Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Looter and the looted - intolerence - British atrocities prior to Indian Sepoy Revolt 0f 1857 - 02

The British Duke and the poor Indian Duck. British

British India: Richard
The British East India company had already firmly established in the most fertile part of India -Bengal and adjacent states. Now, they were preparing to use Bengal as a spring board to resume their ruthless  onslaught in other parts of India,

After the departure of Robert Clive, Warren hastings came to head the administration and he consolidated the British rule. Subsequently Lord Cornwallis introduced various land reforms to improve the revenue to exhibit the power of British rule.

Without any justification more than two thirds of profits went to the British hands, as most of agricultural products were export-oriented, the government as well as British land owners reaped lots of profits under the very nose of mute Indian natives.  Paddy and Wheat fields were slowly shrinking  in size and consequently  production of staple food grains also came down. The Indian food in Bengal and other places were dependant on them. Already Bengal went through a period of worst famine when Warren Hasting was the Governor General1770, heavy Company taxation and other policies had left millions of Bengalis impoverished. While  British soldiers, officers, British  estate owners and traders made their fortunes, the Indians starved. Between 1770 and 1773, about 10 million people died of famine in Bengal - 1/3 of the population. It was more of a human creation, rathar than that of nature's.

Another way of colonial exploitation  and shattering of Indian rural economy began with the introduction of  a charter that allowed the the British nationals to purchase and operate lands in India right from the plains to hills. To produce opium, jute, raw cotton, indigo, tea etc on a large scale, they employed Indians  purposely as bonded  laborers at very low pay. Actually they were like slaves in the galleys of a ship with out the shackles on them. Later lord Cornwallis introduced  ''Permanent Settlement'' on March 22, 1793 in Bihar, Bengal and Odisha(Orissa). By this system 89%  of the revenue went to the government, with the balance, the zamindars had to manage the labor expenses,their own maintenance etc. This created problems between land owners and peasants. To survive, ultimately peasants became the sacrificial lambs! Ryotwari system introduced in Madras and Mahalwari system (1822) introduced in northwestern provinces, Punjab etc  were against the peasants. As for landlords, they were not hereditary owners and the rate of revenue fixed  could be changed at will by the government.

With the introduction of railways, forest lands were taken over by the British company and other British investors.Because they needed wood for railway track work and for building railway passenger coaches,etc This affected the hilly and tribal people and their way of living; their culture and customs were thrown to the wind.  Finally British Bobs  also forced  the friendly tribal people  to work in their estates for the production of timber, tea etc for their benefits. Their intrusion in the remote forest lands became irritation for these hardworking people, and impacted  natural resources, their livelihood, dignity and freedom.They were almost slaves in their own land bogged down by untold miseries.