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BHIC-110: History of India –VI (c. 1750 – 1857)

BHIC-110: History of India –VI (c. 1750 – 1857)

IGNOU Solved Assignment Solution for 2021-22

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Assignment Code: BHIC-110/ASST/TMA/2021-22

Course Code: BHIC-110

Assignment Name: History of India-1757-1857

Year: 2021-2022

Verification Status: Verified by Professor


Note: There are three Sections in the Assignment. You have to answer all questions in the Sections.



Answer in about 500 words each.


Q1. Was the 18th century a dark age? Discuss with respect to its polity, economy and society.20.

Ans) The 18th century was often considered as a Dark Age of disorder and instability. Anarchy reigned in the late 18th century when the Mughal Empire crumbled, and regional kingdoms failed to form empires. This was done to make British rule appear like a blessing to the British writers of the Cambridge History of India and their Indian adherents.


The Mughal Empire's effect was not as deep as thought. Many social groups and large portions of India, especially the Northeast and South, remained outside. Thus, the decline of the Mughals cannot be used to describe changes in India. In recent years, scholars have suggested that the formation of regional polities was more important than the rise and fall of all-India empires. Satish Chandra, a famous mediaeval Indian historian, presents the 18th century as a single historical unit rather than two halves, pre- and post-British.


In India, the 18th century saw two major shifts in power and social and economic conditions. First, in the first half of the century, the Mughal Empire gave way to regional governmental regimes. The second was the political, social, and economic shift. The English East India Company navigated its way to political power in the 18th century. The fall of Mughal power spawned a number of separate kingdoms. This chapter will examine the rise of several autonomous kingdoms across the country. Britain's aggressive measures harmed the economy. Produced changed both agrarian and non- agrarian. The business activity changed as well.


Misguided measures by Aurangzeb undermined the Mughal polity. But the empire's two primary pillars, the army and the bureaucracy, stood firm in 1707. Durability of control troubled Delhi from 1707 to 1719. Incompetence ruled out a restoration of imperial fortunes during Muhammad Shah's reign from 1719 until 1748. The fall of the all-India polity did not cause economic decline. The regional picture was complex. Invasion harmed Punjab's economy, while Awadh prospered. On becoming Nawab of Awadh, Safdar Jang gave Nadir Shah Rs. 3 crores. Awadh prospered economically, whereas Punjab's states crumbled. The emergence and spread of British power in India were the third major aspect of 18th century politics. It changed the course of Indian history. The Jagirdari issue grew as agricultural income fell and competition for the excess increased. While trade, both domestic and foreign, continued unabated, the rest of the economy languished. The economy's resiliency contrasted with the political system's fragility. The British first dominated through indigenous institutions but implemented constitutional modifications and economic changes. British control in India was part of the global imperial system.


The new policies were regional, not pan-Indian. The regional chiefs and later the British reintroduced certain old institutions into new political regimes. Colonialism repurposed Mughal institutions. Land revenue systems may be same, yet colonialism drained India's wealth. Imperialist historians blur the line between form and function to emphasise institutional continuity and show the British were no different from their predecessors.


Q2. Discuss the differences between the Orientalists and the Utilitarians.20.

Ans) Orientalists

The British administrators believed that a detailed grasp of India's history was required to successfully rule India. Orientalists like Warren Hastings intended to construct schools where students could learn about India's golden age and then teach it to future rulers. He opposed enforcing English laws and customs in India. His ultimate goal was to rule India. He believed the rapid expansion of British control had spawned prejudices. These, he believed, had to end. He desired reconciliation of British and Indian institutions. This necessitated a deeper look into the country's "manners and traditions It also needed an in-depth study of Indian literature and law. One of Hastings' lieutenants, Halhed, compiled a collection of religious and customary norms known as the "Gentoo Laws" to aid in the process of reconciliation.


An English jurist, William Jones, also helped create an Asiatic organisation in 1784. This society was investigating India's social, religious, linguistic, and political issues. The Asiatic Society translated from Persian and Sanskrit works of Grammar, Puranas, and Kalidasa's writings. Second, the Asiatic Society members researched and published extensively on Indian society and religion.


They founded Fort William College in Calcutta in 1800 to provide practical instruction and familiarisation with Indian administration. Fort William College urged its students to learn Indian language so future administrators may deal with Indian themes, customs, and sensibilities with ease. It would also help students grasp society and India's past better. Studying Persian also aided British administrators in their daily tasks. Most Indian states employed Persian to keep official documents and conduct daily business. It was thus possible to reconcile the desire to learn about India's former splendour with administrative needs. The Indian Residents placed at the courts of several submissive Indian monarchs merged Persian knowledge and usage with court culture.



The Utilitarians rejected liberal education as a means of 'civilising' and 'developing' India. The utilitarians didn't share orientalists' ideals. The utilitarians had little respect for Indian history. They intended to modify the legislation and land holdings. They intended to foster market growth.


They raised the issue of legislation as a tool for change. So, they wanted the judiciary to change Indian society and ban customs like Sati and female infanticide. They believed that by enacting laws under their supervision, Indian civilization might be converted from a superstitious nation to a modern society. Following that, utilitarians influenced a series of legislation and penal codes.


 Utilitarians rejected all forms of representative governance in India, then and now. Despite its liberal roots, utilitarianism in India could never embrace a democratic government. James Mill, a utilitarian, opposes any kind of representative governance in India, then or now. Moreover, the utilitarians' desire to change Indian society through laws, land ownership, or education waned. Later British administrators would stress that British rule had always been legal. However, it was believed that for effective administration, force must be deployed without regard for political change or reform. The utilitarian task of civilising India was subsumed under the notion of efficient and good government. The British administration's "steel frame" backed the government. Dalhousie formed all-India departments with single heads, influenced by utilitarian philosophy. The utilitarians weakened the reform spirit, and the British administration became controlled by pragmatism and rationalism.





Answer in about 250 words each.


Q3. Did the Permanent Settlement succeed in its objectives? Discuss.10.

Ans) The Permanent Settlement was a major contract formed in 1793 between the East India Company's government in Bengal and individual landowners in Bengal, known as zamindars and talukdars. The zamindars were incorporated into the colonial state system as absolute proprietors of landed property in Bengal as a result of the pact. The amount of government revenue due to the government was set in stone. Individual zamindars and talukdars became permanent and absolute proprietors of the land under their jurisdiction under the provisions of the permanent settlement.


As absolute landowners, zamindars and talukdars were compelled to pay a predetermined rate of income to the government. The farming raiyats, on the other hand, were denied this privilege. Landowners had complete control over their tenants' rent rates. They could even evict their renters if they so desired. If they defaulted, however, their lands would be sold at a public auction in proportion to their default. The Sunset Law was the name given to this powerful law.



Regrettably, the long-term aim for a permanent settlement did not come to fruition. Like their British counterparts, the zamindars, old and young, never became landlords. Scholars agree that the zamindars failed to change the country, but they disagree on why the zamindars acted the way they did. Rather than improving land through capital and organisational input, their strategy was to increase income through more lucrative methods such as mahajani investment, grain trade, the purchase of new estates, bonds, urban properties, and increasing rent, as well as imposing abwabs or illegal cesses on raiyats. In terms of economics, zamindars' actions were justified on the grounds that the sectors in which they invested their surpluses were giving significantly larger returns than land management on a capitalist basis. Why would the zamindars put their money into land if it was less profitable and risky? In England, there was a strong industrial sector to stimulate agriculture, and the government took steps to stabilise prices and protect the interests of the landed classes; however, zamindars in Bengal were denied such benefits, and as a result, they never bothered to improve their land to increase their income.


Q4. What is deindustrialization? Comment in the colonial context.10.

b) The term "de-industrialization" refers to the process of a steady and noticeable decrease in the industrial sector. A popular quantitative indicator of industrial growth or decline is the proportion of national income generated by industry and the percentage of the population dependent on it. An increase in these proportions shows industrialisation, whereas a drop indicates de-industrialization. The issue of the destruction of Indian industries and the ruralisation of the country drew a lot of attention from various political and economic interest groups both in Colonial India and in Britain. The loss of Indian craft industries during early British administration was cited by Indian nationalists to support their claim that India was being exploited. The East India Company's monopolistic grip over India was criticised by the embryonic free trade group in Britain, who criticised the Company's elimination of the country's indigenous crafts.


De-industrialisation is an economic transition in which manufacturing employment drops for a variety of economic and political factors. The loss in manufacturing employment is accompanied by a decrease in the manufacturing value added share of GDP. The process of de-industrialisation can be triggered by economic expansion and growth, as well as political considerations. In other words, de-industrialisation refers to a general reduction in industrial capacity, and it became popular in India during the 19th century with the decline and collapse of the handicrafts industry due to external competition from British-made products.


Sir William Bentinck, who served as Governor-General of India between 1833 and 1835, was the first to propose the concept of Indian de-industrialization. His policies had a huge impact on India's cotton economy. Karl Marx first discussed the impact of the British cotton industry on the Indian cotton industry in Das Kapital. Historical de-industrialisation processes in British territories like India are attributed to colonial authority.


Q5. What were the causes of the Revolt of 1857? Discuss.10.

Ans) The fundamental cause of the 1857 Revolt was the British's harsh exploitation of the Indian people. The British administration in Bengal, which was formally established following the Battle of Plassey in 1757, aimed to enrich the East India Company's coffers at the expense of the Indians. The East India Company was run by a group of selfish merchants and dealers who were willing to go to any length to enrich themselves.


Some additional reasons for revolt:

  1. Exploitation of the Peasantry

  2. Annexation of Princely States

  3. The Alien Rule

  4. Impact on the Sepoys

  5. Threat to Religion


Historians have identified a number of political, economic, military, religious, and social factors that contributed to the Revolt of 1857, also known as the first War of Indian Independence.


The distribution of new gunpowder cartridges for the Enfield rifle in February 1857 provoked a mutiny in certain sepoy units of the Bengal army. Many sepoys believed the greased cartridges were greased with cow and pig fat, and loading the Enfield often involved tearing open the greased cartridge with one's teeth. This would have been offensive to both Hindu and Muslim religious beliefs, as cows are sacred to Hindus and pigs are unclean (Haram) to Muslims.


The sepoy mutineers' wrath was fuelled by underlying concerns about British taxes and recent land annexations by the English East Indian Company (EEIC), and within weeks, dozens of Indian army units joined peasant armies in broad rebellion. The old elite, both Muslim and Hindu, fought against British control as their power was rapidly reduced by the EEIC.


Another source of dissatisfaction among the Indian kings was the fact that British conquering policies had caused major instability. The EEIC had enforced a "doctrine of lapse" of Indian leadership succession and a policy of "subsidiary alliance" in the decade leading up to the uprising, both of which stripped many Indian rulers of their customary powers and privileges.




Answer in about 100 words each.


Q6. Peasant resistance in the 19th century

Ans) During the British colonial period in India, peasant resistance began as a result of economic policies that resulted in the loss of traditional handicrafts, resulting in land overpopulation, massive debt, and peasant poverty. Throughout the colonial period, this resulted in peasant uprisings, as well as the creation of post-colonial peasant movements. The Kisan (farmer) Sabha movement in Bihar was formed by Swami Sahajanand Saraswati, who launched the Bihar Provincial Kisan Sabha (BPKS) in 1929 to mobilise peasant discontent against zamindari attacks on their occupation rights. Sane Guruji organised rallies and processions across the country, as well as marches to the Collector's office, to get the land revenue waived. Peasants flocked to the revolutionary movement of 1942 in overwhelming numbers. Over time, the peasant movement got stronger and spread across India.


Q7. Mahalwari Settlement

Ans) Holt Mackenzie created the Mahalwari system of taxation in British India in 1822. The British introduced it as one of three major land tenure systems in India. Their economic situation in India improved as they exploited land to dominate the entire revenue system. It was meant to take the maximum revenue from them. Instead, they were subjected to full government taxation. As a result, moneylenders and merchants began to seize enormous tracts of land, evicting or subjugating the old cultivators. End 1830s and 1840s, the mahalawari colonisation brought poverty and extensive dispossession to North Indian farming tribes, sparking upheavals in 1857.


Q8. Rule of Law

Ans) For India, the rule of law was an essential component of utilitarian legal theory. They proposed the Rule of Law as a possible solution to three major issues: 1) enormous discretionary authority in the hands of persons who are inclined to abuse it; 2) a lack of definition of individual rights; and 3) a massive corpus of unwritten rules with no clear direction. The rule of law meant that administration would henceforth be carried out rigidly according to specified laws that established the people's rights, privileges, and obligations, rather than the rulers' personal desires. It also meant that, at least in theory, no one was above the law, including authorities.


Q9. City and countryside in the 19th century

Ans) When moving from the countryside to the towns and cities, two distinct themes emerged. The fast rise of new cities and towns, on the one hand, and the decline and depopulation of ancient urban areas, on the other. Due to the necessities of British commerce and administration, the latter development occurred.


Towns and cities that grew rapidly in the first half of the nineteenth century were not sites where producing activity were concentrated; instead, their populations were primarily employed in the service sector, such as marketing, transportation, and administration. It's impossible to say whether population reduction in older cities was offset by population growth in new ones across India. Perhaps the answer doesn't matter in one sense: the cities functioned as large pumping stations for the concentration of riches from the countryside in the pre-colonial era.


Q10. The beginnings of the indentured labour

Ans) The origins of the indentured system of labour may be traced back to the British empire's expansion and consolidation of its territories and towns. British mercantile and commercial interests created huge plantations of commercial crops such as sugar in the island colonies of Mauritius, the West Indies, and Surinam in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.


Slave labour from the African slave trade was used to build the early plantation economies. However, in the early nineteenth century, the British government was obliged to abolish slave labour due to the emergence of slave abolition movements in the United Kingdom. Plantation economies, on the other hand, continued to demand labour. The British looked to Eastern India's economic crisis-ridden areas, primarily today's Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, as well as certain parts of the Madras and Bombay Presidency, to recruit labour.

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