2ndlook

Death of Indian Shipbuilding

Posted in British Raj, European History, Gold Reserves, History, India by Anuraag Sanghi on April 14, 2012

Bengal, which Mughal rulers described as paradise on earth, became a hell on earth during the British Raj. Right from the Famine of 1765 to the 1943 Great Bengal Famine which killed at least 3-4 million..

Note: Read 'f' as 's', where needed.  |  From: The ... report from the Select Committee of the House of Commons on the Affairs of the East India Company (Google eBook) | Published in Great Britain | Author: Select Committee on the Affairs of the East India Company, East India Company (London) | Publisher: Cambray | Year: 1810

Note: Read 'f' as 's', where needed. | From: The ... report from the Select Committee of the House of Commons on the Affairs of the East India Company (Google eBook) | Published in Great Britain | Author: Select Committee on the Affairs of the East India Company, East India Company (London) | Publisher: Cambray | Year: 1810

Gunpowder capital of the world

After the Battle of Plassey (1757), the British gained control of Bengal – which was India’s major industrial centre. For the British, the most valuable product from Bengal was saltpetre – nitrate, the essential ingredient in gunpowder.

In 1757, right up to WWI, India manufactured more nitrate (essential for gunpowder manufacture) than the rest of the world put together. An intricate technology, no other country in the world manufactured gunpowder products, as much as India, of such good quality. For the British, Bengal’s gunpowder production was the passport to a world empire.

Gunpowder apart, Bengal was a major textile centre, famous for shipbuilding and a significant agricultural centre.

Lockstep in Bengal

Between 1757 and the Battle of Buxar (1765), the British moved step at a time, to tighten their grip on Bengal.

One of the first steps was to create a famine. After Buxar for the next two hundred years, the Bengal region started witnessing famines that continued upto 1943, when some 30-40 lakhs Indians died in Bengal (3-4 million).

Bengal which was intricately connected by thousands of kilometres of waterways and canals, had lakhs of boats plying up and down the region. In 1788 came the order that killed shipbuilding in Bengal. Today it may seem fantastic, but more than 20 different types of boats, were used. Each of them built for different use.

Chronicles of India

In the eighteenth and nineteenth century, wonder-stuck Europeans spent years making etching and woodcuts, that are today the main surviving record of that age gone by.

The Mughals built the world’s largest treasury of the world – and even after that, India was a major economic power. After the end of Mughal power in 1857, in the next 100 years of the British Raj, we see India become a starving, naked and homeless population.

And in the last 65 years, India has again become the fourth largest economy in the world.


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3 Responses

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  1. limepeel said, on April 15, 2012 at 12:02 am

    Interesting nuggets on the history of Bengal…

  2. admin said, on April 15, 2012 at 12:09 am

  3. masculineffort said, on May 27, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    The British get away with just about everything. It seems that they can do any number of misdeeds, label those deeds are altruism and have the whole world agree. And when anyone disagrees, they are able to shout down the dissenters with their moral indignation. Their hypocrisy, self-righteousness is just staggering. Witness what happened to that American historian who pointed out their role in the mau-mau uprising in Kenya. The world’s greatest ever propaganda machine of all time so far and for probably all time to come.


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