Saturday, September 3, 2011
Indian Society and Its inherent characters (contd-1)
"That unity , imposed by the British Sword, will now be strengthened perpetuated by the electric telegraph. The army organised and trained by the British drill-sergeant, was the sine qua non of Indian self-emancipation and of India causing to be the prey of the first foreign intruder. The free press introduced for the first time into Asiatic society, and managed principally by the common offspring of Hindus and Europeans, is a new powerful agent of reconstruction. The zamindary and Riotwari themselves, abominable as they are , involve two distance forms of private property in hand - the great desideratum of Asiatic society.From the Indian natives reluctantly and sparingly educated at Calcutta, under English superintendence, a fresh class is springing up, endowed with the requirements for Government, and imbued with European science. . Steam has brought India into regular rapid communication with Europe, has connected its chief ports with those of the whole south eastern ocean and has rev indicated it from the isolated position which is the prime law of its stagnation.The day is not far distant when, by a combination of railways and steam vessels the distance between England and India, measured by time, will be shortened to eight days and when that once fabulous country will thus be actually annexed to the western world.
Marx gave a pre-eminent role to the construction of railways in fulfilling the mission of "regeneration" by the British in India. Marx saw in the introduction of railways a step that would help bring about a total change in the traditional image of India:
It is notorious that the productive powers of India are paralysed by the utter want of means of conveying and exchanging its various produce. Nowhere, more than in India, do we meet with social destitution in the midst of natural plenty for for want of means of exchange ....The introduction of railroads may be easily made to sub serve agricultural purposes by the formation of tanks where ground is required for embankment and by the conveyance of water along different lines. Thus irrigation, the sine quo non of farming in the East might be greatly extended and the frequently recurring local famines , arising from the want of water, would be averted.
The importance of railways does not end with this . It is the beginning of the process which the Marx characterizes as the "laying of the material foundations of society". Marx continues :