion of in 1764, this machine speeded up the spinning
unemployed went up to anything between 35 and 75 per cent in process and reduced labour demand. By
different regions. turning one single wheel a worker could set in
motion a number of spindles and spin several
The fear of unemployment made workers hostile to the introduction
threads at the same time.
of new technology. When the Spinning Jenny was introduced in
Source B
A magistrate reported in 1790 about an incident when he was
Look at Figs. 3, 7 and 11, then reread source B.

The Age of Industrialisation

called in to protect a manufacturer’s property from being attacked
by workers: Explain why many workers were opposed to the

‘From the depredations of a lawless Banditti of colliers and their use of the Spinning Jenny.
wives, for the wives had lost their work to spinning engines … they
advanced at first with much insolence, avowing their intention of
cutting to pieces the machine lately introduced in the woollen
manufacture; which they suppose, if generally adopted, will lessen
the demand for manual labour. The women became clamorous.
The men were more open to conviction and after some
expostulation were induced to desist from their purpose and return
peaceably home.’
J.L. Hammond and B. Hammond, The Skilled Labourer 1760-1832,
quoted in Maxine Berg, The Age of Manufactures.
Fig. 12 – A shallow underground railway being constructed in central London, Illustrated Times, 1868.
From the 1850s railway stations began coming up all over London. This meant a demand for large numbers of
workers to dig tunnels, erect timber scaffolding, do the brick and iron works. Job-seekers moved from one
construction site to another.

the woollen industry, women who survived on hand spinning began

attacking the new machines. This conflict over the introduction of
the jenny continued for a long time.

After the 1840s, building activity intensified in the cities, opening up

India and the Contemporary World

greater opportunities of employment. Roads were widened, new

railway stations came up, railway lines were extended, tunnels dug,
drainage and sewers laid, rivers embanked. The number of workers
employed in the transport industry doubled in the 1840s, and doubled
again in the subsequent 30 years.

3 Industrialisation in the Colonies

Let us now move to India to see how a colony industrialises. Once

again we will look not only at factory industries but also at the
non-mechanised sector. We will limit our discussion primarily to
textile industries.

3.1 The Age of Indian Textiles

Before the age of machine industries, silk and cotton goods from
India dominated the international market in textiles. Coarser cottons
were produced in many countries, but the finer varieties often came
from India. Armenian and Persian merchants took the goods from
Punjab to Afghanistan, eastern Persia and Central Asia. Bales of fine
textiles were carried on camel back via the north-west frontier, through
mountain passes and across deserts. A vibrant sea trade operated Activity
through the main pre-colonial ports. Surat on the Gujarat coast
On a map of Asia, find and draw the sea and
connected India to the Gulf and Red Sea Ports; Masulipatam on
land links of the textile trade from India to
the Coromandel coast and Hoogly in Bengal had trade links with
Central Asia, West Asia and Southeast Asia.
Southeast Asian ports.

A variety of Indian merchants and bankers were involved in this

network of export trade – financing production, carrying goods
and supplying exporters. Supply merchants linked the port towns to
the inland regions. They gave advances to weavers, procured the
woven cloth from weaving villages, and carried the supply to the
ports. At the port, the big shippers and export merchants had brokers
who negotiated the price and bought goods from the supply
merchants operating inland.

The Age of Industrialisation

By the 1750s this network, controlled by Indian merchants, was
breaking down.

The European companies gradually gained power – first securing a

variety of concessions from local courts, then the monopoly rights
to trade. This resulted in a decline of the old ports of Surat and
Hoogly through which local merchants had operated. Exports from
these ports fell dramatically, the credit that had financed the earlier
trade began drying up, and the local bankers slowly went bankrupt.
In the last years of the seventeenth century, the gross value of trade
that passed through Surat had been Rs 16 million. By the 1740s it
had slumped to Rs 3 million.

Fig. 13 – The English factory at Surat, a seventeenth-century drawing.

While Surat and Hoogly decayed, Bombay and Calcutta grew. This
shift from the old ports to the new ones was an indicator of the
growth of colonial power. Trade through the new ports came to
be controlled by European companies, and was carried in European
ships. While many of the old trading houses collapsed, those that
wanted to survive had to now operate within a network shaped by
European trading companies.

How did these changes affect the life of weavers and other artisans?
India and the Contemporary World

3.2 What Happened to Weavers?

The consolidation of East India Company power after the 1760s
did not initially lead to a decline in textile exports from India. British
cotton industries had not yet expanded and Indian fine textiles were
in great demand in Europe. So the company was keen on expanding
textile exports from India.

Before establishing political power in Bengal and Carnatic in the

1760s and 1770s, the East India Company had found it difficult to
ensure a regular supply of goods for export. The French, Dutch, Fig. 14 – A weaver at work, Gujarat.

Portuguese as well as the local traders competed in the market
to secure woven cloth. So the weaver and supply merchants
could bargain and try selling the produce to the best buyer. In
their letters back to London, Company officials continuously
complained of difficulties of supply and the high prices.

However, once the East India Company established political

power, it could assert a monopoly right to trade. It proceeded
to develop a system of management and control that would
eliminate competition, control costs, and ensure regular supplies
of cotton and silk goods. This it did through a series of steps.

First: the Company tried to eliminate the existing traders and

brokers connected with the cloth trade, and establish a more
direct control over the weaver. It appointed a paid servant called
the gomastha to supervise weavers, collect supplies, and examine
the quality of cloth.

Second: it prevented Company weavers from dealing with other

buyers. One way of doing this was through the system of advances.
Once an order was placed, the weavers were given loans to purchase
the raw material for their production. Those who took loans had to
hand over the cloth they produced to the gomastha. They could not
take it to any other trader.

As loans flowed in and the demand for fine textiles expanded,

weavers eagerly took the advances, hoping to earn more. Many
weavers had small plots of land which they had earlier cultivated
along with weaving, and the produce from this took care of their
family needs. Now they had to lease out the land and devote all their
time to weaving. Weaving, in fact, required the labour of the entire
family, with children and women all engaged in different stages of

The Age of Industrialisation

the process.
New words
Soon, however, in many weaving villages there were reports of
clashes between weavers and gomasthas. Earlier supply merchants had Sepoy – This is how the British pronounced
very often lived within the weaving villages, and had a close the word sipahi, meaning an Indian soldier in
relationship with the weavers, looking after their needs and helping the service of the British
them in times of crisis. The new gomasthas were outsiders, with no
long-term social link with the village. They acted arrogantly, marched
into villages with sepoys and peons, and punished weavers for delays
in supply – often beating and flogging them. The weavers lost the
space to bargain for prices and sell to different buyers: the price they
received from the Company was miserably low and the loans they
had accepted tied them to the Company.
In many places in Carnatic and Bengal, weavers deserted villages
and migrated, setting up looms in other villages where they had
some family relation. Elsewhere, weavers along with the village
traders revolted, opposing the Company and its officials. Over time
many weavers began refusing loans, closing down their workshops
and taking to agricultural labour.

By the turn of the nineteenth century, cotton weavers faced a

new set of problems.

3.3 Manchester Comes to India

In 1772, Henry Patullo, a Company official, had ventured to Source C
say that the demand for Indian textiles could never reduce, since
no other nation produced goods of the same quality. Yet by The Commissioner of Patna wrote:
the beginning of the nineteenth century we see the beginning of ‘It appears that twenty yeas ago, a brisk trade
was carried on in the manufacture of cloth at
a long decline of textile exports from India. In 1811-12
Jahanabad, and Behar, which has in the former
piece-goods accounted for 33 per cent of India’s exports; by place entirely ceased, while in the latter the
1850-51 it was no more than 3 per cent. amount of manufacture is very limited, in
consequence of the cheap and durable goods
Why did this happen? What were its implications? from Manchester with which the Native
manufactures are unable to compete.’
As cotton industries developed in England, industrial groups began Quoted in J. Krishnamurty, ‘Deindustrialisation in
worrying about imports from other countries. They pressurised Gangetic Bihar during the nineteenth century’,
the government to impose import duties on cotton textiles so that The Indian Economic and Social History Review,
Manchester goods could sell in Britain without facing any Source
competition from outside. At the same time industrialists persuaded
the East India Company to sell British manufactures in Indian
markets as well. Exports of British cotton goods increased
Source D
dramatically in the early nineteenth century. At the end of the
eighteenth century there had been virtually no import of cotton
Reporting on the Koshtis, a community of
piece-goods into India. But by 1850 cotton piece-goods constituted
India and the Contemporary World

weavers, the Census Report of Central Provinces

over 31 per cent of the value of Indian imports; and by the 1870s stated:
this figure was over 50 per cent. ‘The Koshtis, like the weavers of the finer kinds
of cloth in other parts of India, have fallen upon
Cotton weavers in India thus faced two problems at the same time: evil times. They are unable to compete with the
showy goods which Manchester sends in such
their export market collapsed, and the local market shrank, being
profusion, and they have of late years emigrated
glutted with Manchester imports. Produced by machines at lower in great numbers, chiefly to Berar, where as day
costs, the imported cotton goods were so cheap that weavers could labourers they are able to obtain wages …’
not easily compete with them. By the 1850s, reports from most Census Report of Central Provinces, 1872, quoted
in Sumit Guha, ‘The handloom industry in Central
weaving regions of India narrated stories of decline and desolation.
India, 1825-1950’, The Indian Economic and Social
History Review.
By the 1860s, weavers faced a new problem. They could not get
sufficient supply of raw cotton of good quality. When the American

Fig. 15 – Bombay harbour, a late-eighteenth-century drawing.
Bombay and Calcutta grew as trading ports from the 1780s. This marked the decline of the old trading order
and the growth of the colonial economy.

Civil War broke out and cotton supplies from the US were cut
off, Britain turned to India. As raw cotton exports from India
increased, the price of raw cotton shot up. Weavers in India
were starved of supplies and forced to buy raw cotton at
exorbitant prices. In this, situation weaving could not pay.

Then, by the end of the nineteenth century, weavers and other

craftspeople faced yet another problem. Factories in India began

The Age of Industrialisation

production, flooding the market with machine- goods. How could
weaving industries possibly survive?

4 Factories Come Up

The first cotton mill in Bombay came up in 1854 and it went into
production two years later. By 1862 four mills were at work with
94,000 spindles and 2,150 looms. Around the same time jute mills
came up in Bengal, the first being set up in 1855 and another one
seven years later, in 1862. In north India, the Elgin Mill was started
in Kanpur in the 1860s, and a year later the first cotton mill of
Ahmedabad was set up. By 1874, the first spinning and weaving
mill of Madras began production.

Who set up the industries? Where did the capital come from? Who
came to work in the mills? Fig. 16 – Jamsetjee Jeejeebhoy.
Jeejeebhoy was the son of a Parsi weaver. Like
many others of his time, he was involved in
4.1 The Early Entrepreneurs the China trade and shipping. He owned a
large fleet of ships, but competition from
Industries were set up in different regions by varying sorts of people. English and American shippers forced him to
sell his ships by the 1850s.
Let us see who they were.

The history of many business groups goes back to trade with China.
From the late eighteenth century, as you have read in your book last
year, the British in India began exporting opium to China and took
tea from China to England. Many Indians became junior players in
this trade, providing finance, procuring supplies, and shipping
consignments. Having earned through trade, some of these
businessmen had visions of developing industrial enterprises in India.
In Bengal, Dwarkanath Tagore made his fortune in the China trade
before he turned to industrial investment, setting up six joint-stock
companies in the 1830s and 1840s. Tagore’s enterprises sank along
with those of others in the wider business crises of the 1840s, but
later in the nineteenth century many of the China traders became
India and the Contemporary World

successful industrialists. In Bombay, Parsis like Dinshaw Petit and

Jamsetjee Nusserwanjee Tata who built huge industrial empires in
India, accumulated their initial wealth partly from exports to China,
and partly from raw cotton shipments to England. Seth Hukumchand,
a Marwari businessman who set up the first Indian jute mill in
Calcutta in 1917, also traded with China. So did the father as well as
grandfather of the famous industrialist G.D. Birla. Fig. 17 – Dwarkanath Tagore.
Dwarkanath Tagore believed that India would
Capital was accumulated through other trade networks. Some develop through westernisation and
industrialisation. He invested in shipping,
merchants from Madras traded with Burma while others had links shipbuilding, mining, banking, plantations
with the Middle East and East Africa. There were yet other and insurance.

commercial groups, but they were not directly involved in external
trade. They operated within India, carrying goods from one place
to another, banking money, transferring funds between cities, and
financing traders. When opportunities of investment in industries
opened up, many of them set up factories.

As colonial control over Indian trade tightened, the space within

which Indian merchants could function became increasingly limited.
They were barred from trading with Europe in manufactured goods,
and had to export mostly raw materials and food grains – raw
cotton, opium, wheat and indigo – required by the British. They
were also gradually edged out of the shipping business. Fig. 18 – Partners in enterprise – J.N. Tata,
R.D. Tata, Sir R.J. Tata, and Sir D.J. Tata.
Till the First World War, European Managing Agencies in fact In 1912, J.N. Tata set up the first iron and steel
works in India at Jamshedpur. Iron and steel
controlled a large sector of Indian industries. Three of the biggest industries in India started much later than
ones were Bird Heiglers & Co., Andrew Yule, and Jardine Skinner textiles. In colonial India industrial machinery,
railways and locomotives were mostly imported.
& Co. These Agencies mobilised capital, set up joint-stock companies So capital goods industries could not really
and managed them. In most instances Indian financiers provided develop in any significant way till Independence.

the capital while the European Agencies made all investment and
business decisions. The European merchant-industrialists had their
own chambers of commerce which Indian businessmen were not
allowed to join.

4.2 Where Did the Workers Come From?

Factories needed workers. With the expansion of factories, this
demand increased. In 1901, there were 584,000 workers in Indian
factories. By 1946 the number was over 2,436, 000. Where did the
workers come from?

In most industrial regions workers came from the districts around.

Peasants and artisans who found no work in the village went to the

The Age of Industrialisation

industrial centres in search of work. Over 50 per cent workers in the
Bombay cotton industries in 1911 came from the neighbouring
district of Ratnagiri, while the mills of Kanpur got most of their
textile hands from the villages within the district of Kanpur. Most
often millworkers moved between the village and the city, returning
to their village homes during harvests and festivals.

Over time, as news of employment spread, workers travelled great

distances in the hope of work in the mills. From the United Provinces, Fig. 19 – Young workers of a Bombay
mill, early twentieth century.
for instance, they went to work in the textile mills of Bombay and in When workers went back to their village
the jute mills of Calcutta. homes, they liked dressing up.

Getting jobs was always difficult, even when mills multiplied and
the demand for workers increased. The numbers seeking work were
always more than the jobs available. Entry into the mills was also
restricted. Industrialists usually employed a jobber to get new recruits.
Very often the jobber was an old and trusted worker. He got people
from his village, ensured them jobs, helped them settle in the city
and provided them money in times of crisis. The jobber therefore
became a person with some authority and power. He began
demanding money and gifts for his favour and controlling the lives
of workers.

The number of factory workers increased over time. However,

as you will see, they were a small proportion of the total
industrial workforce.

Source E

Vasant Parkar, who was once a millworker in Bombay, said: Fig. 20 – A head jobber.
‘The workers would pay the jobbers money to get their sons work Notice how the posture and clothes
emphasise the jobber’s position of
in the mill … The mill worker was closely associated with his village,
physically and emotionally. He would go home to cut the harvest
and for sowing. The Konkani would go home to cut the paddy
and the Ghati, the sugarcane. It was an accepted practice for
which the mills granted leave.’
Meena Menon and Neera Adarkar, One Hundred Years: One Hundred
Voices, 2004.
Source F

Bhai Bhosle, a trade unionist of Bombay,

recollected his childhood in the 1930s and 1940s:
‘In those days, the shift was