Phases of colonialism

Colonialism is a Marxist concept coined by Karl Marx. Colonialism is defined as a mechanism by which a colonial power not only controls political authority but also socio- economic and cultural spheres of the conquered country. This colonial exploitation was dynamic in nature ad changed from time to time. In modern India it has three phases. Mercantile Phase from 1757 to 1813. During this phase, the aim of all the activities of the company were to accumulate the wealth of India in terms of raw material and money.

For this purpose commercialization of agriculture was introduced and large scale export of raw material took place to support British industries. To exploit the riches of India through tax, new revenue settlement policy was introduced such as zamindari, mahalwari and ryotwari systems. Goverment has introduced regulating act and pitt’s act to establish a centralised administration. British fought many wars and crushed princely states and beought them under colonial authority. Free Trade Phase from 1813 to 1860.

During this phase, British witnessed tremendous industrial growth due to industrial revolution. British industrial policy made India not only the exporter of raw material but also the consumer of British industrial goods. Charter Act of 1813 ended the monopoly of the company and Govt opened trade with India for everyone. The need for raw material and market for industrial goods resulted in the formation of free trade policy. In this policy, Indian goods entered British with huge tariffs and British goods entered India for free. This has led to disintegration of traditional Indian handicrafts and cottage industries and faced virtual extinction.

The displaced workers took to agriculture. Mass Capitalism from 1860 onwards. With stiff competition from other industrial countries like USA and Europe in trade and commerce, British found India as the safest place to invest its capital and soon established heavy industries and infrastructure to support as well as to exploit. The industrial policy grossly neglected the native industries. Before this phase started British exploited only urban areas but with improved infrastructure theyreached the remote corners of India and exploited the riches to the core.