Commercialization of Agriculture During British Rule in India

The commercialization of agriculture in India was colonial in nature. To give practical shape to this policy, the British government adopted the policy of buying land and planting plantations in India. The British exploited the workers working on the plantation. 

Indigo Plantation

The British encouraged the cultivation of indigo in India. As a result, India became an important center of indigo production. Indigo started being sent from India to England, and British capitalists benefited greatly from the trade of indigo. They accumulated a good amount of money. 

But the cultivators and laborers engaged in indigo cultivation did not get any benefit. The farmers were forced to cultivate indigo. 

Tea cultivation

Tea cultivation was also important. The owners of the tea gardens were either retired administrative officers of the Company or military officers who had accumulated wealth by adopting right and wrong means in India. 

The condition of the laborers working in the tea gardens was not good. Therefore, laborers were brought to work from nearby areas. The ryots were also exploited on this plantation.

During the colonial period, more and more commercialization of Indian agriculture took place. The main objective of British policy during this period was to make maximum use of Indian agricultural products to meet the needs of England. It was associated with the establishment of the rail system. This was possible through the rail system. 

To meet the needs of the textile industry and urban population of England, cotton was transported from the interior parts of India to the port. India became an agricultural colony of England. The process of commercialization did not happen naturally in India. It was started to meet the imperialist needs of Britain. The proceeds from the sale of the crop went into the pockets of the moneylenders.

During the colonial period, there was a stalemate in the field of agriculture. The need for labor and land was decreasing. There was no effort on the part of the government to increase agricultural production and land requirement. 

The production of only those crops which were in high demand abroad was encouraged by the British government. 

The commercialization of agriculture started in Bengal. Indigo, and jute, were considered important crops. The control of indigo and tea cultivation was in the hands of foreign planters. The farmer, trapped in the cycle of debt and slavery, was the victim of oppression. The debt-ridden farmers had to sell their crops at the time of harvest when the price of the crop was low. On the other hand, rich farmers could get good prices by selling their crops on account of loans. Prosperous farmers, and landlords, had certainly benefited from the commercialization of agriculture, while most farmers had to sell their crops at low prices due to debt. The zamindars exploited the bankers and mazahans by giving loans to the farmers. 

Impact of commercialization of agriculture on Society

The commercialization of agriculture also had an impact on the social structure of the village. This led to social tensions and political discontent. This manifested itself in the form of peasant revolts. 

In view of the widespread public discontent, the government took several steps. Many laws were made to replace the tenancy officers. The expansion of the commercialization of agriculture subjected the peasants to price fluctuations. 

Indian farmers did not get any benefit from high prices due to middlemen. At the same time, the fall in price also had a bad effect on them. 

Due to rural indebtedness, the land in the village was either mortgaged or transferred. The government was not making any effort to remove the indebtedness of the farmers. Changes in the condition of the peasants were possible. 

When loans were given to them on easy installments through government societies, a fundamental change in agrarian relations would take place. The land passed from the hands of the peasants to the hands of the landlords and moneylenders. It was not possible to remove the social tensions of rural India.

Workers were employed from outside to work in the tea gardens and many measures were adopted to exploit them. This created a kind of cultural tension among them.

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