The Economic History of India, 1857-2010 claims
that the roots of this paradox go back
to India's colonial past, when internal factors
like geography and external forces like
globalization and imperial rule created
prosperity in some areas and poverty in
Looking at the recent scholarship in this area,
this revised edition covers new subjects like
environment and princely slates. The author
sets out the key questions that a study of long-
run economic change in India should begin
with and shows how historians have answered
these questions and where the gaps remain.
Tirthankar Roy is professor of economic
history, London School of Economics and
Political Science, London, United Kingdom.
That need motivated, partly, this revision. Chapters 1 and 3 go
further than before to make the general argument that economic
change in colonial India was a composite of different experiences,
and the task for an economic history of India is to show, not why
India fell behind the world due to the actions of external and internal
factors but why the same factors could generate differences within
India. Chapter 13 shows how these lessons from history help us understand the present times better, when again economic growth
has caused divergence and inequality within India.
Beyond sharpening the focus of the study, the revision has covered new research and scholarship, new thinking on old topics, and
new questions asked recently. It has added a fresh chapter on the
princely states and an almost new chapter on the environment. The
years between the previous two editions of the book (2006-11)
were far more dormant by comparison with 2011-18, when many
studies on India appeared. The outburst is mainly due to a revival of
interest in India in the economics schools of the world, matched by
the response from journal editors and book publishers. The revision
incorporates these developments in an area that seems to be waking
up from a long sleep. The facility to cite many contemporary works
made the book much shorter than the previous edition.
The first process, the transition to colonialism, was underway for
almost exactly a century, 1757-1856. During this period, the British
East India Company annexed the Indian territories that came to constitute British India. After the Battle of Plessey or Palashi in 1757,
and especially after the grant by the Mughal emperor of the taxation rights of Bengal, Bihar, and Orissa to the Company in 1765, the
Company established a power-sharing arrangement with the nawab,
or the Mughal governor, of Bengal. The partnership was an unequal
one and soon tilted towards absolute control by the Company over
the administration of Bengal. In 1799, the Company defeated its
principal southern rival, Mysore, and in 1803-4 and 1817-18, over-
came its major adversary in the north and the west, the Marathas.
In 1856, after Awadh was annexed, the British territorial campaign
came to a stop.
At the end of the mutiny that took place in 1857, India became
a colony of the British Crown. About 60 per cent of the land area
in present India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh belonged then to British
India (Table 1.1 and Map 1.1). Outside British India, there were
more than 500 princely states in South Asia, nominally independent
but militarily dependent on the British. They had, by then, come to
terms with British hegemony, in a one-sided relationship the like of
which no previous imperial power in the region could claim to have
enjoyed. This relationship is sometimes called 'indirect rule, though
it was qualitatively a different arrangement from the indirect rule
that the European colonists developed later in Africa.
Book's Contents and Sample Pages
Your email address will not be published *
Send as free online greeting card
for saving your wish list, viewing past orders, receiving discounts, and lots more...
Email a Friend