British Indian Imperialism

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The rule of the British Empire in the Indian subcontinent between 1858 and 1947 greatly affected the net economic status of India. Trade was the sole reason for the British East India company arrival in India, for the Industrial Revolution in Britain led to the increase in demand for raw materials in factories and India served as an efficient platform. However, as their influence started expanding, they created new policies and began to colonize India not only economically, but also socially and politically. Historians continue to debate whether the long-term impact of British rule in India was accelerating the economy or declining it. That being said, my paper is going to be assessing the positive and negative impacts on the Indian economy…show more content…
The excessive external economic drain by the British from India was mainly caused by high tax burdens on peasants, the process of the East India Company buying materials at a low price while selling processed goods at a steep price, interest charges on public debt held in Britain, and annuities on railway/irrigation works. This “economic drain theory” was first acknowledged by Dadabhai Naoroji (1825-1917) who was the first Indian to sit in the British parliament to speak on behalf of Indian interests. The constant flow of wealth from India to England for which India did not get an adequate economic, commercial or material return has been described as ‘drain’ of wealth from India. The colonial government was utilizing Indian resources - revenues, agriculture, and industry; not for developing India but purely for its utilization in Britain. If these resources been utilized within India then they could have been invested and the income of the people would have increased. Another major shift that took place in India was the transition from the growth of food grains to the cultivation of cash crops. Britain encouraged Indian farmers to grow cash crops for their own needs and profit, so the food grain production went down, eventually causing the famine of Bengal in 1700’s which killed approximately 10 million people. The policy of commercialization of agriculture by the British encouraged market oriented produc­tion of cash crops such as opium, tea, coffee, sugar, jute and indigo. Indian peasants were forced to grow these cash crops that spoiled the fertility of the land and no other crop could be grown on
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