GOVERNMENT, SOCIETY & BUSINESS
A Paper on
“India’s Glorious Past”
Dhanya Ann Roy
ECONOMIC HISTORY OF INDIA
The known Indian Economy starts with the Indus Valley Civilization also known as the “Harappan Civilization”. It is estimated by experts that the society existed between 3300 and 1700 BC. The people of Indus Valley rather made deals instead of war and began with the domestication of animals and developed multi-dimensional economy involving, rich and extensive agriculture and internal and external trade. They also developed foreign trade through which they brought silver from Afghanistan or Iran; lapis-lazuli from Badakhshan; turquoise from Iran; and jade from Central Asia. Around 600 BC, history marks the second urbanization during the time of the Mahajanapadas which were large territorial states. It shows the beginning of the NBPQ phase which stands for Northern Black Polished Ware. All the important cities of the period were situated on the river banks allowing trade routes to connect with each other. Trade was facilitated by the use of money – punch-marked silver coins with certain marks such as hill, tree, elephant, hull etc. Similarly, by 300 BC, the reign of the Mauryan Empire over a large area of the Indian subcontinent proved all round economic development. The government encouraged commercial and industrial activity and stimulated its expansion. Agriculture was the mainstay. Megasthenes testifies to the existence of road systems and to the operation of waterways under government supervision. Trade by barter and against the currency was in practice and was taxed all along its way. There was progress in crafts and industrials arts. India saw the opening of the Silk Route (1st century BC). The Silk Route was a complex network of trade routes with the Mediterranean World and Central Asia that gave people the chance to exchange goods and culture. In the next 1500 years, India produces its classical civilizations such as the Rashtrakutas, the Hoysalas and the Western Gangas. The economy of the classical civilization was funded through natural and agricultural produce, manufacturing revenues and money gained from conquests. The Rashtrakutas who controlled a large part of the western seaboard had the advantage of trading with west Asia, particularly the Arabs. Similarly, the Hoysalas imported horses and exported rich forest produce. The domestic product of India in the 16th century i.e. during the Mughal period was estimated at about 25.1% of the world economy. It is estimated that the annual revenue of Emperor Akbar’s treasury in 1600 totalled to be more than the entire treasury of Great Britain in 1800. According to economic historian, Angus Madisson, in his book The World Economy: A Millennial Perspective, India was the richest country in the world. In his book Contours of the world economy, 1-2030 AD: essays in macro-economic history, India had the world's largest economy from the 1st to the 11th century, and in the 18th century, with a 32.9% share of world GDP in the first century to 28.9% in 1000 AD, and in 1700 AD with 24.4%.
AGRICULTURAL HISTORY OF INDIA
Revolution in agricultural process occurred about 5000 years ago. The Indus Valley Civilization marked the invention of the plough and the wheel driven cart. As a result, revolutionary change came in the process of agriculture. People of this age grew wheat, barley, pulses and other food-grains, constructed godowns, expanded the process of irrigation and made cotton based clothes. Indus-Valley is considered to be the home of cotton plant. During Vedic and post Vedic period (upto 320 BC), ploughing fields with the help of iron plough-share and horses was prevalent. Vedic Aryans invented lunar-solar day calendar and provided scientific base for agriculture. They discovered that seasonal changes are due to the motion of Earth around Sun and established its firm relation with cultivation. In the...
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