ADVERSE IMPACT OF BRITISH RULE
By 1818, all the princely states of Rajputana had entered into treaties with the British, with the latter assuming responsibility for the formers’ security. Though this reduced the expenditure of the princely states on the army, it was a blow to local businesses dependent on the army. In the meantime, the British gained complete control over the principal trading commodities of Rajputana such as salt, opium and cotton. The defective octroi policy of the British resulted in the escalation of the cost of goods exported to the British Indian states. This made it necessary for the Marwaris to start their business in the British-protected trading centres to avoid the increase in the cost of their goods owing to the excessive octroi levied elsewhere.
The British gradually established a complete monopoly over foreign trade in India. The Charter Act of 1813 gave British traders complete freedom of access to trade in India; consequently, they set up their own offices in Bombay and Calcutta, the two major Indian ports. They did, however, need a large number of agents to procure raw material from India and to sell goods manufactured in Britain. As the traders of Rajputana had no source of livelihood left, they were forced to make the best of available opportunities and became the agents and banias of the British traders. They had begun to feel that it was better to conduct business in pardesh, if they could not earn money by persevering in their own desh. Above: The Vaishyas fought numerous battles and won wars as commanders of armies. Many rulers appointed them as ministers, advisors, administrators, treasurers and diwans in their durbars.They played a significant role in the state administration and held all the key positions for the smooth functioning of numerous principalities. They remained the most trusted class of people by the Mughals, Rajputs and other Indian rulers.
Top left: A munim (accountant)