Structural Change

Structural Change

Question

Discuss impact of British industrialisation on India.

Answer

Impact of British industrialisation on India: (i) In India the impact of the very same British industrialisation led to deindustrialisation in some sectors. And decline of old urban centres. Just as manufacturing boomed in Britain, traditional exports of cotton and silk manufacturing from India declined in the face of Manchester competition.

(ii) This period also saw the further decline of cities such as Surat and Masulipatnam while Bombay and Madras grew.

(iii) When the British took over Indian states, towns like Thanjavur, Dhaka, and Murshidabad lost their courts and therefore, some of their artisians and court gentry. From the end of the 19th century, with the installation of mechanised factory industries, some towns became much more heavily populated.

(iv) Urban luxury manufactures like the high quality silks and cottons of Dacca or Murshidabad must have been hit first by the almost simultaneous collapse of indigenous court demand and the external market on which these had largely depended.

(v) Village crafts in the interior, and particularly, in regions other than eastern India where British penetration was earliest and deepest, probably survived much longer, coming to be seriously affected only with the spread of railways. Unlike Britain where the impact of industrialisation led to more people moving into urban areas.

(vi) In India the initial impact of the same British industrialisation led to more people moving into agriculture. The Census of India Report shows this clearly.

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