Thursday, July 4, 2013

লুঠ শাসনের সম্পদ১ - ভূমিকা১, Loot of British Raj1 - Introduction1

The Battle of Plassey put an end once and for all to the need for Britain to send precious silver to India (from the sale of slaves in the West Indies). The EIC could now get their hands on India's wealth without having to send wealth in return. The first step was the dewani. the right to collect the revenue on Bengal, Bihar and Orissa. Before the British came, there was no private property; the self-governing village community handed over each year to the ruler or his nominee, the 'king's share' of the year's produce. The EIC stopped this practice and introduced a new system in which the State was the supreme landlord. The cultivator had to pay a fixed sum to the government every year whether or not his crop had been successful. In the years of bad harvest, the cultivators were forced to borrow from moneylenders to pay their taxes and British authorities did not hesitate to charge 200% interest or more.
Furthermore, Indian and other merchants (French, Danish) were prevented from trading in grain, salt, betel nuts and tobacco, In 1769, the Company prohibited the homework of silk weavers and compelled them to work in its factories. Weavers who disobeyed were seized, jailed, fined or flogged.
India was not only agricultural but also had an established industrial base. It had a prosperous textile industry whose cotton, silk and woollen products were marketed to Europe and elsewhere in Asia.
It had remarkable skills in iron-working. Calcutta, Daman, Surat, Bombay and Pegu were important shipbuilding centres and in 1802 skilled Indian workers were building British warships at the Bombay Shipyard of Bomanjee & Maneckjee. It was acknowledged that the teakwood vessels of Bombay were greatly superior to the oaken walls of Old England. Benares was famous for its brass, copper and bell-metal wares. Other industries included the enamelled jewellery and stone-carving of Rajputana towns, as well as filigree work in gold and silver, ivory, glass, tannery, perfumery and paper-making.
The British destroyed the Indian textile industry and throttled tha shipbuilding, metalwork, glass and paper industries. An order by Sit Charles Wood, Secretary of State for India (1859-66) obliged the British government in India to use only British-made paper. As the industrial revolution took off in Britain, heavy duties were levied on Indian textiles while British goods secured virtual free entry into India.
Systematic plunder led to the 1769-70 famine in which 10 million people died. A commons Select Committee reported in 1783 that "the Natives of all ranks and orders had been reduced to a state of depression and misery." (Peter Fryer, Black People in the British Empire, (Pluto 1993, 2nd edition, p18-20)
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