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IGNOU's Indian History Part 1: Modern India 1857-1964

IGNOU's Indian History Part 1: Modern India 1857-1964

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IGNOU's Indian History Part 1: Modern India 1857-1964
IGNOU's Indian History Part 1: Modern India 1857-1964

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resents IGNOU’s Material
Indian History:
Modern India 1857-1964
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Colonialism: Various View Points
1.2.1 Nature of Colonialism1.2.2 Impact on Colony
Stages of Colonialism
1.3.1 First Stage1.3.2 Secondstage1.3.3 Third Stage
1.4 LetUsSumUp
Key Words
Answers to Check Your Progress ExercisesThis Unit presents a broad discussion of the phenomenon
imperialism aridcolonialism and tries to show how this can be helpful in understanding the basic featuresof historical development in India under the British colonial rule over
centuries.After going through this Unit you will be able to learn:what is colonialism, its nature and its various stages,the links between colonialism and the world capitalist system, andhow under colonialism the Indian economy and society were completelyiubordinated to British economy and political control.
Imperialism refers to the process of capitalist development which leads the capitalistcountries to conquer and dominate pre-capitalist countries of the world. Under thishead, we deal with the development of capitalism in advanced capitalist countries, themutual relations among advanced capitalist countries, and the subjugation ofpre-capitalist countries by a capitalist country (also described here as metropolis ormetropolitan country). More narrowly, the term imperialism is used to denote ordescribe the relations of political and economic domination between metropolis andthe country it subjugates or dominates.The country which isso subjugated by a metropolitan capitalist country is described asa colony, and what happens in a colony is colonialism. The total system of imperialistdomination of a pre-capitalist country is colonialism. The study of imperialism andcolonialism is closely co-related and, in a way, we shall
discussing both. But here weshall concentrate more on the study of colonialism while leaving major aspects ofimperialism to
taken up in the study of development of capitalism.
What does colonialism mean'! Is it merely the political control by one country
another, or does it indicate a process of economic subordination of one country to
another? The understanding of colonialism has varied from one scholar to another. In
thissection we will introduce you to va~iousiew points on colonialism as well as other
related asects:
i) One view represented by a large number of sociologists, political scientists andeconomists is that colonial society was basically a traditional society or, in other wordscolonialism retained basicsocio-economic elements and structures of pre-colonial
society. Post-colonial societies then begin the task of modemisation from a traditional'socio-economic structure. Many others see colonialism as representing a transitionalsociety, that is, a society which was being transformed economically, socially andpolitically from a traditional, pre-colonial society into a modern capitalist society. Theybelieve that, given enough time, colonialism would have succeeded in the task if it hadnot been overthrown.ii) Still other writers hold that colonialism produces a dualistic society in which ohesector is modern and capitalist while another sector is traditional and pre-capitalist. Thetwo sectors exist side-by-side without either being strong enough to overwhelm oroverthrow the other. Some writers have followed a more radical version of the dualisticmodel. According to them colonialism begins the task of modernisation but fails tocomplete it giving up the effort half-way. This leads to 'arrested growth' of the colonialeconomy and society. Thus the semi-feudal features of agriculture are seen as remnantsof the pre-colonial period. Colonialism is accused of preserving these semi-feudalfeatures or, at least, of failing to uproot them.iii) Many writers see colonialism as nothing more than politicaldumination or foreignpolitical rule. The weaknesses of colonialism are seen as weaknesses of policies.followed by individual cdonial administrators.
Nature of Colonialism
Colonialism produced a society which was neither capitalist as in Britain nor was itpre-colonial or pre-capitalist. Thus, for example, India under British rule neitherresembled capitalist Britain nor was it basically similar to Mughal India. Thedevelopment of agrarian relations in the colonies- in India, or Egypt, orIndonesia-makes this aspect quite clear. For example, landlordism in both
and ryotwariareas of British India was something new; it did not exist in Mughal India. It was thecreation of British rule. It was the result of the colonial rulers' efforts to transformIndian agriculture. Indian agriculture was not capitalist but it had many capitalistelements; for example, property relations were capitalist; land was now a privateproperty which was freely bought and sold on a large scale.Infact, we can say that the colonial societies under-went a fundamental transformationunder colonialism. They were made an integral part of the world capitalist system. Forexample, colonialism in1ndia was as modem a phenomenon as industrial capitalism inBritain -the t,wo had developed together since the middle of the 18th century.Capitalism was, by its very nature, a world-system -that is, it must cover the entireworld; but it does not cover the entire world in the same way:It has one face in the metropolis and another in the colonies. It devilops themetropolis as a modem industrially developed country, it underdevelops the colony.The same capitalist process which produces economic development in the metropolisand makes it an advanced capitalist country produces and maintainsunderdevelopment in the colonies and transforms them into colonial societies.Colonialism uproots old society and economy, but the new colonial society andeconomy are as much a barrier to modern economic development as are the old,precapitalist economy and society.
colony is integrated into-or made a part of -world capitalist system, but withouttaking part in industrial revolution or the development of capitalist production.Colonialism in fact blocks the development of modem capitalism in the colonies.
1.2.2 Impact on Colony
You would like to know the essential features of Colonialism. Basic to colonialism aretwo features:
One is the complete subordination of the colony to the needs of the metropolis orthe imperialist power and,ii) Second is economic exploitation of'the colony or the appropriation of the colony'seconomic surplus by the metropolis.