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By Tapan Raychaudhuri and Irfan Habib

Vol. I: c. 1200–c. 1750 This quantity covers the so-called interval of Muslim rule in India, pointed out by way of a few as India’s heart a long time. Continuity instead of switch characterised so much features of financial lifestyles over very lengthy classes and the view that drastic or far-reaching discontinuities belong purely to the colonial period can't be discounted altogether. Monographs facing cross-sections of monetary lifestyles have often accredited the chronology of political heritage or just observed the appropriate centuries to point the temporal limits in their enquiry. Questions as to if the commercial phenomena mentioned in such works range considerably, if in any respect, from their opposite numbers in proximate epochs are seldom raised. The validity of the dates showing within the identify of a quantity is just assumed. frequently the one justification for them is that the resources consulted belong to the time in query, even if fabric from a unique century may inform the same tale. Vol. II: c. 1757–c. 1970 the second one quantity covers the interval 1757-1970, from the institution of British rule to its termination, with epilogues at the post-Independence interval. half I opens with a wide description of the economic climate in the midst of the eighteenth century, then describes basic fiscal traits in 4 major areas as much as the center of the 19th century, and contains a dialogue of alterations within the agrarian constitution as much as the tip of 1947. half II takes up numerous subject matters for the economic climate as an entire, whereas half III bargains with post-Independence advancements in India and Pakistan. The Cambridge financial background of India should be broadly authorized because the commonplace paintings of reference at the topic, and the volumes could be of relevance to fields except fiscal heritage, being the 1st significant collaborative paintings of its variety to discover the shift of a complicated Asian civilization from pre-colonial occasions to independence.

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THE MID-EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY BACKGROUND 29 Paradoxically, the political instability of the eighteenth century helped strengthen the ties connecting distant credit markets. The use of bills of exchange and hundis in place of ready cash became increasingly common. By the middle of the eighteenth century the entire revenue of the eastern provinces was sent as a hundi drawn by Jagat Seth on his agents in Delhi. Towards the end of the eighteenth century, one comes across another sign of market integration: in Bengal and Bihar urban artisans are found producing coarse cloth for rural consumers.

In the 1750s in Bengal, Orme found hardly a single village near the main roads and large towns where every inhabitant was not engaged in the manufacture of textiles. By the mid-eighteenth century, the staples of long-distance trade were procured almost entirely from the arangs, or localized centres of production, rather than from scattered groups of producers or local markets. The European Companies' trading stations provided important nuclei for this development, contributing to the growth of major new cities like Madras and Calcutta.

The sixteenth- and seventeenth-century sources he cites as evidence, however, emphasize equally non-specialized manufacturing activity by peasants. Even Buchanan writing in the early nineteenth century presents a similar picture though by then the peasantry was evidently far more involved with manufacturing for the market. 22 THE MID-EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY BACKGROUND tage of government weakness. 1 If the traditional system of rural manufactures was evidently not in decline, it co-existed and was to some degree involved with a commercialized sector of artisan industries — both rural and urban - in which the producers were not servants of village communities.

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