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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 2022-23

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Assignment Code: BHIC-110/ASST/TMA/2022-23

Course Code: BHIC-110

Assignment Name: History of India-1757-1857

Year: 2022-2023

Verification Status: Verified by Professor


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




Answer in about 500 words each. 20x2


Q1) Was the Permanent Settlement successful in attaining its objectives? Discuss.

Ans) Cornwallis understood that the country's agriculture was in decline and that the current system was making things worse. Additionally, it wasn't producing the significant and consistent surplus that the Company had anticipated for. Additionally, it was become more challenging for the Company to obtain the massive quantities of Indian commodities it intended to sell to Europe since, as Cornwallis noted, agriculture was essential for the manufacturing of items like silk, cotton, and other textiles. When agriculture was failing, handicrafts had very little chance of prospering. The fact that the taxation had the appearance of an "uncertain, arbitrary imposition," according to both the London authorities and Cornwallis, was the primary cause of much of the corruption and persecution.


Therefore, it was determined that the land tax would now be fixed permanently, and that the government would never raise it again. The impacts of this measure were anticipated to be varied. The potential for corruption that existed when authorities had complete discretion to change the evaluation would be diminished. Furthermore, it was intended that landowners would spend money enhancing the land because the entire benefit would go to them as the state would no longer require anything extra if the productivity rose. Trade and production would increase, and the government would also get regular tax revenue.


Although it may appear that the settlement substantially benefited the zamindars, we must remember that they were also now required to pay a defined amount by specific dates each year, and that any failure on their part resulted in the sale of the zamindari. In addition, a lot of the zamindaris were rated for high amounts, which eliminated any room for calamity-related deficits like floods or droughts. In the decades after the final Settlement, many zamindars saw their zamindaris taken away and sold as a result. It is estimated that 68% of the zamindari land in Bengal alone was sold between 1794 and 1819. These lands were purchased by businessmen, politicians, and other zamindars.


Disillusionment With Permanent Settlement

Cornwallis anticipated that the Permanent Settlement would be implemented in all of the British colonies when he first introduced it in Bengal. And the Madras government actually started implementing it in the areas under its authority. However, the benefits of this method were soon questioned by British officials, and its flaws were made more obvious.


The fact that it provided no room for taxes increases while the Company's spending, fueled by ongoing conflicts, continued to rise, was seen by them as a major flaw. From 1798 through 1806, Lord Wellesley, the Governor-General, used money provided from England for the purchase of commercial products for his military expenses instead. Officials started to consider measures to increase the government's revenue as a result. Some of the officials believed that the zamindars had gotten off too lightly in 1793 and that this error should not be made again in the future. The London authorities issued a warning against the establishment of permanent colonies as early as 1811, stating that "a minute and exact study of the ground" was necessary.


Q2) How did the Utilitarians intervene in the Indian society? Comment.

Ans) To "civilise" and "improve" India, the utilitarians were not to adopt the liberal diversion of education. They went back to the fundamental issue of legal reform and landed property to establish favourable market conditions. Under the leadership of Jeremy Bentham, they were of the opinion that a rational and scientific approach to these two issues of law and land ownership could result in reforms that would uphold the maxim "the greatest good of the greatest number."


The Question of Law

The British attitudes toward India were to be significantly shaped by utilitarian concepts. Bentinck raised the possibility of using the law as a tool for change. He thought that the judiciary or the law might be used to change Indian customs like Sati and female infanticide.


Bentinck on Sati

James Mill's arrival at the East India Company's London office signalled the start of a methodical utilitarian campaign against the Orientalist, Cornwallis, and Munro traditions. The goal was to give concrete expression to a comprehensive political reform concept based on utilitarian principles. Under the Benthamite principle of a centrally logical and coherently formed system that would reach the bottom up, we see a number of laws and penal codes enacted. In the process, it would provide the Indian government instructions on how to operate "with a cohesive goal."


The Question of Land Revenue

Additionally, Mill was in favour of changing the land revenue policy to be more in line with utilitarian economics. While this required direct interaction with the vast majority of farmers, as in Munro's ryotwari settlement, it also required taxing the landlord in line with Ricardo's concept. This taxes would be set up so that the landlord wouldn't get unfair advantages at the expense of production and trade simply because they owned the land. This meant that a set amount of the net produce would be given by the landowner to the state as a tax on land revenue.

Officers like Pringle attempted to put this idea of rent into reality in Bombay. Calculating the "net produce" from land required the use of sophisticated survey techniques. Tax rates were then determined. However, the utilitarian philosophy did not abandon its rent idea in practise. Despite the rent was calculated in a strictly pragmatic and empirical manner, rent theory was nevertheless used to support the calculation. The hypothesis was justified, however, for pragmatic reasons since during the ensuing decades, the idea of defining the legal rights and obligations of taxpaying cultivators was pushed to the margins.


The Emerging Vision of the Empire

English utilitarian thought had a tendency toward authoritarianism, which overseas turned into full-fledged dictatorship. Despite being born in the liberal tradition in India, utilitarianism was never able to embrace a democratic government there. James Mill vehemently opposed any kind of representative government in India, whether it existed at the time or will do so soon.


Nevertheless, the desire to relate the work of transforming Indian society to that of law, landed property, or education steadily waned. The emphasis moved to government effectiveness with the consolidation of law codes, revenue administration, education, and all of India Empire. The British government was currently governed by pragmatism with efficiency and reason. Governmental decisions were still made using utilitarian justifications, as seen in Macaulay's revision of the law codes. However, the overall reformist attitude weakened.


Later British administrators of our era would emphasise that law has always been the basis for British administration. However, it was contended at the time that force had to be employed for effective administration and that there was no need to defend it by taking political reform or change into account. The utilitarian goal of modernising India was thus subsumed under the idea of an effective and moral government supported by the "steel frame" of British rule.



Answer in about 250 words each. 10x3


Q1) Explain the nature of the Ryotwari system.

Ans) British officials were developing other methods of calculating and collecting the land tax at the same time. In 1792, Munro and Read, two commanders, were dispatched to manage Madras' freshly gained territory. They started to collect money directly from the villages rather than from the zamindars, setting the amount that each village was required to pay. Following this, they went on to evaluate each cultivator, or riot, separately, leading to the development of the "ryotwari" system. This early ryotwari was a mechanism of filing evaluation. This indicates that a government official determined the tax due on each field, and the cultivator had the option of growing that field and paying that amount or not.


When Sir Thomas Munro was governor of Madras in 1820, he implemented this system of land tax. Assam and Coorg provinces, as well as the Madras and Bombay regions, all practised this. In this arrangement, the land was considered to belong to the peasants or farmers. They held ownership rights and were able to give, sell, or mortgage the land. The government personally gathered the taxes from the peasants. In the dryland, the rates were 50%, and in the wetland, 60%.


In contrast to the Permanent System, the rates were high and could be raised. The government would evict them if they didn't pay their taxes. Ryot is a nickname for farmers.

In contrast to the Zamindari system, no intermediaries were present here. But because hefty taxes could only be paid in cash, the issue of moneylenders entered the picture. The peasants were further burdened by high interest rates.


All assets were measured and evaluated for this purpose based on their actual cultivation and crop potential. The benefits of this method included the removal of middlemen, who frequently subjected villagers to abuse, and an assessment of the tax on genuine agricultural land rather than just occupied property.


Q2) Discuss the debate on the spread of English education during the early colonial period.

Ans) The English East India Company did not have a problem with its role in promoting education in India until the second part of the 18th century. It was essentially a business; hence its main goals were commerce and profit. Prior to gaining territorial control, the Company had no involvement in education, but missionaries made an effort to start charitable schools and encourage learning. However, with the British takeover of Eastern India in the second half of the 18th century, things started to alter regarding what should be the company's role in promoting education in India.


The firm administrators sought to retain neutrality or non-intervention in the area of religion and culture of the indigenous society as soon as they gained political power in India. It was partially motivated by anticipation of a negative response and locals' resistance to their role. But continual pressure from various groups, including missionaries, liberals, orientalists, and utilitarians forced the corporation to abandon its stance of neutrality and take on the duty of encouraging study.


The company should encourage western or oriental learning, was the second crucial issue where opinions were starkly divided. In the beginning, company officials supported oriental education. It is indisputable that some Englishmen had a sincere desire to learn about and advance oriental culture. As a result, opinions on the company's contribution to the advancement of education in India varied among Europeans and Indians.

Q3) Were the British able to implement the rule of law in India? Discuss.

Ans) During the consolidation period, the British attempted to enforce the rule of law in India. Since everyone was supposed to be treated equally before the law under the rule of law, this was truly revolutionary for India. This was definitely a step forward given the prevalence of customary law, where such a concept had never been expressed. By the end of the 19th century, however, this belief was to give way in practise to prejudices about Indians being a lesser race.


The utilitarian approach to law was fundamental to India's legal system. They proposed the Rule of Law as a potential remedy for the following three issues:

  1. Enormous discretionary power in the hands of someone who will probably abuse it.

  2. Absence of a definition of personal rights.

  3. A vast body of unwritten laws exist without any explicit guidelines.


The establishment of the rule of law meant that government operations would henceforth be tightly governed by the laws that established the rights, privileges, and responsibilities of the populace, as opposed to the personal preferences of the rulers. Additionally, it implied that no one was above the law at least in theory including authorities. In principle, those who oversaw the law were also answerable to it once it was established, and they had the power to impose limitations on the activities of the rulers.


According to the notion of equality before the law, all citizens, regardless of caste, status, or other factors, were now treated equally in the eyes of the law. Of fact, Europeans were excluded from the idea of equality before the law. They had their own courts and laws established. Only European judges could hear their criminal trials. In practise, complete equality before the law is impossible to establish. However, it did result in national equality for Indians.




Answer in about 100 words each. 6x5


Q1) Santal rebellion

Ans) The Santhals lived in Birbhum, Bankura, Murshidabad, Pakur, Dumka, Bhagalpur, and Purnea districts. Santhal Pargana or Daman-i-koh was the name given to the region where Santhals were most prevalent. The Rajas of Maheshpur and Pakur, who live nearby, leased out the Santhal villages to zamindars and moneylenders when the Santhals cleared the forest and began cultivating this land. The Santhals were a lowly people that suffered with the gradual invasion of foreigners into their area. In the end, the Santhals' grievances against the local officials, zamindars, and moneylenders erupted into an open armed uprising. The uprising spread quickly over the entire Santh Pargana. Numerous non-Santhals of low caste also showed up in support of the Santhals. The government and zamindars began retaliating against the rebels. Santhals' valiant fight was eventually in vain due to British armies' strength.


Q2) Mahalwari Settlement

Ans) Between 1801 and 1806, Lord Wellesley's aggressive policies resulted in significant territory gains for the British in North India. The North-Western Provinces is the name given to these regions. The British first intended to settle according to the Bengali model, but Wellesley instructed the local officials to settle with the zamindars wherever possible if they agreed to pay a suitable amount in land revenue. The settlements were only to be created village by village, giving precedence to the mokuddums, perdhauns, or other respected ryots of the Village, if the zamindars refused to pay or no zamindars could be found.


The settlement was eventually going to become permanent, like in Bengal. Large tracts of property started to fall into the hands of merchants and moneylenders, who drove out the previous cultivating proprietors or turned them into tenants at will. This was particularly common in the more commercialised areas, where the need for land revenue was at its peak and where the landowners experienced the worst effects of the post-1833 business collapse and export depression. By the 1840s, it was typical to discover that there were no bidders for land that was being auctioned to pay back unpaid land revenue.


Q3) Orientalists

Ans) The term "Orientalism" describes how European colonial powers constructed the Orient starting in the 19th century and continuing today. The main feature of orientalism was how it let Europeans define themselves as oriental. For instance, they stereotyped Orientals as being lazy, unreasonable, uncivilised, and crude. They identified themselves as logical, civilised, diligent, and refined by referring to them in this way. Orientalism contends that rather than being an objective exercise in intellectual inquiry and the academic study of Eastern cultures, much of the Western study of Islamic civilization was an exercise in political intellectualism, a psychological exercise in the affirmation of "European identity," or both.


Q4) Famines under the British Rule

Ans) Many historians have used the frequency and severity of famines as a means of measuring economic conditions of the people, particularly the condition of agriculture, in the absence of alternative metrics of the prosperity and welfare of the people. It would have been possible to gauge the severity of famines by counting the number of people who perished during them, but in most cases, such data is not available. Additionally, there is no way to distinguish between deaths from starvation and those caused by the epidemics that frequently accompany famines in these statistics. Therefore, without the aid of statistics, we must rely on general reports of famines.


From the middle of the 18th century, India saw several severe famines. Famines struck North India in 1759 (in Sind), 1783 (in modern-day Uttar Pradesh, Kashmir, and Rajasthan), 1800–04 (in U.P.), and 1837–387 (U.P., Punjab and Rajasthan). Famine years in western India, including the modern states of Maharashtra and Gujarat, were in 1787, 1790–92, 1799–1804, 1812–13, 1819–20, 1824–25, and 1833–34. The Bengal famine of 1770, which killed nearly one crore people—roughly one-third of Bengal's population was arguably the worst of all throughout this time.


Q5) Colonial Expansion in Mysore

Ans) Midway through the 18th century, Mysore began to emerge as a dominant force in South India. The foundations of Mysore's authority were set by Haidar Ali, and they were strengthened by his talented son, Tipu Sultan. Although Haidar Ali joined the Mysore army as a junior officer of common ancestry, he steadily advanced to become a superb leader. His greatest accomplishment was realising that a strong state could only be built on the foundation of a modern army. In order to set up an arsenal and train the men along western lines, Napoleon hired French experts.


Soon after he was successful in deposing the minister Nunjaraj, who had the true sway over the Mysore kingdom, in 1761. The wealthy coastal regions of Canara and Malabar were a part of the Mysore states' limits, which were also quite large. Being an expansionist at heart, Haidar naturally had disagreements with the Marathas, Hyderabad, and the British, who were the newcomers to the game. In 1769, he dealt British forces stationed not far from Madras a severe defeat. When he passed away in 1782, his son Tipu succeeded him as Sultan and continued his father's policies.

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