[Topic wise IAS Modern Indian History Question Bank (1979-2015)]: (4) Economic Impact of British Colonial Rule

Economic Impact of British Colonial Rule: (a) Land revenue settlements in British India; The Permanent Settlement; Ryotwari Settlement; Mahalwari Settlement; Economic impact of the revenue arrangements; Commercialization of agriculture; Rise of landless agrarian labourers; Impoverishment of the rural society. (b) Dislocation of traditional trade and commerce; De-industrialisation; Decline of traditional crafts; Drain of wealth; Economic transformation of India; Railroad and communication network including tele-graph and postal services; Famine and poverty in the rural interior; European business enterprise and its limitations.
Land revenue settlements

1. “The poverty of the Indian people was the consequence of the Government’s land revenue and taxation policy.” Discuss this statement with reference to British rule in India in the 19th Century. [1980, 60m]

2. Trace the circumstances that led to the introduction of the Permanent Settlement in Bengal. Discuss its impact on landlords, peasants and the Government. [1981, 60m]

3. “The Permanent Settlement of land revenue in Bengal was a‚ bold, brave and wise measure.” Comment. [1983, 20m]

4. Explain the essential features of the ryotwari system of land revenue with special reference to Thomas Munro’s contribution to its evolution. [1984, 60m]

5. “The permanent system of Bengal though initiated with best of best of intentions, was a sadly blundering affairs.” [1993, 20m]

6.  “The Permanent settlement was a bold, brave and wise measures.” Comment. [1997, 20m]

7. Discuss the main features of the ‘Raiyatwari Settlement’ in South India. Did it satisfy the aspirations of the peasantry? [2001, 60m]

8. “Absentee landlordism was a consequential feature of Bengal’s Permanent land settlement.” Comment. [2003, 20m]

9. “Permanent Settlement disappointed many expectations and introduced there results that were not anticipated.” Comment. [2004, 20m]

10. Examine the major factors shaping the British land-revenue policy in India. How it affected Indian society? [2007, 60m]

11. What was the impact of early British land policy in the village communities of North India? [2003, 60m]

12. “Though the Permanent Settlement had serious defects, it gave tranquility to the countryside and stability to the government.” Comment. [2009, 20m]

13. What role did economic ideas play in the early phase of the British rule in the shaping of land tenure policy? [2010, 30m]

14. “Ryotwari falls into three stages – early, middle and late, and the only description common to all is that it is a mode of settlement with small farmers, so small, indeed, that their average holding is, on recent figures, only about 6 ½ acres,” Critically examine. [2013, 10m]

Commercialization of agriculture; Rise of landless agrarian labourers; Impoverishment of the rural society

1. In British India “the impact of the government on the people meant essentially the impact of government on the village.” [1984, 20m]

2. Show how British rule led to the spread of land-lordism in certain parts of India, and how the, peasant was progressively impoverished under this rule. [1985, 60m]

3. Bring out the pattern of commercialization of agriculture in the 19th century. Was it a forced process for the vast majority of poorer peasants? [1986, 60m]

4. “The impact of government on the people meant essentially the impact of government on the village.” Comment. [1988, 20m]

5. The changing life in Indian village marked best the impact of the British administration on the Indian people. Explain, identifying the process and the extent of the change. [1996, 60m]

6. The Indian Middle Class firmly believed that “Britain had imposed a colonial economy on India which had impoverished the country.” Comment. [1999, 20m]

7. “The impact of government on the people meant essentially the impact of government on the village.” Comment. [2005, 20m]

8. What do you mean by commercialization of Indian Agriculture? Discuss its result. [2006, 60m]

9. “So Long as the millions live in hunger and ignorance , I hold every man a traitor who having been educated at their expense, pay not the least need to them.” Comment. [2006, 20m]

10. “A self-sufficient village, based on agriculture carried on with the primitive plough and bullockpower, and handicraft by means of simple instruments, was a basic feature of pre-British Indian economy.” Comment. [2006, 20m]

11. To what extent did the process of commercialization of agriculture affect the rural scene in India? [2010, 30m]

12. “Plantations and mines, jutes, banking, insurance, shipping and export-import concerns in India were run through a system of interlocking managing agencies.” Critically examine. [2012, 10m]

Dislocation of traditional trade and commerce; Deindustrialisation; Decline of traditional crafts

1. Assess critically the economic impact of the British rule in India till the end of the nineteenth century. [1979, 60m]

2. Write a critical note on: “Consequences of the ruin of handicraft industries under the rule of the East India Company.” [1981, 20m]

3. Give a brief account of the industrial and agricultural policy of the Government of India between 1858 and 1914. How far is it correct to say that it was more in the interest of British capital than the Indian people? [1981, 60m]

4. Trace the gradual decline of the Indian town handicrafts between 1757 and 1880. In what way did it contribute to the economic unification of India? [1987, 60m]

5. “The hey-day of the British power in India was also the high noon of laissez faire’ economic doctrine.” Comment. [1990, 20m]

6. “The role of the East India Company proved disastrous to the handicraft industry in India for a number of reasons.” Comment. [1991, 20m]

7. “The British Raj had a deeply racist aspect and it ultimately existed to protect colonial exploitation.” Comment. [1994, 20m]

8. Discuss the view that the British rule brought about economic changes in India to serve the needs of the imperial economy and establish a dependent form of underdevelopment in this country. [2000, 60m]

9. “The British industrial policy in the nineteenth century ruined the Indian handicrafts.” Comment. [2001, 20m]

10. “Instead of serving as the catalyst of an industrial revolution as in Western Europe and the USA, acted in India as ‘the catalyst of complete colonization.” Examine. [2012, 10m]

11. “Weaving”, says R.C. Dutt, “was the national industry of the people and spinning was the pursuit of millions of women.” Indian textiles went to England and other parts of Europe, to china and Japan and Burma and Arabia and Persia and parts of Africa. Elucidate. [2013, 25m]

12. “Under the forceful thrust of British colonialism, Indian economy was transformed into a colonial one, the structure of which was determined by the requirements of Britain’s fast developing industrial economy.” Examine. [2015, 20m]

Drain of wealth

1. Trace the course and explain the consequences of the drain of wealth from Bengal in the eighteenth century. [1982, 60m]

2. “Our system acts very much like a sponge, drawing up all the good things from the banks of the Ganges, and squeezing them down on the banks of the Thames.” Comment. [1985, 20m]

3. Write a critique on the impact of the Drain Theory of Dadabhai Nauroji in the growth of economic nationalism. [2008, 60m]

4. “The need for a unilateral transfer of funds to Britain was constant factor and, in fact, progressively increased over time.” Critically evaluate. [2011, 20m]

Economic transformation of India

1.Trace the industrial growth of British India after the First World War. How did the Government’s tariff policy influence the growth? [1983, 60m]

2. Identify the main features of industrial development in India from 1914 to 1947 with special reference to the emergence of a class of factory laborers. [1989, 60m]

3. Identify the distinct stages of colonialism in India. How did these stages affect the Indian economy? [1991, 60m]

4. How do you account of the rise and growth of the Business enterprise in India during the first half of the 20th century? [1994, 60m]

5. Economic changes in India from the late 1920s influenced the course of the country’s politics. Elucidate. [1995, 60m]
6. “Railway development in India provides an interesting instance of private enterprise at public risk.” Comment. [2010, 20m]

Famine and poverty in the rural interior

1. “The recurring famines in the 19th century were the inevitable consequence of the British policy and expose the real character of the paternal solicitude for the peasantry on the part of the British administration.” Examine this statement critically. [2002, 60m]

2. “India underwent suffering and mortality in the wake of recurring famines’ in the later half of the 19th century.” Comment. [2003, 20m]

3. Trace the development of the famine policy of the British in India 1876 and 1921. Did it provide relief to the people? [2005, 60m]

4. Critically examine the impact of the famine policy on rural India. Describe the official remedial measures undertaken. [2008, 60m]

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