Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Indian National Congress Economic Critique of Imperialism

Economic Critique of Imperialism

The early nationalists took note of all the three forms of contemporary colonial economic exploitation, namely, through trade, industry and finance. They clearly grasped that the essence of British economic imperialism lay in the subordination of the Indian economy to the British economy. They strongly opposed the British attempt to develop in India the basic characteristics of a colonial economy. They organized a powerful agitation against official economic policies based on their colonial structure.

The early nationalists complained of India’s growing poverty and economic backwardness and the failure of modern industry and agriculture to grow and they put the blame on British economic exploitation. Dadabhai Naoroji declared that the British rule was “an everlasting, increasing, and every day increasing foreign invasion”. The nationalists criticized the official policies for bringing about the ruin of India’s traditional economic policies for bringing about the ruin of India’s traditional handicraft industries and for obstructing the development of modern industries.

The chief remedy they suggested for the removal of poverty was the rapid development of modern industries. They popularized the idea of Swadeshi or the use of Indian goods, and the boycott of British goods as a means of promoting Indian industries.

The nationalists complained that India’s wealth was being drained to England, and demanded that the drain be stopped. They carried on persistent agitation for the reduction of land revenue in order to lighten the burden of taxation on the peasant. They declared that high taxation to be one of the causes of India’s growing poverty and demanded the abolition of the salt tax. The nationalists agitated for the improvement in the conditions of work of the plantations.

Nationalist agitation on economic issues led to the growth of an all- India opinion that the British rule was based on the exploitation of India, was leading to India’s impoverishment and was producing economic backwardness and underdevelopment.

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