Company’s Regime

The impoverishment of agriculture and the destruction a supplier of raw-materials of self-sufficing rural economy constituted-

  • The drain of wealth from India to Britain, either through impact of the Company’s regime. Just five years after the Company or through its employees was another the grant of Diwani, the Company’s revenue had tripled: impact of the Company’s rule in India. Without the in 1773, receiving 2.3 crore and turning the people. Indian capital, either through the Company’s trade into paper.
  • The Company’s thrust for more and more profits from the Indian goods or through revenue money was unquenched, for it wanted more capital collections (the Diwani right : revenue collection in 1762-to pay for its purchases of Indian handicraft and other 63, ` 64.5 lakhs, which rose to 1.47 crore in 1765-66) or goods for export,
  • to meet the cost of the conquest through the Company’s employees’ indulgence in private of the whole of India and the consolidation of the British rule,
  • to pay for the employment of thousands of her employees in India’s administration.
  • The Company began devising means and methods to secure as much capital from India as possible. Taxing the Indians, especially the farmers was one lucrative source of revenue.
  • The Company introduced newer methods of extracting land revenue from the Indian peasants, introducing Zamidari system (Cornwallis) in 1793 through the Permanent Settlement in the provinces of Bengal, Bihar, Orissa and Varanasi; the Ryotwari system (Munro) in 1820 in Madras, Bombay, parts of Assam and Coorgh, and the Mahalwari system introduced by Hastings in 1822 and, modified and improved in 1833 by Lord Bentinck, in the Central Provinces, Agra, Punjab, Gangetic valley.

Under the Zamindari system the landlord, i.e., the Zamindars used to collect the land revenue (which amount was fled) and gave revenue to the Company worth of 10/11th of the produce while kept with himself revenue worth 1/11th. Under the ryotwari system, the peasants were to pay the land revenue directly to the Company’s government. Under the Mahalwari system, the revenue settlement was to be made village by village with the help of the heads of the families. The Zamindari system was heavily favourable to the Company which got 45% and the Zamindar about 15% while only 40% was le for the cultivator. In the case of ryotwari system, the land revenue was somewhere between 46 and 50 percent, to be revised upwards every 20 to 30 years. In the case of the Mahalwari system, the land revenue share of the Company was as high as 83 percent of the produce but was later revised downwards, to 66 percent.

The Company created a new form of property in land, i.e., the land came to be sold, mortgaged and alienated replacing, thus, the self-sufficient nature of the rural economy. The Company commercialized agriculture (the land became a commodity, now) and created new social classes of Zamindars, absentee Zamindars, the money-lenders, the rich peasants, the poor peasants, and the landless labourers. It blew up the rural self-sufficiency and made the rural people jobless (destroying the rural domestic industry in the process), leading ultimately to the poverty, impoverishment, backwardness of the Indian peasantry—with famines and droughts looming large on the farmer’s head, and hunger and starvation facing him every day: famines and scarcities were both numerous and widespread.

The chief aim of traders, as the English East India Company’s people were, their chief aim was to make as much profit as they could from India and her resources by all means possible, fair or foul. The Company had the civil servants trained in a feeder college— Hallebury and intellectuals such as Edward Strachey, Thomas Love Peacock and both James and John Stuart Mill—all supported by militarily and administratively experienced governors and governors—general. The Company was to exploit India in every possible manner and that was why the Indians were completely excluded from occupying any high position in the Company, both in civil and military service. In 1842, as one estimate states, there were 836 employees in all categories of service under the Company out of which 785 were employed in India, but there was not a single Indian among them. On the other hand, in 1857, for instance, the strength of the army of the Company in India was 311,400 of whom 265,900 were Indians all positioned at the lower level: only three Indians in the army received a salary of ` 300 per month. The highest Indian was a subedar. The police, known as the third pillar of the Company’s regime, was instituted to establish order and prevent conspiracies and was later used to suppress the national movement in India.

The introduction of the judicial organization by the Company hardly helped the Indians: justice, then, was to pass through a long and lingering process, which was not only costly but was time-consuming. As elsewhere, the Indians, in the judicial organization, were appointed at the lowest positions. In fact, the whole judicial system was English—oriented and did not, in any sense, had any conformity with the Indian system. The rule of law and equality before law, as introduced in India by the Company were, indeed, significant, but they benefitted the Europeans in general and the English in particular.

Similarly, the introduction of the western culture and English language, through efforts as late as 1833 and 1853, helped only teach the colonized interpretation of the Indian past or as Macaulay had articulated, to help grow a class of people “Indian in blood and colour, but English in tastes, in opinions, in morals and intellect.” The Company’s regime, in conclusion, had, by and large, the most damaging effects on India. The Company found the Indian society both caste-ridden and religion-ridden and made it caste-confictive and religiously divided. It found the composite culture thriving and booming, and made it as segregated as it could be. It found the Indian economy one of the richest ones in the world, and made it as poor as it could be.

It destroyed the native industry; it ruined the self shift village and made unemployment and deprivation as the lot of the Indians. It developed railways, roads, canals and bridges not to modernize India but to bring raw- materials so as to be sent to Britain, and help soldiers protect Company’s property. It introduced the English language to help missionaries introduce and promote Christianity in the name of ‘civilising’ the natives, though in the process, certain educational institutions began functioning in India. e Company found the Indian culturally traditional and made him anglicized. It found a destabilized India and made it a disintegrated one. It did not even spare the Taj Mahal, and used it as a place where one could drink in private and where its parks were found strewn with these of inebriated Company’s soldiers.

It may be however, stated that the Company’s regime was detrimental to the interests of both India and her people. In economic terms, India was transformed into a source of raw-materials for the British industries on the one hand, and a market for the British goods on the other. The English did help to contain social evils like sati, female infanticide, child marriage, polygamy and the like but did nothing to improve the deteriorating conditions of the common people. The reforms introduced by the Company were inadequate or half-hearted. e Indians began adopting the western culture, belittling their own ways of living; our economy was made a colonial economy; we were forced to make land a commodity and its products, for sale in the market: cash crops came to be harvested, replacing those, for use by the people; urban development was restricted to the Company’s administrative officers who were rigid in rules and inhuman in behaviour.

C.N. Parkinson summarized the Company’s regime in these words. “How was the East India Company controlled? By the Government. What was its objective? To collect taxes. How was its objective attained? By means of astanding army, what were its employees? Soldiers mostly; the rest Civil Servants. That is how a comme rcial organization ruled 9.9 crore Indians, controlling 70 million acres of land, issuing its own coins and supporting an army of 200,000 men, all of which the East India Company, did by 1800? “Adam Smith denounced the Company as a blood stained monopoly: burdensome, useless, and responsible for grotesque massacres in Bengal.” Karl Marx, describing the Company’s rule in India, says : “England (i.e. the Company’s regime) has broken down the entire framework of Indian society, without any symptoms of reconstitution yet appearing.”

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