ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846
-A A +A

Early Twentieth Century Agrarian Assam: A Brief and Preliminary Overview

Unlike the rest of the subcontinent, Assam retained many elements of its tribal economy well into the 19th century. With the British invasion the picture began to change gradually. Opening up of the Brahmaputra Valley in 1826 brought about two major changes in the mode of surplus extraction. One, colonial capital flowed into tea plantations, along with indentured labourers from mainland India. Though immensely profitable for the planters, this had a limited impact on the larger peasant economy of Assam. A more fundamental second change - spurred by the revenue of the colonial state, infusion of merchant capital and immigration of peasants from East Bengal - started a process of land alienation, commercialisation and indebtedness. In time, the agrarian economy of Assam started to resemble, and become firmly integrated with, the rest of the subcontinent. This essay examines a few aspects of this economic change.

Subscribers please login to access full text of the article.

New 3 Month Subscription
to Digital Archives at

649for India

$20for overseas users

Get instant access to the complete EPW archives

Subscribe now

Comments

(-) Hide

EPW looks forward to your comments. Please note that comments are moderated as per our comments policy. They may take some time to appear. A comment, if suitable, may be selected for publication in the Letters pages of EPW.

Back to Top