Printing press came to India from the Portuguese missionaries. However it was the East India Company that imported presses in the 17th century that boosted the press. English censorship was directed towards Englishmen and Lord Wellesley curtailed freedom of press to prevent Englishmen from publishing reports about the Company rule.
James Augustus Hickey in 1780 started The Bengal Gazette or Calcutta General Advertiser, the first newspaper in India, which was seized in 1872 because of its outspoken criticism of the Government.
The Company’s officers were worried that these newspapers might reach London and expose their misdeeds. Thus they saw the need for curbs on the press.
Censorship of Press Act, 1799, Lord Wellesley enacted this, anticipating French invasion of India. It imposed almost wartime press restrictions including pre-censorship. These restrictions were relaxed under Lord Hastings, who had progressive views, and in 1818, pre-censorship was dispensed with.
Licensing Regulations, 1823, The acting governor-general John Adams, who had reactionary views, enacted these. According to these regulations, starting or using a press without licence was a penal offence. These restrictions were directed chiefly against Indian language newspapers or those edited by Indians.
Press Act of 1835 or Metcalfe Act, Metcalfe (governorgeneral-1835-36) repealed the obnoxious 1823 ordinance and earned the epithet, “liberator of the Indian press”. The new Press Act (1835) required a printer/publisher to give a precise account of premises of a publication and cease functioning, if required by a similar declaration.
Licensing Act, 1857, Due to the emergency caused by the 1857 revolt, this Act imposed licensing restrictions in addition to the already existing registration procedure laid down by Metcalfe Act and the Government reserved the right to stop publication and circulation of any book, newspaper or printed matter.
Registration Act, 1867, This replaced Metcalfe’s Act of 1835 and was of a regulatory, not restrictive, nature. As per the Act, every book/newspaper was required to print the name of the printer and the publisher and the place of the publication; and a copy was to be submitted to the local government within one month of the publication of a book.
VERNACULAR PRESS ACT, 1878 A bitter legacy of the 1857 revolt was the racial bitterness between the ruler and the ruled. After 1858, the European press always rallied behind the Government in political controversies while the vernacular press was critical of the Government. There was a strong public opinion against the imperialistic policies of Lytton, compounded by terrible famine (1876-77), on the one hand, and lavish expenditure on the imperial Delhi Durbar, on the other.
The Vernacular Press Act (VPA) was designed to ‘better control’ the vernacular press and effectively punish and repress seditious writing. The provisions of the Act included the following.
The district magistrate was empowered to call upon the printer and publisher of any vernacular newspaper to enter into a bond with the Government undertaking not to cause disaffection against the Government or antipathy between persons of different religions, caste, race through published material; the printer and publisher could also be required to deposit security which could be forefeited if the regulation were contravened, and press equipment could be seized if the offence reoccurred
The magistrate’s action was final and no appeal could be made in a court of law.
A vernacular newspaper could get exemption from the operation of the Act by submitting proofs to a government censor. The Act came to be nicknamed “the gagging Act”.
There was strong opposition to the Act and finally Ripon repealed it in 1882. In 1883, Surendranath Banerjee became the first Indian journalist to be imprisoned. In an angry editorial in The Bengalee Banerjee had criticised a judge of Calcutta High Court for being insensitive to the religious sentiments of Bengalis in one of his judgement
Newspaper (Incitement to Offences) Act, 1908 Aimed against Extremist nationalist activity, the Act empowered the magistrates to confiscate press property which published objectionable material likely to cause incitement to murder/ acts of violence.
Indian Press Act, 1910 This Act revived the worst features of the VPA — local government was empowered to demand a security at registration from the printer/publisher and forfeit/deregister if it was an offending newspaper, and the printer of a newspaper was required to submit two copies of each issue to local government free of charge.
China was a country famous for tea, silk and porcelain. These product had a huge demand in World trade but mostly the demand was Chinese Tea. To import tea English traders had to pay in gold or silver. The balance of trade was unfavorable and so Englishmen devised a second strategy.
They manufactured Opium in India, smuggled it through traders into China and sold it to Chinese traders for gold and silver. This was used to pay for Chinese imports. This trade was now in favor of British but morally damaged the Chinese. The entire nation was now addicted to this drug, it is estimated that 12 million Chinese were opium smokers.
The story of opium production in India is different. The Indian farmers were forced to manufacture opium and this was damaging to them as:
However the farmers rioted and refused to accept advances.They cultivated other crops instead. The farmers sometimes would sell opium to other traders who paid a higher price.
Soon farmers outside governments areas started making opium. This would then be sold to traders in Calcutta who would ship it to China. Thus the governments monopoly over opium was reducing.
Pastorals had multiple factors to decide as a part of living like where to find suitable pastures or grazing grounds for the herds, how to form a relationship with the farmers so that herds could graze harvested soil and manure the fields, calculate timing of the movements of the herds so that they could pas uninterrupted and also decide how long herd could stay in one area.
Pastoral life under Colonial rule:
Fig 1: Pastorals in India
Indian textiles had a huge demand in the World markets. The Indian cloth were hand made and exquisite. However after colonization the Indian textile industry declined as artisans lost their markets overseas as well as in India. The British policy was to blame for this:
However during the First World War the Indian industry boomed again and recovered its share in the domestic market.
The iron industry too was affected by the British policies like cotton industry.