Colonial Impact on the Economy of Eastern India(1757-1787)

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Topics: Bihar
Colonial impact on the economy of Eastern India(1757-1857)

Anuradha Jaiswal,

Associate Professor,

During the colonial era, the government’s economic policies in India were concerned more with protecting and promoting British interests than with advancing the welfare of the Indian population. Identifying and characterizing the agrarian changes that occurred over the vast area of eastern India, during a period of about hundred years is difficult task, nevertheless the first vital contact between British rule and rural society occurred mainly through the drive of the Company for maximizing the traditional share of the state in the produce of the company in the form of land revenue. Trade and commerce affected the rural society in various ways, and it is notable that the measures towards increasing land revenue were necessitated primarily by the needs of trade and commerce. A large revenue was essentially a larger mercantile capital. The first reaction of the Court of Directors to the jubilant news from Calcutta in 1765, about the acquisition of the Diwani, which gave the Company for the first time an exclusive control over the land revenue of Bengal, Bihar and parts of Orissa was to ask the Company in Bengal, to enlarge every channel for conveying to them as early as possible the annual produce of their acquisitions and to increase the investment of the Company to the utmost extent. Parts of the resources were later diverted to the fulfillment of other needs of the Company’s two other Presidencies, Bombay and Madras, and those of the Company’s treasury at Canton. Such diverse needs which were more pressing than those of the old Mughal state, led the Company to demand a much larger revenue. The demand between 1765-66 and 1793 nearly doubled.

The Permanent Settlement of 1793 made the zamindars proprietors of the soil. It did not mean a complete freezing of the land revenue and the Company could secure an increase in



References: 1.Berstein,P.H.T, Steamboats on the Ganges(New Delhi,1960). 2.Bhattacharya,D and B. Report on the Population of India 1820-1830(Delhi.1963). 3.Bhattacharya, S, The East India Company and the Economy of Bengal(1784-1840). 4.Ghoshal, H.R. Economic Transition in the Bengal Presidency 1793-1839(Patna, 1950). 5.Marshall,P.J. East India Fortunates: The British in Bengal in the Eighteenth Century(Oxford, 1976). 6.Martin, R.M. The History, Antiquites, Topography and Statistics of Eastern India,3 vola,(London, 1838). 7.Rennell, J. Memoirs of Map of Hindustan( London, 1793). 8.Sinha, N.K. The Economic History of Bengal, vol1.(Calcutta, 1956), vol ii.(Calcutta, 1970). 9.Mukherjee, R.K.The Economic History of India 1600-1800(Allahabad, 1967). 10.S.Bhattacharya, The Cambridge Economic History of India, vol II c.1757-2003.

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