Colonialism is a practice or policy of control by one nation over the people living in different areas or countries, often by establishing colonies and generally with the aim of economic dominance. This article will share brief details on the impacts of British colonialism on particular sections of the society in India.
Due to colonialism, the colonisers were able to impose their cultural practices, economics and language, and spread their religion. Colonialism in history involved the subjugation of one nation by another nation and the conquering of the people of other nations.
British Colonialism in Indian History – First Established in Bengal
- Colonial rule was first established in Bengal by the British.
- It was in Bengal that the British made the earliest attempts to reorder rural society, and establish a new revenue system and a new regime of land rights.
- In 1793, the Permanent Settlement was implemented by the British.
- Each zamindar had to pay a fixed revenue, and this was decided by the British East India company.
British Colonialism in Indian History: De-urbanisation and Rise of New Cities
- For administrative purposes, colonial India was divided into 3 “Presidencies”.
- In the late eighteenth century, Calcutta, Bombay, and Madras rose in importance as Presidency cities.
- They became the centres of power for the British in India.
- When these cities rose in power, many other cities started declining.
- Due to a drop in the demand for the goods produced, many towns manufacturing specialised goods declined.
- When the flow of trade moved to new cities, the old ports and trading centres could not sustain.
- When the British defeated local rulers, the earlier centres of regional power collapsed.
- The above-mentioned process was known as de-urbanisation.
- Surat, Srirangapatnam, and Machalipatnam were de-urbanised.
British Colonialism in Indian History – Effect on Different Communities due to Forest Management
The below-given examples will help in understanding the effects of colonialism on particular sections of society.
Shifting Cultivators – Effect of Forest Management during the Colonial Period
- The British Colonial Government found it hard to calculate taxes due to shifting cultivation.
- They felt that it was an obstacle to growing trees which were useful as timber for railways.
- Hence a decision to ban shifting cultivation was taken by the British Colonial Government.
- Due to this decision of the government, many communities living in the forests were displaced.
- Some communities resisted the changes through small and large rebellions; others had to change their occupations.