Three Stages of Colonialism:
1) Monopoly Trade and Revenue Appropriation: What was the approach of the EIC during this time period? If it was a trading company, why did it have to fight wars? How influential was the strong “navy” it command? Who funded the amount of money required for raising armies, navies and maintaining forts and trading posts? How do you link expansion to this – was it imperative in order to be able to gain more taxes?
How do we trace the Impact of British Capitalism in India? Can we say that British capitalism was developing, and in order to invest in industries, trade and agriculture, plunder from the colonies was required? Is it correct to say that this was fulfilled when the East India Company acquired direct control over the state revenues of the conquered areas, and was in a position to grab the accumulated wealth of the local rulers? How was such wealth utilised?
• What kind of link can you draw between its growing political power and its acquisition of monopolistic control over Indian trade and production?
• What kind of changes were made in the administration, the judicial system, transport, roduction, and in the educational and intellectual fields, if any?
• Was there a change in the traditional machinery of revenue collection (can you link it to the success with which economic surplus was appropriated then)?
2) Is there a link between the industrial revolution in Britain and the acquisition of territorial power by the EIC in terms of change in aspirations? What were the changes that were taking place in England at that time? Was there an increase in production – what happened to the markets? What was the net effect of all these?
Did this capitalist class require foreign outlets for the ever-increasing output of manufactured goods? How do you balance this with the fact that those same industries needed raw materials in order to produce? Can we therefore, justifiably, say that India fulfilled the role of a subordinate trading partner, a market to be exploited, and a dependent colony to produce and supply the raw materials?
What kind of export was happening at that time in both Britain and India? Did this lead to any kind of economic, political and cultural change?
Answering the previous question in brief:
a) Economic – British capitalists were given free entry into India. Free trade was introduced and tariffs for incoming goods were abolished. Administration was expanded, reaching the smaller villages so that the British goods could reach there, and the raw materials could be drawn out.
b) Legal – The sanctity of contract had to be introduced, and laws had to be made more certain. Hence, codification took place.
c) Education – Due to the expansion of the administration and the judiciary, there was a shortage of manpower. Hence, modern education was introduced to train the Indians.
d) Transport – The large scale imports and exports needed transport of bulky raw materials. Hence, riverways and railways were developed, as were the postal and telegraph systems.
e) Political – Due to the emergence of the liberal imperialist political ideology in the metropolis, it was believed that Britain could carry on exploitation equally well with independent nations as long as free trade prevailed. Therefore, talk of training Indians for self-government was heard.
Who all were affected by such changes? Were the changes successful? What kind of repercussions did it cause in society?
3) Foreign Investment and International Competition for Colonies: Is it justifiable to say that due to industrialisation in the rest of Europe and a consequent competition for markets, technological developments such as electricity, steel production etc. and a consequent acceleration of industrial production as well as need for greater raw materials and population expansion, and accumulation of capital in the metropolis, British policy underwent a change? How would you respond to it?
How do we contextualise Britain’s continuing interest in India in the light of the race for colonies? Can we say that India served as an important base for further expansion, and the “Indian” army was the chief instrument to achieve that end? Is it in keeping with the above to say that the aim, therefore, changed from “training Indians for self-government” to “benevolent despotism”, and “permanent trusteeship.”?