Unyielding Land

  • Tirthankar RoyEmail author
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Economic History book series (PEHS)


Although business did well in colonial India, agriculture stayed poor. Cultivation of land engaged more than two-thirds of the employed population. Cultivated land increased by 50% between 1860 and 1920. The opportunity to trade encouraged the trend. That commercialization made many merchants rich. But it made little difference to the peasants and landlords. As population increased, and few people could find good jobs outside the village, the poverty of the village was shared by more people. Why did the village produce more and yet stay poor?


Agriculture in India Railways Commercialization of agriculture in India Landlords Moneylenders 

Further Reading

  1. Latika Chaudhary, et al., ‘Agriculture,’ in L. Chaudhary, B. Gupta, T. Roy, and A. Swamy, eds., A New Economic History of Colonial India, London: Routledge, 2015.Google Scholar
  2. Tirthankar Roy, ‘A Delayed Revolution: Environment and Agrarian Change in India,’ Oxford Review of Economic Policy, 23(2), 2007, 239–250.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Economic HistoryLondon School of EconomicsLondonUK

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