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Question

Economic exploitation of the country produced discontent, resentment and resistance among the people that culminated in the Great Uprising of 1857. Examine this factor with reference to the following:
(a) The ruin of trade and handicrafts.
(b) Impoverishment of the cultivators.
(c) Subordination of Indian economy to British interests (Making India an Agricultural Colony of British capitalism).

Solution
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(a) The ruin of trade and handicrafts: Heavy duties on Indians silk and cotton textile in Britain destroyed Indian industries. On the other hand, British goods were imported into India at a nominal duty. By the middle of the 19th century, export of cotton and silk goods from India practically ceased. The art of spinning and weaving, which for ages had given employment to thousands of artisans, became extinct.

(b) The impoverishment of the cultivators: Indigo trade was highly profitable to the British but the conditions under which the peasants had to work were inhuman. The peasants were forced to cultivate only indigo in the field chosen by the British planters.If they planted anything else, their crops were destroyed and their cattle were carried off as punishment.

(c) Subordination of Indian economy to British interests (Making India an Agricultural Colony of British capitalism): Agricultural India was made an economic colony to serve the interests of industrial England. India was forced to export, at cheaper rates, raw materials like raw cotton and raw silk that the British industries needed urgently; plantation products and food grains which were in short in Britain.

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