Marwar - - Book Excerpt -

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)

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