Saturday, July 25, 2009

Bangladesh, Economic Condition (1918-1923)

It was welknown that the Muslim masses were educationally and culturaly backward as compared to the Hindus. But they had the vanity of beeing the successsor of those who ruled Delhi for some centuries which distorted their political outlook and they relied more onthe attitude and behavior of the British thantheir Hindu counterpart. The British also wanted to utilise the weaknesses of the Muslims against the freedom struggle of India led by the Hindus. For a comparitively short period the Muslims rallied along with their non-Muslim brethren in the anti-British struggle during Khilafat movement.
During and after the war the miseries of the people worsened day by day. As a consequence of the crop failure in 1918-1919, the production of the food grain fell sharply.As against million tons of wheat and 35.9 million tons of rice in 1917-18, the production in 1918-19 was only 7.5 million tons of wheat and 24.3 million tons of rice . This decline in production together with the plunder by traders in foodgrains created apppalling famine conditions in various parts of the country . The famine together with the epidemics that followed took a heavy toll of human lives, particularly among the rural people. The estimated toll in this catatrophe was put between 12 to 13 million.
At the same time , the Indian economy as a whole was heading towards a deep crisis.For instance, the ratio of the prices of goods exported from India to the prices of goods imported in to India was turning unfavourable to the country. Taking the prices of imported goods in 1913-14 as 100, it icreased to 101 in 1914-15, 126 in 1915-16, 170 in 1916-17, 211 in 1917-18, 268 in 1918-19. At the same time the price indices of exports for the same period were 102, 103,117, 125, and 150 respectively.It was when the gap between the two was the widest that famine spread throughout the country.
As regards to the factories the wages off workers diminished proportionately.