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New International Economic Order

In 1797 when John Binny arrived on the shores of Madras, as surgeon to the Nawab of the Carnatic, the days of the English nawabs, governors downward, were over, or nearly so. The Nawab of the carnatic had inherited bankruptcy from his father. 1801 the Company had taken over the carnatic. The British Parliament had expressed its altruistic and benign concern for: ....the land of princes once of great dignity, authority and opulence; of an ancient and venerable priesthood...; of a nobility of antiquity and renown; of millions of ingenious mechanics, and millions of diligent tillers of the earth...', John Binny, surgeon to the Nawab, received a bond for his pay, but no remuneration.

In 1799 he founded his House of Agency, John Binny was a Scot. Thomas Parry was a Welshman, and had been a Revenuecollector to the Nawab and on leaving this employment had founded his house of urgency in 1789. There were others: William Palmer (son of Lt. General W. Palmer, army secretary to Warren Hastings, and of a wealthy noble Hindu lady) in the employ of the Nizam of Hyderabad, who founded his house of agency in 1810 in partnership with William Rambold, grandson of a Governor of Madras, H. Sothely, first assistant to the British Resident with the Nizam, four other Englishmen and an Indian moneylender. And, others-Alexander & Co. (1770); the big firm of Arbuthnot known as of Francis Labour in 1799, prospering in Madras in the 1820s. When John Binny started his house of agency in 1799 there were already more than 11 agency houses, at Madras, not all were to survive. By- 1825 there were 57 agency houses 32 in Calcutta 15 in Bombay, and I0 in Madras-Bengal bred fatter nobobs;

John Binny was from a Small town In Forar, from a family with important positions in the running of town affairs, a middle class which was providing professionals to the universities of Scotland and its industries, and yet was compelled to seek fortunes for instance in India. John was not the first; his brother and uncles had preceded him in the employ of the Company or the nawabs, some had gone back home others settled in Calcutta. Others were to follow-son's, sister's sons, brother's sons, husbands of girls of the clan, and so on as nominees of the partners who retiredclan and family bonds between home and India.

Forfar was to give others around the 1830s like, for instance, James Skinner, brother Charles Binny Skinner, enterprising men who founded Jardine Skinner & Co. in Calcutta Thomas Parry, perhaps because he was Welsh, "distinguished himself by fiambouncy or taking sides against the government", and for several years was under a suspended sentence of exile from India. There was another, James Silk Buckingham, an Englishman champion of the free press, deported from India by John Company.

There were then the Serampore missionaries with their Bengali journals. From 1780 onwards newspapers had been brought out by the British which gained in popularity with their opposition to the Hon'ble John Company. And John Company in 1818 enacted a regulation which enabled detention without trial; another in 182l was for the benefit of the native-press.

"The Government of the Honourable East India Company which held sway in the then Madras Presidency, and to the lordly individuals who composed, it, the activities of the "free-merchant" community generally were beneath notice-until they [courted attention by infringing any of the stringent laws related to private trading" . These seditious free merchants and pamphleteers, opposed to the established order and government, were of the same stuff as those battling in the British Parliament to bring the Company to an end.

Soon after the Charter of 1833, all -restrictive press laws were removed Parliament control the Company servants remittances home were restricted, as also trade by them on private account. The houses of Agency emerged to fill the breach they became bankers to the wealth of the Company's servants. The East India Company also founded its banks, Bank of Bengal (I806), Government Bank, Madras (1806), but presumably the agency houses and their banks had greater flexibility suited to the needs of Company officials, for the agency houses thrived and with them- their relations with the officials of the government of the East India Company.

The direct links in the case of Palmer & Co. have already been cited, mere generally: In the early 1830s for example twelve of the Company's directors had business or family connections with the executives of agency houses and six of the houses, owned shares in the banks of the East India Company.

Agency Houses
In addition to these developing relations, there were, of course, those with the family back home, and others which were developing with officials and others who had retired back home and for whom they were agents, or trustees, or those who had died and for whose Indian estates they were executors. Undoubtedly such agency houses as had close official connection would have entered trade, or acted as commission agents to the merchants and industries at home, relationship to be widened and broadened with the progressive erosion of East India Company's monopoly. Prior to 1813 and later-till 1833, the East India Company was powerful enough to retain its monopoly over foreign trade

Indigo a traditional crop and it was to be taken up on a commercial scale. To begin with European planters were brought from West Indies, were presumably they had given way to slave-based sugar plantations. The European planters came penniless and financed by the agency houses they spread out to Bengal and Bihar. By the end of the eighteenth century Indigo plantations and factories spread and grew rapidly. In the end decades of the 19th century Bihar, Banaras, and the Doab regions were the major producers. In 1830 the opulent house of palmer & Co. collapsed and the tremors shook Calcutta Scott & Co. and Alexander & Co, Mackintoshes, Coloins. Fergussons in 1833.

The disaster took place because of over-trading by these houses, particularly in indigo: others put it to reduced opportunity for foreign trade. What is of interest is that the Government had loaned sizable amounts to these houses, and withdrew them. Was it a signal that an age had come to a definite end, that was sealed and certain, that Indian indigo-dye had no future? Indigo plantations continued surviving the aniline-dyes to make history in another way at champaran with Gandhiji, the peasantry and moffusil lawyers.

Around 1825 Arbuthnots the house of agency in Madras, were flourishing: they were engaged in banking, leather and skins., indigo, cotton, timber, West Coast estates & agencies general shipping, general agency operations and import/export. The Binnys their mainstay remained banking: they made a tentative start in piece-goods for local consignment at the start of the 19th century, and then by 1820 they were exporting piecegoods. There were other items of trade, wine, spirits and beer, glass, sodawater, books and gempowder and also rice wheat and cotton.

Another mainstay was insurance agencies of a varied variety, apart from commissions, trusteeships and executorships. The agency house way of life appears as earning from other people investment instead of risking ones ownprofits were good. Then came 1833, the houses of agency in the presidency towns and some smaller towns, banded themselves together to assert their mutual interests: chambers of commerce quickly sprouted in Calcutta (1834), Madras (1836), and Bombay. Up-country trade in raw materials had been difficulty and was to be opened. There was first the task of removal of duties and tolls at innumerable boundaries and even pseudo-boundaries.

It was an all India issue and the Madras Chamber took up cudgels in 1838 and in the relatively short period of 6 years had reached their objective-'transit duties were replaced by a duty on salt'. And so were sown the seeds for another historic event almost a hundred years later The seed for another campaign to be taken up by Gandhiji.

Coffee plantations were taken up in earnest from 1840. The plant had been introduced in 1760, possibly by some amateur botanist, but it took an '1833' to make it take root and flourish. The agency houses were backing coffee; Parrys entered it in 1840, in 1852 Binny took to plantations. But, like in the case of indigo, the European planter was financed; the agency houses were actively promoting the growth of agricultural and planting, the operations of professional planters, and in turn undoubtedly securing agencies for export. In 1834, a centenary account narrates: '1833' had terminated the East India Company's monopoly on tea and China and Lord Bentinck had heard rumours of the discovery of tea plants growing wild in Assam, near Burma (it is not made clear if the source of the rumour was the Company's Botanical Bagh) Lord Bentinck wondered if tea could be profitably grown in India as in China-so he appointed a committee.

Plantations

This committee was, in today's parlance, timetargeted and action oriented and fortunately for tea in India it 'was research-oriented: Experiments in tea culture were begun without delay, at first with plants brought from China but in no long time with the indigenous variety which when cultivated, proved to be much more productive. The key words one may note are experiments and indigenous variety i.e. acclimated to the Ideation in wild to be selected and to be demonstrated so much for fixation with exotic.

In 1839, the plantation was handed over to Assam Co. A firm incorporated in Britain-never mind the British, here was an example of transfer of technology, of course of knowhow generated at the expense of state. William Carey at Serempore, was doing something odd, he was publishing the work of Roxburgh, Superintendent of Botanical Gardens at Howrah, and a close friend-Hortus Bengalensis 1814; Flora Indica 1820, Vol 1, 1824 Vol 2, 1832 Vol 3 Dane Nathaniel Wallich, successor to Roxburgh in 1815, helped Carey to publish Roxburgh's posthumous works.

The odd and surprising part is that the Company should have been so unmindful of what its employees were doing; were the plant collections not done on Company's time; did it pay for the collection or not; why did it not publish; why were the collections lost and not retained: why publish and broadcast, why not retain and monopolize? The Company officials linked with the agency houses of course, promoting the indigo plantation, and sugar-cane growers; clearly by publishing Carey himself was catering to the market of professional planters.

Perhaps this information may have been of more relevance to the relatively recent agency houses seeking an entry into the agriculture and planting business, i.e. entrants whom the Company and its proxies did not wish to enter the scene. Significantly in 1832, the Company published Waqllichs Plantac Asiaticae Rariores (3 vol.) and started a Harbarium collection data bank and dissemination services incidentally another company Botanic Garden was started at Saharanpur, the up-country area, and studied the Himalayan flora. In 1331 Hugh Falconer located at Saharanpur was spending time in the Sivalik region, and here he came across the engineer. Proby Cautley and his colleagues digging up Jamuna Canal, as a very happy and fertile combination of botany and irrigation which came up with fossil flora and fauna. This was serendipity.

Experimental farms
Somewhat earlier in 182O William Carey was founding the Agricultural Society of India, renamed Agricultural and Horticultural Society of India In 1826. Who were the founding members of Careys society: his parish to whom he preached in the Vernacular, his zamindar and merchant students whom he taught in English, or the professional European planters? What is clear is there were pathetically few with Carey when he launched his society, perhaps Roxburgh and other amateur European botanists. Elsewhere in Madras, in 1836, a Dr. Wight founded the Agri-Horticultural Society of Madras. Dr, Wight's passion was cotton'.

In 1840 an experimental farm at Coimbatore had been started under Dr. Wright with a view to improving the staple of Indian cotton for use in the mills, and American experts had been called in to assist. There were other experimental farms also. Pilot-scale experiments succeeded, but commercial scale for some reason did not, except for medium staple at Dhawar In 1836-42 the duty on cotton shipped to England from India, was abolished, loss of revenues not withstanding, and this, as one saw, triggered off a cotton fever experimentation foreign knowhow. The cotton enthusiasts in 1840s were stressing that land revenues rates were too high, and were impeding the adoption of cotton by peasants. Abolishing a semi feudal state revenue which required the starvation of peasants to enforce the cas crop.

Pressure in 1847 to establish railway lines between Bombay and its key cotton growing area, measures ensuring cotton supplies to the British mills through the diversification of raw material sources. The Jumna Canal was being dug in 1831, the first Punjab War had ended and in 1847, the construction of the Ganges Canal was underway. Large workshops were erected at Roorkee, Civil engineers, supervisors, helpers were required for the Upper Ganges Canal Project and so the civil engineering college at Roorkee came up in 1854 named after the Lieutenant Governor of N. W. Provinces, James Thomson, who had proposed the college.

Lack of Transport

On his arrival in 1848 Lord Dalhousie desired that each presidency town should have its engineering college. And with this he proceeded to enunciate another policy for which he is better known. The engineering colleges came up virtually by the time Dalhousie was to leave India in 1856. The college at Roorkee had finally come up in 1854 that at Madras, mooted as early as in 1842, was established in 1855 and at Pune in 1854 for training subordinate officers for the PWD. In 1856 the-engineering college at Calcutta was opened with an attached Mechanical testing laboratory and a mining Section. The accent in the main was, as expected, on civil engineering at all the colleges, for Lord Dalhousie at the start of his stay had created the Public work department: the demand had been created, the supply was to follow!

Steam powered ships had come to India around 1821 and shipping fever come to grip Calcutta A bounty was declared for the first entrepreneur to link Bengal with Britain with 70 days voyage by 1826. The first Bombay Suez run achieved in 1830, and regularized by 1837 In 1841, the Indian Steamship company was incorporated in Bengal with the object of linking up Bengal, madras, Ceylon and Suez by steam undoubtedly other agency houses like the Binnys invested in this Indian company

In 1842, the dreams of the Indian company, with a paltry capital of Rs 3.5 lakhs, was shattered by the lordly P&O, a British incorporated concern. Its luxurious wooden 2000 tonner, equipped with sails, and two funnels steamed up the Hooghly. Maldennon and Mackenzie met at Ghazipur, Bengal in 1842 not only did they setup their partnership house, but watching the river steamer decided to charter larger steampaddleships to run cargo from Britain to Calcutta or Calcutta to far east-they thrived. So well had the lesson been learnt that 1856 found them focusing on local coastal trade.

With British capital and highest official encouragement they founded the CalcuttaBurmah Steam Navigation Co. Ltd. With two ships, and then, in 1862, incorporated in London the British India Steam Navigation Co. ltd., with nine ships of 1000 ton and less to focus systematically on the peninsular coastal trade. The British was to grow into a giant and to take over the P&O.

The houses of agency had been managing investments on behalf of absentee owners in England; a house of agency had been managing the Aska concern with part of the capital invested from abroad. There were the mines, the plantations, the jute mills under the management and supervision, of European agency houses looking after investments from abroad and internally. The merchants and shroffs had managed other persons investments and deposits; they had managed as diwanjis and munshijis the estates; of less entrepreneurially talented landlords. So there were well established precedents for the new device of managing agencies, traditions ancient and emergent, traditions Indian and European related to managing other people's investments.

The merchants, the shroffs, and houses of agency were now managing imported plants; equipment and machinery instead of imported finished piece-goods. They were very much there and more so in the business of raw material collection; they were to engage labour through thekedars as on landlord estates-in brief merchants and bankers managing imported mills. The mills had descended on the Indian soil fullborn. There were no phase-shifts in the internal advance of techniques, no smashing-up so to say of the charkha: and the loom by the mills. They were exporting for the China market, yarn blending Indian and imported Egyptian cotton.

They were importing raw materials, spares, plant and machinery which determined effective location at ports. The opening of the Suez Canal implied cheaper Imports from Europe of plant, equipment and machinery, spares and replenish-able. Imported piece goods continued the task of disrupting artisans technique directly, and raw materials procurement indirectly The emerging firms, fabricators of plant; equipment and machines; of spares and component and their exporters must have watched in fascination the small, uncertain trickle of orders from India, of accidents on high seas which jeopardized the work of firms, and seen these trickles spurting at the time of the German War and the US Civil War. They must have added up the figures and charted the potential for export of their wares-why not export the machines, the equipment, recurring spares and intermediates, instead of the finished consumer articles, export of course selectively ?

Was this not a new means of achieving the old goals? Of course, imports would need restructuring, partially or totally processed materials, instead of unprocessed or virtually unprocessed raw materials. Of course, a clash and difference in the two ways would occur. Who would be the reliable links? Of course those to whom the equipment, the machines were already being exported to in India, those who had also been importing the required managerial, engineering and technical talent.

The basic links for the new were available and at hand. Greaves Cotton & Co, for instance, owned presses and gins, and, were importing equipment for the cotton mills, some of which they owned, others under their control, and yet more set up by others (by 1895, eight per cent of the agencies were European and controlling 20 per cent of the factories, an index of concentration and yet an index of Indian owners). J. R. Greaves, the son of the founder who worked with Platt Bros in England, built and maintained close connections with them even after returning to India and joining his father's firm. Kilburn & Co. had been importing mine equipment, engines and pumps, electric motors and insulators, and items 'to meet the needs of railways and shipping.

A Martin in 1874 had arrived in India to open the Calcutta branch of Walsh, Lovett & Co, a British firm. By 1892, T. A. Martin was in a position to embark on his own Martin & Co. Rajendra Nath Mookerjee while a partner in a small Indian firm, had shown versatility in obtaining an upcountry engineering contract. Martin & Co, engaged him, and he finally became a partner, and was knighted. Martin & Co. owned the Bengal Iron & Steel Co, built docks, mines, railways, cement factories, power plants and soon. Sir R. N. Mookerjee 'held high office in connection with the Imperial Bank of India', and he was a member of the Royal Industrial Commission of 1916-18.

Then there was Andrew Yule & Co under the supervision of Morgan GrenfeIl, a financial house of England. Sir David Yule had come to India to join the family concur- of Andrew Yule & Co, and on his death in 1928 it was recalled that 'he leaves behind him a long list of solidly established companies'; in the business world India could not contain him'; "he became a power in London and in international enterprises, but India remained his special field"; 'the more his capital increased the- more ready he was to invest it in India which he-regarded as his home'; all his business life was associated with Indians and it is not too much say that his closest friends in Calcutta were Indians. A web of connections financial, and engineering in Britain and in India, and Indians that mattered.

Drawing on the experience of World War- I the need for a heavy industries infrastructure was already well and elaborately described in the report of the Royal Industrial Commission of 1916-18, 'one of the all-India Commissions of the twentieth century that have left their mark on the country. There was a clear description of what should be stateowned, arid 'what of the heavier industries should be private-the private here was British; provincial level industries generally agro-based were Indian. Ratan J Tata, R. N. Mookerjee, and Madan Mohan Malaviya were members of this Commission. This was one option-the Calcutta jute mill one. Heavy industries under the Bombay Cotton Mill option had its uncertainties.

Heavy industries were to be repair and maintenance industries stabilizing the economy especially when supplies from principals were jeopardized-due to accidents on the high seas. Heavy industries have been given a mystique, a mysterious aura, they are not synonymous with engines of growth, a self-reliant function which is feasible only in a particular context. With no physical surpluses to plough back they would be no more than glorified repair and maintenance industries-and no surplus would be forthcoming if the rate of utilization of these physical resources by the capital-intensive consumer goods industries were exhaustive. With large-scale consumer industries in the lead the reduction of heavy industries to repair and maintenance functions merely became a certainty, even with the Bombay Cotton Mill option.

With care and judicious husbanding, either option was acceptable to the new means suiting the capital goods industries in England. The engine of growth would continue to be investments comprising imported capital goods, regardless of the 'Rs' and foreign exchange mix; recurring import of spares, components, intermediates and replenishables being the umbilical-cord of sustenance. The logic of the new means to the old goals had completeness, persuasiveness for implementation.

S & T services were to grow the technical schools and the diploma schools, indeed the Royal Industrial Commission had stressed the need for the creation of a Chemical Services under the aegis of the government. There would be analytical laboratories, testing laboratories, research on indigenously available raw materialsagricultural, forest-based, or mineral-to promote the development of the resources of India; there would be adoptive research to suit and acclimatize industrial processes to Indian conditions. Indeed in 1902 itself, under the Vice royalty of Lord Curzon; the Board of Scientific Advice was established with a view to coordinating the scientific work which was carried out by official agencies'. There was a whole array of S & T functions to be performed-services and R&D but, nothing was to be done to sever the bonds giving operational content to Integral part of the Empire.

Science and Technology Service

Bench scale R & D was permissible, detail design engineering was permissible, project engineering and management was permissible, but-not equipment and machine design engineering to generate the know-how to delink, at one's will, the need to import components, spares, and of machines and equipment; there was to be no RDD, the design and development portion of it. The risks of these being undertaken were meagre, the creation of technology through RDD and the pursuit of absorptive RDD required an institutionalized and organized expression of S & T for these functions. Disorganized, dis-functional, individualistic attempts were of no consequence of any avail and these were endeavours which required sustained effort, support, and reasonable learning-cum-developmental time. In the short-run the pressure of stoppage of sustaining imports and immediate bankruptcy was an effective corrective to an errant endeavour. The era of Mohsin Hussain was over.

1888, the Government of India expressed its policy on technical education: And thus technical education of the special, as contradistinguished from the preparatory kind, is an auxiliary of manufacture and industrial capital. But the extension of railways, the introduction of mills and factories, the exploration of mineral and other products, the expansion of external trade, and the enlarged intercourse with foreign markets, ought in time' to lead to, the same results in India as in other countries, and create a demand for skilled labour and for educated foremen, supervisors and managers...... it would be premature to establish technical schools on such a scale as in European countries, and thereby aggravate the present difficulties by adding to the educated unemployed a new class of professional men for whom there is no commercial demand."

'Auxiliary', 'extension', 'introduction', 'expansion of external trade' key terms of a policy of import to export, export to import accompanied with a false analogy with 'other countries' of Europe. 'No commercial demand' a phrase which hid more than it revealed. And, there had also arrived another being on the scene the educated unemployed and a new class of professional men, persons who had just the means to buy an education, but not an independent source of income as from landed estates and mercantile and banking operations, The Government of India in 190102, were to state: "It is the declared objective of the Government to encourage the investment of English capital in industrial enterprises in India....."

Despite this, Montagu and Chelmsford were not making an idle claim when they wrote: "It is only now, when the war has revealed the importance of industry, that we have deliberately set about encouraging Indians to undertake' the creation of wealth by industrial enterprise." The Bombay cotton mill had to stake its claims, as it did. In conclusion one cannot help noting the wars and their relation to the induction of industry in India from Britain.

Social force of indigenous S & T Mahendra LaI Sircar's venture


Mahendra Lal Sircar, born 2nd November 1833 at Paikpara, Howrah; died 23rd February 1904; education: Hare School, Hindu College, Medical College, Calcutta-passed 1860, M.D. Degree 1863; Fellow of Calcutta University 1873, founder and life secretary of Indian Association of Cultivation of Science (IACS) 1876, Sherrif of Calcutta 1887, member Bengal Legislative Council 1887-93. This is all that the centenary volume of IACS tells us of this Mahendra Lal Sircar as a man.

One knows so little of Mahendra Lal Sircar the man, the four-dimensional man and more, who lived, endeavoured, and passed away. He chooses his entry well and also his exit-it was the beginning of an age and the start of its dialectic in 1905. He chooses 1869 of the watershed years to enunciate a vision of indigenous S & T that was to consume him. Mahendra Lal Sircar was the indigenous S & T of his time, its contradictions, its heart-break, its hero.

At the age of 9, perhaps in school, he may have been witness to the mourning for David Hare the unlettered watch maker. At that age, the conclusion of the Opium war (1839-42) and the opening of the China market, the fortunes to be made irrespective of caste, colour or creed must have been distant events. At the age of 24, Sircar cannot but have read of AngloPersian wars (1856-57) of the second Chinese War (1856-58); could he have escaped the conflagration sweeping India. The peasant sepoys rising up in a revolt that was a reflex, peasant sepoys still steeped in the culture of feudalism, seeking in the already defeated feudal lords a leadership which was not there a sepoy rebellion which was a peasant mass rising.

Mahendra Lal Sircar cannot but have seen the impact of the German War (1859-56) on Calcutta as jute mills sprouted with their stacks billowing smoke. In a pace of years seen the steamships and the hammer on the railway line; witnessed the completion of the 24-mile electric telegraph line between Calcutta and Diamond Harbour in 1857 and observed their web rapidly spreading. He way have heard of Shib Chandra Nandy, perhaps they may have been friends; a Shib Chandra Nandy who was assisting W. B. OShaughnessy, Professor of Chemistry at the Calcutta Medical College, an Irishman responsible for the erection of this first telegraph. Sircar may have met OShaughnessy, and known of the Irishman's experiments on electric-telegraph communication while at the Medical College.

What one knows is that O'Shaughnessy and his colleagues did not create a community committed to the scientific method and its pursuit and application. What OShaughnessy did create was a technical service he became the first Director of Telegraphs in India with a Shib Chandra Nandy merely supervising the erection of telegraph lines. Yet one must be grateful to OShaughnessy and his colleagues, they were merely to teach and they did more; they came as exiles from a culture of science and practised this, culture in an individual way.

They demonstrated the culture of science on an alien soil, they did not, and perhaps could not transplant it, could not make it take root: for how many of those coming out of the Raja's Hindu College, of those dilettantes, aspired for the culture and method of science. They aspired only for lucrative employment in the Company's services chafing at the denial of these prospects. It was only the off-beats, the mavericks that, perhaps unknown to the OShaughnessy were to be moved by these demonstrations of the-culture of science and its method in India-one such was certainly Mahendra Lal Sircar.

Mahendra Lal Sircar could not have escaped these vast movements affecting India-these movements providing the context of science and technology creation and being created by it itself. That Sircar had studied the charters of the Royal Institute and the British Association for the Advancement of Science is beyond doubt. He made his public debut in 1869 through the 'Calcutta Journal of Medicine'; he wrote: .....We want an institution which will combine the character, the scope and objects of the Royal Institution of London and of the British Association for the Advancement of Science. We want an Institution which shall be for the instruction of the masses, where lectures on scientific subjects will be systematically delivered and not only illustrative experiments performed by the lecturers, but the audience should be invited and taught to perform them themselves. And we wish that the Institution be entirely under native management and control....

After six years he said: l have been doing what it was in my powers to do,-acting the part of the husbandman. I borrowed a seed from the West, the part of which I may say, was borrowed long ago from the East that is India. Having got the seed I set myself to preparing the soil by ploughing it with the poor instrument of rough persuasion in my possession. The soil was good, and not great effort was needed on my part to prepare it.....

In 1870, he published the prospectus of the association and there was a spurt of subscriptions and then it languished for five years. The initial glamour and sensation was over, sufficient funds were not forthcoming for the association to be a viable body, and the subscribers were not clear. To what end, presumably they may well have-asked, should one have instruction for the masses; of what purpose lectures on scientific subjects, experiments and then took to learn how to do them, why? The 'Rajas' the 'Babus' and Honbles' who had subscribed to this novelty were clearer of their Hindu college, of their Presidency College, of their Medical College the purpose was clear cut, one because a lawyer, one joined the medical service, one looked for access to the surveys even as computers, or aspired to join the telegraph service as supervisor, these were concrete achievable end but experiment

Tardy Progress

The lieutenant governor of Bengal Sir Richard Temple was keen to encourage science teaching in the educational institutions Sir Richard had spoken favourably of Dr. Sircar's venture this deserved attention and so a body of 40 subscribers met under the chairmanship of an Honble this was the first meeting of the subscribers on 4th April 1875, five years the subscriptions had stagnated governor wanted a plan to be drawn up he would preside-who is this Dr. Sircar-and by the second meeting nearly 8 months later, the promised subscription was Rs.80000. At the third meeting, on 15th January, 1876 the lieutenant Governor presided with 60 persons

This was the milieu from which Dr Sircar sought sustenance; amongst which he had tried his powers of persuasion for five arid years. He had to make a case for experiments and on 4th April 1875 gave a fresh exposition of his scheme: "Gentlemen one characteristic of my scheme is that we should endeavour to carry on the work with our own efforts, unaided by Government, or perhaps more properly speaking, without seeking its aid. Now this does not mean that we will not accept any aid from that quarter if it comes to us unasked, and unhampered with conditions and restrictions, excepting the all important condition of the continuance of the Association. Let me not be misunderstood. I want freedom for the institution. I want it entirely under own management and control. I want it to be solely native and purely national.

"Sir David Brewster and Count Runford found men already in the field, ready to work in a fresh direction, and it was only to facilitate their communications with each other so as to give a greater impetus to original investigations, and to spread knowledge of science so far as advanced to the masses, that they founded their respective institutions. Mine cannot in the present at least make any approach to this ambitious character, though I am confident that if it succeeds I do not see any reason why it will not, necessarily grow into the combined magnitude and importance of both." In 1876 and clearly in 1878 he set the objective of the Association to be: To cultivate science in all its departments, both with a view to its advancement by original research, and to its varied applications to the arts and comforts of life

Greatly encouraged by the interest shown by Sir Richard temple, Mahendra Lal noted in 1875 that full time pursuers of science were supported in, Europe and in America by the State, in our country such appointments do no exit and it is chiefly with a view to supplying the deficiency and the desideratum that I have been striving to found this Association Seven disciplines were to be pursued, each with a full time worker a graduate selected from colleges in Calcutta especially the Calcutta Medical college with books and instrument guided by the men who had made the respective disciplines their specialty for all this a total fixed investment of Rs 19.2 lakhs was needed and only a sum of Rs. 80 thousand was at hand founds were tardy in forthcoming and the Association could not make much head way.

The Rajas and Their League


And Mahendra lal Sircar, very conscious and committed to the realization of full- time researchers for original research and its applications, sought to lure the millionaires by taking advantage of Lord Ripons Endowment Professorship in 1884, By the end of 1884, the subscription was precisely Rs. 17,050 and stagnant. Lord Rippon- 1000, Maharaja of darbhanga-10000, The first Prince of Indore- 1000, Kumar Baikunt Nath Dey and father-1000, Nizam of hyderabad-3000, Nawab salarjung-1000, Rakhal Das Halder-50 In 1898-99, and again in 1901, Mahendra Lal attempted a Hare Professorship and a Victoria Professorship, but to no avail. The Rajas had their laugh at the Indian League, they were not interested in science even for mental pleasure even pleasure has its upper cost bounds.

Seven disciplines, in 1875, were proposed to be pursued: general physics, chemistry, physiology, systematic botany, systematic zoology, astronomy and geology-the first two because they were the backbone of science, the next three because of evident importance, and geology for no other reason than that calling up the past history of the globe revolutionized the idea of time. The patronage was not adequate and so only the first three were given priority for no reason than that these are the only branches of sciences which have received permanent professorship at Royal Institution of London. A lakh and half rupees to secure a full professorship, twenty lakhs to realize the full dream of 1875?

Cost Breakup
Seven disciplines: One full timer for each @ Rs 400 pm Head worker for each @ Rs 170 pm Recurring cost @ Rs 70 pm Total per month Rs 640

Annual 640 X 7 X 12 = Rs. 54000 Fixed investment of Rs 18 lakhs @ 3% Equipment cost Rs 10000 per discipline Total = Rs 70000 Building, Land etc.= Rs 50000 Thus total fixed cost = Rs 1,20,000 Total Investment required = Rs 19.2 lakhs

For only three disciplines: Recurring cost 640 X 3 X 12= Rs 23040 Equipment cost = Rs 30000 Land and building cost = Rs 50000 Total Investment required = Rs 7.6 lakhs Without full time specialist: Recurring cost reduced to Rs 8400 Total investment required Rs 2.8 lakhs

Even this much did not come forward

The subjects proposed were more philosophical and educational than scientific in the scheme of Tata's. Was the manufactory of original research and its application to be displaced by industry for research and its application grafted from abroad 'virgin' born? Were original research and its applications the objects of the Rs. 100 Iakh scheme; were the industries of Tata to rest on this foundation of research? No, would not be a surprising answer. Or, was research a beautiful word, and the real end was to turn out cheaper engineering manpower. Indian, to only operate and maintain the industries and its processes inducted from abroad? One may answer this in the affirmative.

Of this period one hears of an Acharya Prafulla Chandra Ray, of Acharya Jagdish Chandra Bose and his instruments for botany fabricated by artisans to original design, of a Paise Fund Glass Factory, promoted by Bal Gangadhar Tilak on basis of artisan skill stories that need to be unearthed and told, stories of innumerable others who proceeded to create this new social force. A new social force creating and created by its indigenous scientific and technological endeavour, to hurl a defiance to and challenge the constituted 19th century economic order and its mode of industrialization emergent from its womb.