British writings on Punjab Economy (1849-1947): historical analysis

Kaur, Amandeep
Punjabi University
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In this study we evaluated and examined writings of British writers cumadministrators in order to understand their perception and objectives. We critically examined these writings in the light of recent studies in order to have better understanding of colonial Punjab. The areas covered in study include domain of economic, social, cultural and religious spheres which are recognized as equally vital elements of this historical process. The present theme has been chosen for analysis because not much work has been done earlier. Further, whatever work is available in the form article required re-interpretation and critical evaluation of both the sources as well as perception of the scholars. With the annexation of Punjab in 1849 there arose political necessity to know and understand culture of the ruled population. The early British administrator did codification of this information and their major emphasizes though remained on precolonial political development. Yet they showed interest in different areas of economy. This happened because after capturing the power in Punjab, the Britishers had to face the ground reality in the form of different kinds of opposition. It compelled them to engage themselves on the above economic indicators. Though empirical structure in Punjab preferred to survive with the pre-British economic organization of population both in rural and urban areas, yet the British interest and the very nature of colonialism introduced certain significant changes in the field of economic system which favored the British Empire. This phenomon played havoc in the lives of people of Punjab who came in to debt and were forced to live in such situations. These writers emphasized beneficial aspects of these developments and attempted to convince the readers about the comparative prosperity provided by the order and peace establish under the British rule. They blamed the illiteracy and certain other inherent limitation in the culture of Punjab for under development in economy of Punjab. The failure of these writers to reflect on the future socio-political ramifications of the British economic policies of Punjab resulted in partition of India in 1947 because they failed to check a dominant under current of the demand for separate country by the alleged victimized groups. Link -