A Few Facts about British Rule in India

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A Few Facts about British Rule in India  (1915) 
The Hindustan Gadar Office

There is no truth in the assertion made by British newspapers that India is loyal to the British or sympathizes with their cause. India is from one end to another Dis- Affected. The country is seething with anti-British revolutionary ferment.

Why does India hate the British? The answer follows.

Editor Hindustan Gadar.
June, 1915.


The following facts concerning the effect of British rule in India are all taken from the writings of British officials or parties loyal to the British Government:

"I do not hestitate to say that half our agricultural population never know from year's end to year's end what it is to have their hunger fully satisfied." (Sir C. A. Elliott, One-Time Lieutenant Governor of Bengal.)

In 1880: "There remain 40,000,000 of people who go through life on insufficient food." Sir W. W. Hunter.

In 1893 the PIONEEE sums up Mr. Grierson's facts regarding the various sections of the population in Gaya: "Briefly, it is that all the persons of the labouring classes, and 10 per cent of the cultivating and artisan classes, or 45 per cent of the total population, are insufficiently clothed, or insufficiently fed, or both. In Gaya district this would give about a million persons without sufficient means of support. If we assume that the circumstances of Gaya are not exceptional — and there is no reason for thinking otherwise — it follows that nearly 100,000,000 of people in British India are living in extreme poverty."

In 1901: "The poverty and suffering of the people are such as to defy description. In fact, for nearlv fifteen years there has been A CONTINUOUS FAMINE IN INDIA owing to high prices."

"Since Sir William Hunter's remarks were made the population has increased (or is alleged to have increased) by nearly 30,000,000. Meanwhile the income of the Empire has greatly decreased during this period. Wherefore this follows : that is, with the same income, in 1880, 40,000,000 were insufficiently fed, the additional millions cannot have had, cannot now have, enough to eat; this again ensues:

"Forty million plus, say 30,000,000, make 70,000,000; and THERE ARE THIS NUMBER OF CONTINUALLY HUNGRY PEOPLE IN BRITISH INDIA AT THE BEGINNING OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY."(William Digby, C. I. E.)

DEATHS from FAMINE from 1891 to 1900 alone: 19,000,000.

In the year 1911-12 the TOTAL AREA under FOOD GRAINS was over 195,000,000 ACRES, plus 7.5, i. e., over 202,500,000 ACRES.

In 1912-13 India EXPORTED FOODSTUFFS of the value of over $260,000,000.

In 1913-14 she exported about $216,000,000 worth of foodstuffs.

"The recent famines are famines of money and not of food." (Lord George Hamilton, former Secretary of State for India.)

CAUSES.[edit]

  1. National industries deliberately crushed by the East India Company cannot revive under existing conditions.
  2. Annual drain of India.
  3. Lack of such education as will enable people to develop their resources.

DRAIN.[edit]

"The annual drain of £3,000,000 from British India has mounted in thirty years at 12 per cent (the usual Indian rate), compound interest, to the enormous sum of £723,900,000 sterling." — (Montgomery Martin, in 1830.)

"During the last thirty years of the century the average drain cannot have been far short of £30,000,000 per year, or, in the thirty years, £900,000,000, not reckoning interest." — (William Digby.)

Rev. J. T. Sunderland, in his work, "The Causes of Famine in India," like all impartial writers, has conclusively proved that neither "failure of rains" nor "overpopulation" is the cause of famines in India. He has stated that the real cause of famine is the extreme, the abject, the awful poverty of the Indian people caused by "ENORMOUS FOREIGN TRIBUTE," "British Indian Imperialism," and the destruction of Indian industries.

"The government assessment does not leave enough food to the cultivator to support himself and his family throughout the year." (Sir William Hunter, K. C. S. I., in the Viceroy's Council, 1883.)

"There is no more pathetic figure in the British Empire than the Indian peasant. His masters have ever been unjust to him. He is ground until everything has been expressed, except the marrow of his bones." (Mr. Herbert Compton, in "Indian Life," 1904.)

Hindusthan is an extensive agricultural country and the average land produces two crops a year, and in Bengal there are lands which produce thrice a year. Bengal alone produces such large crops that they are quite sufficient to provide ALL THE POPULATION OF HINDUSTHAN FOR TWO YEARS.

Adam Brooks says (Laws of Civilization and Decay, page 259-246): "Very soon after the battle of Plassey (fought in 1757) the Bengal plunder began to arrive in London and the effect appears to have been almost instantaneous. Probably since the world began no investment has yielded the profit reaped from the Indian plunder. The amount of treasure wrung from the conquered people and transferred from India to English banks between Plassey and Waterloo (fifty-seven years) has been variously estimated at from $2,500,000,000 to $5,000,000,000." The methods of plunder and embezzlement by which every Briton in India enriched himself during the earlier history of the East India Company gradually passed away, but the drain did not pass away. The difference between the earlier day and the present is that India's tribute to England is obtained by 'indirect methods' under forms of law. It was estimated by Mr. Hyndman some years ago that at least $175,000,000 is drained away every year from India without a cent's return.

"India pays interest on England's debt, which, in 1900, amounted to £244,000,000 sterling, and which annually increases. Besides this, she pays for all of the officers, civil and military, and a huge standing army, pensions of officers, and even the cost of the India Office Building in London, as well as the salary of every menial servant of that house. For 1901-02 the total expenditure charged against revenue was $356,971,410, out of which $84,795,515 was spent in England as 'Home Charges,' not including the pay of European officers in India, saved and remitted to England." (Swami Abhedananda, India and Her People.)

"When we come to this question of India's industrial domination by England, we come to what may be described as the most deplorable result of British rule in this country. In other matters there are things on the credit side and things on the debit side.

* * *

But when you come to the industrial field you will find that the results have been disastrous. You find very little here on the credit side and nearly all the entries on the debit side. Now, this is a serious statement to make, but I think it can be substantiated." (The Late Mr. G. K. Gokhale, the Leader of the Loyalists.)

Me. Alfred Webb (late M. P.), who has studied the subject with care, says: "In charges for the India office (in London) ; for recruiting (in Great Britain, for soldiers to serve in India) ; for civil and military pensions (to men now living in England, who were formerly in the Indian service) ; for pay and allowances on furloughs (to men on visits to England); for private remittances and consignments (from India to England) ; from interest on Indian debt (paid to parties in England) ; and for interest on railways and other works (paid to shareholders in England), there is annually drawn from India, and spent in the United Kingdom, a sum calculated at from £25,000,000 to £30,000,000. (Between $125,000,000 and $150,000,000.)"

Taxation in British India, as observed by impartial British writers: "The present condition of affairs undoubtedly renders the struggle for existence a hard one, as may be realized when it is considered that a vast population of India not only from the inevitable droughts which so frequently occur, BUT ALSO FROM A NARROW AND SHORTSIGHTED IMPERIAL POLICY WHICH PLACES EVERY OBSTACLE IN THE WAY OF INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT AND IMPOSES HEAVY TAXES ON THE STRUGGLING PEOPLE. According to various authorities Russia's demand upon land owners in her Central Asia possessions are not so exacting as ours in India, FOR THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT INSISTS ON A FIFTH OF THE PRODUCE, MAKING NO ALLOWANCE FOR GOOD OR BAD YEARS, WHILE RUSSIA IS SAID TO ASK ONLY A TENTH AND ALLOW FOR VARIATION OF PRODUCTION." (Pages 135-36, "Russia Against India, ' ' by Sir Archibald R. Colquhoun, Gold Medalist Royal Geographical Society.)

TAXATION.[edit]

The British policy of bleeding Indian people: "The injury is exaggerated in the case of India where so much of the revenue is exported without a direct equivalent. As India must be bled, the lancet should be directed to the parts where the blood is congested, or, at least, sufficient, not to those already feeble for the want of it." — (Lord Salisbury.)

PLAGUE DEATHS FROM 1897-1913: 7,251,257.

DEATH RATE was 34.28 for the year 1907-11.

Rural, from 23.5 to 41.8.

Urban, from 22.7 to 47.6.

INDIAN FINANCE.[edit]

The budget figures of the government of India for 1914-15 show the total estimated income for the year to be slightly over £85,000,000 sterling, of which more than £17,000,000 are given out as railway receipts and about £4,500,000 for irrigation works, thus leaving the pure revenue to be about £63,000,000.

The principal source of revenue is the land tax, which alone furnishes a little over £21,500,000, of which, if we deduct £9,000,000 shown as the "direct demand on the revenues," only £12,500,000 are left for general purposes. The military expenses alone are estimated at about £22,000,000, which is even in excess of the gross total receipts from the land tax, and is more than one-third of the total revenues from all sources.

Among the other heads of income Customs bring slightly over £7,000,000, and excise slightly over £9,000,000. Income tax is included under "Other Heads," which show a total figure of slightly over £5,000,000.

The income tax, which is levied on incomes other than those derived from agriculture, is only 6y 2 pence in a pound on incomes of £133 or more a year, and almost 5 pence a pound on incomes below that figure. The minimum taxable income is £66 2/3 a year, which shows that all incomes of between £5 to £6 a month, or between 25 shillings to 30 shillings a week are taxed. The large fortunes made by Europeans and Indians by trade, speculation, manufacture and unearned increments of valuation are thus easily let off. The principal burden of taxation falls on the poor ryot.

Income from agriculture is supposed to be taxed at the rate of 50 per cent of the net income of the landlord, or at the rate of 20 per cent of the gross produce of the ryot, under the ryotwari system. In some cases it exceeds these proportions and is as high as 65 per cent.

Customs, which furnish the principal source of revenue in the United States and Germany, yields less than $7,500,000. The imports are charged ad valorem duty of 5 per cent, with special conditions as to textiles, and "a large free list." The textile woven goods pay a duty of 3V-> per cent, and Lancashire is protected by a corresponding excise duty on textile goods produced in the country. Iron and steel pay only a nominal duty of 1 per cent. The other principal source of revenue is the drink traffic, from which the government of India makes an income of about nine million pounds, sterling. How much loss in morals it inflicts thereby on the country may better be imagined. That, however, is another story.

"In replying to a question of mine in April last (1907) Mr. Morley (now Lord) stated that 50 per cent of the net assets is the ordinary standard of assessment of land revenue alone throughout India. Net assets mean the annual profit after paying the cost of cultivation, the income, in fact, of the farmer. So we have it admitted that the normal land tax is 10 shillings in the pound. The word "alone" needs explanation. It means that the farmer has besides his land tax many other rates and taxes to pay for roads, police, irrigation, public works, etc. Mr. Morley 's answer suggested that 50 per cent is the higher limit of land tax throughout India ; so a few days later I questioned him definitely in regard to the Central Provinces, giving date and number of the government of India's order. The reply I received runs thus: "The rule at present in force in the Central Provinces is that the assessment should not be less than 50 per cent and should not exceed 60 per cent, but in exceptional cases, if the existing assessment has hitherto exceeded 65 per cent and been paid ivithout difficulty, it is provided that the assessment shall be fixed at 65 per cent." It, therefore, appears that 50 per cent is the lower limit and it may be 65 per cent if it can be paid without difficulty. We are always assured that the land tax is light and paid without difficulty, which, perhaps, explains the fact that in the Central Provinces over a million people disappeared or died of starvation between 1894-1901, as admitted in the census report of the late years. ("The Causes of the Present Discontent in India," by C. J. O'Donnell, M. P., page 110-111.)

To give an adequate idea about the way the land revenue is increased even in famine years, we repro- duce an extract below:

"The explanatory memorandum to the Indian budget, issued last July by the Secretary of State, gives on page 12, that the total land revenue of the Indian Empire collected in 1905-06, was $90,647,860, and his own budget of land revenue for the following years, 1901-08, $97,726,000. The increase is $7,078,140, or nearly 8 per cent, in twenty-four months roundly at the rate of 40 per cent in a single decade." (Page 105, The Causes of the Present Discontent in India," by C. J. O'Donnell, M. P.)

IRRIGATION TAX.[edit]

We beg to quote a few lines to prove the real motive of the British Government about the so-called "benevolent irrigation work" in India:

"The capital of $35,000,000 invested in the Punjab canals yielded in 1905-07 the large net profit of 10y 2 per cent, whilst in the case of the Chenab canal it rose to the extraordinary and unhealthy figure of nearly 22 per cent."