1st Edition

The Decline of British Industrial Hegemony Bengal Industries 1914–46

By Indrajit Ray Copyright 2022
    346 Pages 14 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    346 Pages 14 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Through two World Wars and the Great Depression, this book explores the turbulent history of colonial Indian industry in the period immediately prior to independence.

    Focusing on five major industries in Bengal - coal mining, iron-smelting, jute manufacturing, paper making and tea plantation – the book looks at the impact of the war efforts on production, employment and capital: some industries experienced rapid growth due to additional investment, others suffered due to the dislocation of markets. Moreover, by drawing lessons from the war economy (especially the dearth of various essential commodities including war materials), the colonial government took up various measures in the inter-war period to promote India’s domestic industries for the first time. Additionally, the book also argues that many of the expatriate firms in India became financially weak because of the Depression which paved the way for the ‘Indianisation’ of corporate houses. These elements were significant factors in the decline of British industrial hegemony in India and aided the de-colonisation process which followed.

    This book will be of interest to scholars of Indian economic history as well as those with wider interests in decolonisation, industrial history and the first half of the twentieth century.

    Chapter I: Introduction
    Chapter II: Britain’s Imperium in India and the Embarrassment of Its Currency
    Chapter III: Questions in Coal Mining: Productivity, Transportation and Marketing

    Chapter IV: Iron-smelting and Its Downstreams: The Take-off Stage
    Chapter V: Progress in Jute Processing: Challenges and Opportunities                            
    Chapter VI: Problems of Paper-making: Marketing, Raw materials and Technology                                              Chapter VII: Tales of Tea processing: Plantation on the Himalayan Slopes                                                 
    Chapter VIII: Major Industries in 1914-46: A summary
    List of figures
    List of tables


    Indrajit Ray is Professor in the Department of Commerce at the University of North Bengal, India.