History Optional Paper-2 Solution – 2010: Q.4 (a)
Q.4 (a) To what extent did the process of commercialization of agriculture affect the rural scene in India?
Extent upto which the process of Commercialisation of agriculture affected the rural India
(1) Increase in inequality
Commeralisation should have acted as a catalyst in increasing agricultural productivity. But, in reality this did not happen due to poor agricultural organization, obsolete technology, and lack of resources among most peasants. It was only the rich farmers; who benefited and this in turn, accentuated inequalities of income in the rural society.
(2) Benefits to traders and moneylenders
The commercialization benefited Indian traders and money lenders who made huge fortunes by working as middlemen for the British.
(3) Increased dependency on moneylenders
The poor peasant was forced to sell his produce just after harvest at whatever prices he could get as he had to meet in time the demands of the government, the landlord, the money lender and his family members’ requirements. This placed him at the mercy of the grain merchant, ( who was very often also the village money lender) who was in a position to dictate terms and who purchased his produced at much less than the market price.
Indian money lenders advanced Cash advances to the farmers to cultivate the commercial crops and if the peasants failed to pay him back in time, the land of peasants came under ownership of moneylenders.
(4) Decline in food crop production
Commercialization resulted in reduced area under cultivation of food crops due to the substitution of commercial cash crops in place of food grains. This had a devastating effect on the rural economy and often took the shape of famines.
(5) Regional specialization of crop
Regional specialization of crop production based on climatic conditions, soil etc., was an outcome of the commercial revolution in agriculture. Deccan districts of Bombay presidency grew cotton, Bengal grew jute and Indigo, Bihar grew opium, Assam grew tea, Punjab grew wheat, etc.
(6) Linking agriculture sector to the world market
Price movements in the world markets began to affect the fortunes of the Indian farmer. The farmer in his choice of crops attached greater importance to market demand and price than his home needs. The peasant class got adversely affected owing to imbalances in market condition. They had to face competition prevailing in the market and in the competition, the ordinary peasants were adversely affected.
(7) Adverse effect on self sufficiency
Commercialization of agriculture adversely affected self sufficiency of village economy and acted as major factor in bringing the declining state in rural economy.
(8) Effect on traditional agriculture-industry relation
Commercialisation effected traditional relations between agriculture and industry. In India, traditional relations acted as factors for each other’s development which were hampered.
(9) Peasant Revolts
The worst effect of commercialization was the oppression of Indian peasants at hands of European. This found expression in the peasant revolts such as Indigo revolt in 1859.
Positive impact on rural India
(1) In spite of having many negative effect commercializations in one sense was progressive event. Commercialisation encouraged social exchange and it made possible the transformation of Indian economy into capitalistic form.
(2) Commercialisation linked India with world economy. It led to the growth of high level social and economic system.
(3) The important contribution of commercialisation reflected in integration of economy. It also created a base for growth of national economy. Commercialisation led to growth of national agriculture and agricultural problem acquired national form.
(4) It brought about regional specialization of crops on an efficient basis.