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DMPQ-. “In it’s initial phase India’s nationalism has economic roots.” Discuss.

. The origins of economic nationalism can be traced back to the second half of the 19th century when Indian leaders like Dadabhai Naoroji, Mahadev Govind Ranade and Romesh Chandra Dutt among others began realizing that the British rule was economically exploiting India and that it was largely responsible for keeping India under extreme poverty. From this a whole generation of Indian leaders like Gopal Krishna Gokhle, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, G.V. Joshi and many others developed a systematic and comprehensive economic critique of the British rule.

They emphasized that the colonial rule was economically exploiting India in a variety of ways. Initially this exploitation was confined to heavy taxation of the peasantry and the unequal trade with India. It was an unequal trade because the British East India Company (which was granted a monopoly of trade with India by the British Parliament) bought Indian goods very cheap and sold British manufactured goods to India at a very expensive rate. This resulted in India’s wealth going to England. It also destroyed the traditional handicraft industries of India. However, in the 19th century, whereas this form of economic exploitation continued, new and more complex forms of exploitation came into being. Now the colonial rulers exploited India as a supplier of raw material for their industries and a market where the goods produced in the British industries could be sold. India was made to cultivate those raw materials (like cotton or jute) which were required by British industries. The impact of this was that India’s wealth, which could have been utilized for India’s industrialization and economic development, was utilized instead for Britain’s economic development. The Indian nationalist leaders learnt these vital facts and propagated them at the same time.

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