|The British Duke and the poor Indian Duck. British Imperialism.www.theamericanconservative.com|
|British India: Richard Wellesleywikimedia.org|
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.