chapter  4
The Myth and Reality of Deindustrialisation in Early Modern India
WithIndrajit Ray
Pages 15

This chapter reviews the post-colonial literature to ascertain whether it can adequately justify the occurrence of deindustrialisation in India during the colonial period. It discusses the alternative definitions of the term, and the origins and antecedents of the hypothesis. The chapter also discusses the post-colonial literature on the explanation of deindustrialisation, dividing it into two broad fields: the neo-Marxian school, and the mainstream schools. The post-colonial literature is dominated by attempts to explain India's deindustrialisation, but has not investigated enough whether the event actually took place. The chapter explores the genesis of the debate in the writings of Marx, traces the subsequent debate that largely followed the legacy of Marx, and also followed a link that the nationalists drew between British policy and industrial decline. It further discusses that from the standpoint of economic history, it is necessary to distinguish three issues: the definition of the term, the question of its occurrence, and the explanation of the event.