Friday February 23, 2018

Industrial Revolution: How India financed Britain’s growth story

0
//
738
Republish
Reprint

By Harshmeet Singh

India’s biggest contribution to the Industrial Revolution in Britain was the finance.  With British earning tonnes of silver and gold by exporting Indian products through bullion trading, the capital investment for Industrial Revolution never faced any shortage.

How did British pluck the feathers of the Golden Bird

With the British getting the revenue collection rights (diwani) from the hitherto Mughal emperors, they started getting enough local currency to run their operations in the country and finance their wars against the French (who were trying to capture South India) and other Indian kings in different parts of the country.

british

But since the local currency was futile outside the Indian land, the British came up with a different plan to satisfy their hunger. Before the British interference, India was a well known exporter of processed goods. The traders used to receive the payment of their goods in bullion (equivalent gold or silver) form. This soon changed and the farmers were forced to cultivate what the British thought was useful for them – opium and indigo. The opium grown by Indian farmers (who are offered petty rates by the British) was traded by the British to the Chinese traders, in return for silver, which was universally acceptable.

Sudden surge in the fashion market back in Europe gave an opportunity to the East Indian Company to make profits by exporting indigo dye from India.

India’s curse

India’s spectacular wealth attracted invaders and travellers alike. Infatuated by the Indian wealth, the British came to India to set up their business and ‘civilize’ Indian citizens in the 17th century.

With no universally acceptable currency at that time, a country’s wealth was deduced by taking into account the metals and minerals possessed by a kingdom. So intrigued were the people about Indian wealth that a number of expeditions were launched to find out the shortest route to India. It was during one such expedition that Christopher Columbus mistakenly discovered America while he was looking for India, the land of riches and spices! The stories of India’s wealth spread far and wide, which gave India the name ‘Golden Bird’.

Too many nations chasing India

In 1600, Queen Elizabeth I gave a charter to the East India Company, which gave it the sole right to trade with the East. This implied that apart from the EIC, no other British trading group would be allowed to trade in the East. At that time, most trading companies believed in excluding the competition to buy cheap and sell hefty. But the royal charter didn’t stop other European powers from capturing the lucrative Eastern markets. Before the British EIC reached India, the Portuguese, led by Vasco da Gama, had already reached Goa. Vasco da Gama is thus credited with discovering the sea route to India in 1498. Soon enough, the Dutch and French also joined the race to get a piece of cake, known as India.

With all the European powers eyeing the same Indian products, things were set for a series of battles. The high quality Indian cotton and silk was a probable jackpot for them. Other desirable products included cloves, pepper, cinnamon and cardamom. With none of the trading companies looking for reconciliation, eliminating the rivals was the only option, and thus followed some devastating battles between the trading companies. In the 17th and 18th centuries, incidences of ship sinking and route blocking were common. In the end, the Dutch conquered Indonesia whereas the British took India and Sri Lanka under their control.

With not many happy memories from our 17th to 19th century history, we can surely be proud for giving Industrial Revolution to the world!

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2015 NewsGram

Next Story

Maharana Pratap: The Warrior With Never Say Die Attitude

Maharana Pratap was born on 9 May 1540 to Maharana Udai Singh of the Sisodiya clan of Rajputs, the rulers of Mewar

0
//
364
Maharana Pratap name goes in the immortal history of heroism and determination. Wikimedia Commons
Maharana Pratap'simmortal history of heroism and determination. Wikimedia Commons
  • Maharana Pratap’s name goes in the immortal history of heroism and determination
  • It was in this battle that Maharana Pratap’s beloved and trusted horse Chetak was wounded in his hind leg
  • On the strength of his small army, many times Maharana Pratap attacked the enemies and defeated them

Maharana Pratap was a man of strong Rajput character; he was far more brave and chivalrous than any of his siblings. He was known for his kind-heartedness and just decision making and won him hearts of even his enemies. Maharana Pratap was the only ruler of India that did not give in to the Mughal invasion and for the same reason; he is credited as the most celebrated ruler of the country to this day.

Battle of Haldighati

During the famous battle of Haldighati, Maharana Pratap’s own brother, Shakti Singh, helped him in escaping the battlefield. The heroic Battle of Haldighati was fought in June 1576 saw 22,000 Rajput warriors fighting against more than two lakh Mughal soldiers led by Raja Man Singh and Asaf Khan. It is believed that this battle between Maharana Pratap and Akbar proved to be devastating like the Mahabharata war. However, in this war neither Maharana Pratap was defeated nor Akbar could win. In spite of their strength, the Mughals were not able to imprison Rana who fled through a 40-kilometre long pass. The Mughal continued with their attacks on the Rajput army even after Haldighati war and it weakened Pratap’s army. Gradually, Pratap was left with no money to support his army and it was his minister Bhama Shah who came to his rescue and gave all his wealth to Maharana Pratap.

Chetak had blue eyes and that is why Maharana is often referred as 'Rider of the Blue Horse'. Wikimedia Commons
Chetak had blue eyes and that is why Maharana is often referred as ‘Rider of the Blue Horse’. Wikimedia Commons

Brave Horse chetak

It was in this battle that his beloved and trusted horse Chetak was wounded in his hind leg. Chetak jumped over the 26 feet long groove. Before breathing his last, Chetak delivered Maharana Pratap to safe ground.

Also Read: Mahabharata or Game of Thrones? Quite similar!

After that, he took refuge in the Aravalli hills and the Bhil tribals of the Aravallis supported Maharana during the time of adversity. While in exile, Maharana Pratap perfected his art of war tactics like guerrilla warfare, harassing the enemy and light horse tactics which eventually helped him win back Mewar. Records also state that during his exile, Maharana Pratap was once at breaking point.

His name goes in the immortal history of heroism and determination.

During his fight against Akbar, Maharana Pratap told his soldiers, “My brave warrior brothers, our Motherland, this holy land of Mewar, are still under the clutches of the Mughals. Today, I take an oath in front of all of you that till Chittor is freed, I will not have food in gold and silver plates, will not sleep on a soft bed and will not stay in the palace; instead I will eat food on a leaf-plate, sleep on the floor and stay in a hut. I will also not shave till Chittor is freed. My brave warriors, I am sure that you will support me in every way by sacrificing your mind, body and wealth till this oath is fulfilled.”

Also Read: 8 Amazing Facts About Lord Hanuman That Will Astonish You

Take a look at some of the facts that dignify the life of one of the immortal king of India: 

  1. Maharana Pratap was born on 9 May 1540 to Maharana Udai Singh of the Sisodiya clan of Rajputs, the rulers of Mewar.
  2. Against his father’s wish, Maharana Pratap became the ruler of Mewar. His father wanted his favourite son Jagmal as his successor. But the senior nobles of Mewar decided that Maharana Pratap was the first son and rightful successor should be crowned king.
  3. Maharana Pratap was honoured with the title of ‘Leonidas of Rajasthan’, given by the famous British antiquarian, Colonel Tod.

    The heroic Battle of Haldighati was fought in June 1576 saw 22,000 Rajput warriors fighting against more than two lakh Mughal soldiers led by Raja Man Singh and Asaf Khan. Wikimedia Commons
    The heroic Battle of Haldighati was fought in June 1576 saw 22,000 Rajput warriors fighting against more than two lakh Mughal soldiers led by Raja Man Singh and Asaf Khan. Wikimedia Commons
  4. On the strength of his small army, many times Maharana Pratap attacked the enemies and defeated them.
  5. If we go by the history then Maharana Pratap was called ‘Kika’ in his childhood.
  6. To honour the deeds of Maharana Pratap’s horse Chetak, a temple has also been built, which is still safe in turmeric.
  7. It is said that even after realizing the strength of Akbar, Maharana Pratap didn’t bow before him. Although, Akbar sent many messages to Maharana Pratap and tried to merge Mewar in his kingdom.
  8. Maharana Pratap stood at 7 feet 5 inches and weighed around 110 kilograms. Having such a robust personality, he carried spear weighing 81 kilograms, the armour of his chest weighed 72 kg and the overall weight of his attire including two swords weighed up to 208 kilograms. Maharana Pratap’s sword and armour are still kept safe in the museum of Udaipur Raj Gharana.
  9. In total, Maharana Pratap had 11 wives, 17 sons and 5 daughters. His first wife, Maharani Ajabde Punwar was his favourite. They got married in 1557 and their first son and successor Amar Singh I was born in 1559.
  10. To strengthen Rajput unity, Maharana Pratap married many Rajput princesses.
  11. Once, Maharana Pratap son, Amar Singh arrested women from the Mughal camp along with other prisoners and brought them to his kingdom. On knowing it, Maharana Pratap rebuked his son for this act and ordered to send women back to their camp with escorts.
  12. The army of Maharana Pratap attempted to recapture Chittor that had been captured by Mughals.
  13. The Mughal forces led by Akbar conquered Chittoor, Gogunda, Kumbhalgarh and Udaipur. It was only Maharana Pratap who didn’t put down his arms before Akbar.
  14. To the surprise of many people, Chetak had blue eyes and that is why Maharana is often referred as ‘Rider of the Blue Horse’.
  15. Maharana Pratap died at the age of 57, after sustaining an injury while hunting.