People’s History of India series # 25 – Indian Economy under Early British Rule: 1757–1857

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Indian Economy under Early British Rule cover

Irfan Habib

December 2013

9.5 x 6.25 inches
xii+128 pages
ISBN: 978-93-82381-28-0
Rs 280

This volume in the People’s History of India series fills a void in the current literature in modern Indian economic history, which lacks a general account of Indian economy in the first century of British rule (1757–1857). R.C.Dutt’s classic Economic History is now over a hundred years old. The present monograph takes account of both the research and controversies that have taken place since R.C. Dutt’s time, and seeks to present a coherent description of the changes in Indian economy brought about by the pressure for tribute, the British land settlements and the triumph of free trade. In order to set these changes in a proper perspective, it begins by furnishing a survey of pre-colonial economic conditions (in the earlier part of the eighteenth century).A notable feature of the book is its constant reference to how aspects of Indian economy were seen and interpreted by contemporary observers.  This is accomplished partly by a rich collection of extracts from the sources. There are also special notes on current interpretations of eighteenth-century history, the nature of tribute or drain of wealth from India to England, and the scope and problems of historical demography. There are bibliographical notes and a very helpful index. The book constantly keeps in view the needs of the general reader as well as the student. Anyone seeking to understand the major underpinnings of our colonial economy would find in this book much new insight and information.

Irfan Habib, Professor Emeritus at the Aligarh Muslim University, is the author of The Agrarian System of Mughal India, 1556–1707(1963; revised edition 1999),An Atlas of the Mughal Empire (1982), Essays in Indian History: Towards a Marxist Perception(1995), Medieval India: The Study of a Civilization (2007), Economic History of Medieval India,1200–1500 (with collaborators,2011) and Atlas of Ancient Indian History (with Faiz Habib, 2012).He has co-edited The Cambridge Economic History of India, Vol. I, UNESCO’s History of Humanity, Vols. 4 and 5, and UNESCO’s History of Central Asia, Vol.5. He is the General Editor of the People’s History of India, and has authored seven volumes and co-authored two volumes in the series.


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