Describe the three stages of Colonialism in Indian context.
Colonialism in India.
India was one of the biggest colonies under British rule. Even the intense study of colonialism in India gives us a great insight about the colonialism in general.
First Stage of Colonialism.
With the conquest of India firstly to Bengal then South India and after that rest of India fulfilled the feature of first stage that was the monopoly of trade and appropriation of government revenues. For the monopoly over Indian market especially for Indian trade and handicrafts East India Company used their political approach. It was the time when Indian traders were ruined and the local weavers were forced to sell their products at the lowest price and finally it made possible to throw out the weavers out of business.
Later the cheap manufactured goods had broken the spinal of Indian traditional business and trading. Actually the drain of wealth started from this time. Even Deputy Chairman of the Court of Directors, “Indian system acts very much like a sponge, drawing up all the good things from the banks of the Ganges and squeezing them down on the banks of the Thames.”
British do not made any attempt to change the basic character of society at this stage. Only the military organization, technology and top level of revenue administration had been changed. They collected the land revenue directly from the farmers without interfering in the traditional system. In the first stage, they respected the traditional prevailing ideology which was in later phase tried to change by the British. Even, we can see that many British Ideologists such as William Jones had respected India’s literary tradition and wrote greatly on this.
Second Stage of Colonialism.
Later half of 19th century, started with the concept of free trade where India became a market for manufactured goods from Britain and big supplier of raw materials to Britain. Within four decades the import of manufactured clothes had increased by 27 times in terms of money. And obvious result was the abolition of traditional local weavers.
Even in this period de-industrialization took place which was rightly said by the historian A.K. Bagchi, the weight of industry in the livelihood pattern of the people was reduced by half from 1809-3 to the census year 1901. Some of the Indian scholar gave written about the drain of wealth. According to Sivasubramaniam, in the last half century of British rule per capita income in India remained almost stagnant and Dadabhai Naoroji calculated per capita income at Rs. 20 per annum.
During the this stage, railway and communication system was set up. Laws were made according to British interest and accordingly administration and courts were formulated. Capitalist’s direct interests were given the priority. For the administration purpose new kind of babus were produced by introducing the modern education.
For the criticizing the traditional culture new western values were promoted. According to Orientalism new modern language has been developed so that indigenous people got deprived. The new ideology was one of development.
Third Stage of Colonialism.
The this stage was the time of finance capital when huge amount of British capital was invested in India especially in the railways, loans to the Government of India, trade and to a lesser extent in plantations, coal mining, jute mills, shipping and banking in India. It was also the time when Britain was challenged by other imperialist powers. And it resulted in the reverse pattern when Britain exercised the tight grip on India. It was for the purpose to compete with other imperialist countries.