IGNOU MHI 05 HISTORY OF INDIAN ECONOMY Solved Assignment 2021-22


All the answers for “IGNOU MHI 05 HISTORY OF INDIAN ECONOMY Solved Assignment 2021-22” are given below:

Course Code: MHI-05
Assignment Code: MHI-05/AST/ TMA/2021-22
Total Marks: 100
Note: Attempt any five questions. The assignment is divided into two Sections ‘A’ and ‘B’. You have to attempt at least two questions from each section in about 500 words each. All questions carry equal marks.

1 Give a critical account of the major trends in colonial historiography? 20

Answer: The rulers of India, as well as the colonial intellectuals who analysed their authority, made a point of emphasising that the British had delivered peace and excellent governance to the subcontinent. The Pax Britannica and massive public investment in the country resulted in the building of a sophisticated transportation and communications network, laying the groundwork for a modern economy. The British-constructed railway network and irrigational system were the foundation upon which India’s modern economy was developed. The British provided the Indians with access to western science and education, as well as preparing them for ultimate self-government. Scholars such as Theodore Morison and Vera Anstey were ready to concede that there was some form of tribute in Britain’s economic dealings with India, but that British rule was ultimately beneficial to the Indians. In any event, their principal goal was to present a counter-argument to the accusations of colonial oppression levelled by nationalists and nationalist economists.


Manufactured imports, it was said in early left nationalist appraisals of India’s demise of traditional artisanal industries, led to a large drop in the number of people employed in the secondary sector and the increase of landless agricultural labour. S.J. Patel utilised the Census of India Reports to demonstrate that India’s landlessness had skyrocketed. In Land and Labour in India [Bombay 1962], Daniel Thorner utilised the same Census Reports from 1881 to 1931 to demonstrate that the drop in secondary employment throughout this period was just one or two percentages. The high projections of loss in the secondary sector were due to a misinterpretation of Census categories. Following then, scholarly emphasis switched to the pre-Census period’s drop in employment.

Wealth being drained.

Sir John Shore and Rammohan Roy provided some approximate estimates of the money that moved out of the nation when the notion of tribute from India to Britain first developed in the late 18th century. The drain idea is linked to Dadabhai Naoroji, who calculated that 1500 million pounds was already carried away in the guise of drain by the late nineteenth century. In his book Poverty and Un-British Rule in India, he maintained that the nation was destitute as a result of the drain, and as such the capital that Britain put in the country was just a small portion of the money that Britain had taken out previously. The British generated tremendous profits through commodity exports, which also served as a type of drain. There was also an internal drain, according to his study, as resources were swallowed up by a few urban hubs. The ‘home charges,’ or expenditures incurred by the Government of India in Britain as contracted expenses outside of India, were directly tied to colonial authority.

Agriculture becoming commercialised.

Agriculture was commercialised even before the colonial period, but it flourished significantly throughout the colonial period. Nationalists contended that agricultural commercialization was fostered in order to make India a cheap food and raw material provider for Britain, as well as to produce trade surpluses with other nations such as the United States. India’s trade surfeit would assist Britain in addressing its balance of payments issues with America and Europe.

The Development of Modern Industry

The nationalists claimed that Britain maintained a free trade strategy in India in order to promote British industry’s products. If India were a independant country, it might have industrialised behind tariff barriers, as the United States and Germany did in the late 1800s. These points were argued with vigour by R.C. Dutt, R.P. Dutt, and D.R. Gadgil. The British policies in India indirectly slowed the growth of Indian industry by enabling the country’s revenue and buying power to languish.

Finance and Money

The Indian nationalists’ favourite critique of colonial authority concentrated on the government’s tariff policy—the policy of free trade imperialism as in 19th century and the policy of limited support and imperial preference during the interwar era. The rupee-sterling exchange rate and the negative repercussions of the high exchange rate were also discussed in the 1920s and 1930s. Fixing the rupee at one shilling and six pence rather than one shilling and four pence was deemed to be detrimental to Indian economic interests. A higher exchange rate would diminish agriculturist exporters’ earnings, since they would receive 12.5 percent less in rupees for the produce they exported.

2. Critically examine the chief characteristics of the Harappan civilization. 20
3. Enumerate the features of the economy of the Kushanas. 20
4. Discuss the debates among the historians over the issue of urban decay during the
seventh to twelfth centuries. 20
5. Write short notes on any two of the following. Answer in about 250 words each.
i) Fluvial routes of the subcontinent
ii) Social hierarchy and chiefdoms in the Neolithic-Chalcolithic cultural traditions
iii) Land rights in the Tamil region during the 6-10th century AD
iv) The trading organisations of South India


6. Write a note on the rights and functions of the Mughal zamindars. 20
7. Examine the development of agricultural technology during the medieval period. 20

8. Analyse the impact of colonial interventions on tribal economy . 20

9. Give a brief account of Daniel Thorner’s critique of the Nationalist thesis on de-industrialization. 20

Answer: The subject of India’s de-industrialization during the colonial rule was one of the primary themes raised by the nineteenth-century nationalist intellectuals. The British cotton textile industry was criticized for the influx of British products into India, which resulted in the collapse of traditional handicraft industry and, in particular, the incomes and occupation of weavers and spinners. From Mahatma Gandhi, Lokmanya Tilak to Dadabhai Naoroji , nationalist leaders consistently emphasised the damaging effects of British produced products entering the country. As per nationalists, India was subjected to British economic requirements, becoming an importer of manufactured goods and an exporter of agricultural products. India was relegated to an agricultural  partner of the British economy during the Industrial Revolution in Britain. The expansion of industrialization in the modern sense did not make up the loss in artisanal output. The inflow of British manufactured goods into the country, particularly after 1813 when the East India Company’s charter was amended, was blamed for the miserable conditions of the weavers, the greater reliance on agriculture and decline in living standards of the general population, and the increased incidence of famines in India in the 19th century. Because of the availability of inexpensive transportation for bulk commodities, the process of artisanal production destruction accelerated with the establishment of railways in India in the second half of the nineteenth century. If India had become an independent country, it would have taken efforts to maintain its traditional industries, but colonial authority rendered this impossible. The British colonial authorities pursued a free trade policy, allowing Lancashire cotton to access the Indian market without paying customs taxes. These policies have the combined power to disrupt the traditional industry and limiting India’s ability to establish contemporary large-scale industry.

An examination of statistics on employment from the decennial Censuses from 1881 to 1931 provided a significant refutation of the nationalist thesis. Later, in the 1950s, Daniel and Alice Thorner claimed that a case for a drop in secondary-sector jobs over the time covered by census data could not be made. Thorners’ main point was that, at least during the census era, from 1881 to 1931, there was also no change in the proportion of the population involved in industrial activities. The argument for India’s de-industrialization emerged from a faulty interpretation of the facts included in Census data. Because there is no apparent separation of labour inside the home in an agrarian economy, categorization of vocations is difficult. From the early to the late Census reports, the foundation for categorising the people into distinct occupations changed. The fundamental cause of the problem was an overestimation of the numbers and proportion of people employed in industrial professions in the 1881 Census due to a misunderstanding of the categories used in that survey. Thorner stated that the Census categories of “Manufacture and Trade” should be considered in one band, “Agriculture and General Labor” in another, and the statistics for male and female employees should be separated. Between 1881 and 1931, the proportion of males working in ‘Manufacture -cum-Trade’ decreased from 18% to 15% of all working males. The rate for 1881 is estimated to be 16 percent based on precise data for all provinces and four states. Over the period 1881-1931, the drop was reduced from 3% to merely 1%. Between 1881 and 1931, the proportion of men employed in ‘Agriculture-cum-General Labour’ changed by only 2%. In 1881 and 1901, 74% of the population was female, followed by 75% in 1911, 76% in 1921, then 76% in 1931. The entire case for de-industrialization, according to Thorner, hinged on “somewhat doubtful female numbers but, above all, on adoption of the meretricious 1881 data.  Thorner calculated that the number of women working in the ‘Manufacture-cum Trade’ fell from 17 percent in 1901 to 14 percent in 1931 if the 1881 statistics were excluded. Women’s employment in ‘Agriculturecum General Labour’ increased from 77 percent to 78 percent within the same time period. As a result, he believes that serious deindustrialization occurred only between 1815 and 1880. Thorner, on the other hand, was interested by the fact that the economy’s industrial fabric remained “practically stable” throughout a half-century in which India’s population increased by about one hundred million people.

10. Write short notes on any two of the following. Answer in about 250 words each.
i) Famines during the medieval period
ii) Building construction activity during the medieval period
iii) Question of population growth during the colonial period
iv) Globalization

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