Q.3:- What were the main causes of India’s agricultural stagnation during the colonial period?
Indian agriculture was primitive and stagnant. The main causes of stagnation of agriculture sector were as follows:
- Land Tenure System. There were three forms of Land tenure system introduced by the British rulers in India. These were:
(a) Zamindari system
(b) Mahalwari system
(c) Ryotwari system
In the Zamindari system, Zamindars or landlords were the owners of land. The actual collections by Zamindars was much higher than what they had to pay to the Government. Zamindari system led to multiplication of middlemen between cultivators and Government, absentee landlordism, exploitation of peasants by unsympathetic agents and enmity between landlords and tenants. Under the system, intermediaries benefited at the cost of both actual cultivators and the state.
- Commercialisation of Agriculture. Commercialisation of agriculture means production of crops for sale in the market rather than for self consumption. Farmers were forced to cultivate commercial crops like Indigo. Indigo was required by the textile industry in Britain for dyeing of the textile. As a result, there was fall in the production of food crops. The farmers had to suffer from frequent occurence of famine. Indian agriculture was transformed into a raw material exporting sector for England.
- Partition of the Country. Partition of the country in 1947 also adversely affected India’s agricultural production. The rich food producing areas of West Punjab and Sindh went to Pakistan. It created food crisis in the country. Also, the whole of fertile land under jute production went to East Pakistan. The jute industry was most severely affected due to partition.
Thus, Indian agriculture became backward, stagnant and non-vibrant under the British rule. Indian Economy on the Eve of Independence .