Articles English Literature

Economics Diurnal of Banned Truth, by Prof. Santosh Bhaduaria, Translator: Dr. Shamenaz

Written by GNK

GNK English Desk

03 December 2022

Economics Diurnal of Banned Truth

Writer – Professor Santosh Bhadauria,

(Department of Hindi & Director, Institute of Gandhian Thought and Peace Studies, University of Allahabad, India)

Translator – Dr. Shamenaz,

Department of English, Rajarshi Tandon Mahila Mahavidyalaya, Allahabad, India

The Indian political environment in the nineteenth century and the first four decades of the twentieth century were marked by global upheaval. This was the period when the events that took place on the international scene had a massive impact on world politics.In Germany, France, Italy and many countries of Europe, the workers established their unity and their fighting power accelerated. One of the branches of the Indian National Congress started functioning in England. The active workers of the Indian independence movement established contact with the socialist activists of the working classes of Europe and America. Historically, this period of the Indian independence movement is very important. In 1896, the imperial European power, Italy, clashed with the African country of Abyssinia. In the struggle, Italy was defeated. In the Boer War of 1899-1902, England faced great troubles. One of the most powerful countries in the World, Russia was defeated by Asian country, Japan. Labourers and Farmers of Russia raised the flags of revolution against the Czars. American goods were boycotted in China. This was also a part of the revolutionary movement.1
Success of any economic movement depends on newsletters and magazines. In the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, to establish itself as a nation against the existing system and to struggle against modern state society and culture, Europe used newspapers and magazines. The important work of providing the philosophical base of the state revolution of France first only possible due to newspapers and magazines. It was newspapers and magazines through which Indian Intelligence tried to spread their social opinion among people and generated sentiments against economic exploitation.

Economic exploitation was the priority of the British in India. The fact is that in those times economic exploitation of a country was not possible without political domination. So the essential condition for economic exploitation is to establish political dominance. The famous American scholar Jack Woddis has defined colonialism as – The political essence of colonialism is the absolute subordination of one country directly to another country on the basis of monarchy. In this system, the state power is in the hands of an enlightened foreign power.2 Jack Woddis, outlining the objectives of the political subjugation of Asian and other other countries of the Third World by Western countries in the last century, writes in – this direct political power had two purposes: Keeping the people of the colonial countries politically enslaved and exploiting the people and resources of the country in all possible ways.3 This can be clearly seen in all the laws passed by the British colonial government in India.
The main motives behind English colonialism in India were driven by economic interests. The direct rule of the people living in the colony was needed not only because of their easy exploitation of the people of the colony, but also because of the potential competition. Explaining the meaning of imperialism, Lenin wrote that the imperialist powers preferred to colonize because it was the only way in which the authorities could have a complete guarantee of success under the threat of conflict with competing competitors. Because it is easier to eliminate competition in an official way in a colonized market, orders (purchases) are ensured, necessary relationships can be strengthened.4 Through colonialism, the British looted the people of India in many ways. On the strength of their power, they made available cheap land, cheap labour and cheap resources from the colonies. Farmers were forced to pay for the raw materials that were exported. Most of the finished goods that were imported from the imperialist country were made of raw materials taken for the colony. For these, an officially controlled market was available to them in the colonies.5
The Indian people were forced to sell their labour and produce at low prices under British rule, at the same time they were forced to buy goods made in England at a higher price. In economic terminology, unfavourable terms of exchange were imposed on the Indians.6 Due to the destructive policy of the British, both the Indian industry and the agricultural system were destroyed leading to the damage of the Indian economy, as well as education, culture and human activities of the Indian were greatly influenced. In the early period of independence, Indian intelligentsia knew the economic exploitation of agriculture and Indian industry. Indian National Congress in their annual session underlined the economic exploitation and passed a resolution on it. But in the 20th century, the consequences of this economic exploitation were really visible in front of the Indian public. Dadabhai Naoroji came forward and contributed in this field. In the early decades of the 20th century, in addition to poems and stories, debate and discussion on India’s economic problems started independently.
In India, poems and editorials were published in the banned Hindi newspapers and magazines about economic problems, which is proof that political struggle cannot be completed without economic struggle. The files of newspapers published during the freedom movement like “Sainik”, “Chand”, “Swadesh”, “Vartman”, “Viplav”, “Kranti” are witnesses of such an indictment. From time to time, the articles and comments which have been published in banned newspapers and magazines, keeping the rules of economics and India’s economic problems clearly in front of the Indian public and analyzing them, are noteworthy.
The ‘Swadeshi movement’ is a notable event in the Indian independence movement. Almost all the Hindi newspapers and magazines played an important role in taking this movement forward. The banned newsletter, “Chand”, in its ‘Swadeshi movement’ title release presented various figures and wrote – that every incident of expansion of the English empire in the country is a witness to the fact that India is ruled from the point of view of economic benefit of England. Now our brothers and sisters who wear foreign clothes put their hands on their hearts and ask their conscience that by seeing their 33 crore brothers in hell, endangering the freedom of India’s neighbouring country, presenting means of spiritual downfall of the ruling class, and even after throwing their own children in the face of death, do they want foreign clothes or not?7 Ganga Narayan Awasthi’s poem entitled ”Charkha Mahatmya’ published in the banned letter Voltaire is also noteworthy –

Kai maru baajan ki, shab pratidhwani hove,
Sura ko utsah kroor kayar dal rova8

The outlook of the Hindi magazine, ‘Alankar’ was completely socialist. They have often published many articles in protest against the capitalist system. The following lines are clearly against capitalism – the capitalists of slave India! You are investing your money in which businesses? Waved in the strong undercurrents of the contemporary thoughts of the world, my heart asks anxiously, where are you investing your capital? Your all namesake businesses are ending up enslaving the country more and more. At this time, there is only one business in which you, me and all of us should put all our capital, and that is the business of creating freedom.9 The working class is a product of the capitalist system. The following lines from ‘Shanichar’, a poem by Prabhakar Machwe published in Viplav, depict the pitiable condition of the labourer in the capitalist system –

Ek majduron ki gandi si ‘chaal’
Vahan Roshani bhi Badi Mushkil se le ja sakti
Hawa Ko To Hai Desh nikala Sa Mila
Ab bahti Hai sadaas badbu Bhari Nali
Rahte hain vahan Kai Kutumb Ek sath 10

The article, ‘Labor Party and India’11 published in Vijayank of ‘Swadesh’ had expressed happiness over the Labor Party coming to power in England. The condition of India is explained and the imperialist character of England is exposed in it. The author of this article is Krishna Dev Prasad Gour. In the same issue of Swadesh, a one-act play titled ‘In the claws of Red Revolution’ has been published, whose author is the editor of the newsletter, Pandey Bechan Sharma ‘Ugra’. It has expressed its reaction to the coming to power of the Czar regime in Russia. The complete one act is divided into 8 scenes. The last sentence of the one-act is remarkable – “What a good conversation! The oppressor got the fruits of his deeds.
Ravana is destroyed. The supporters of capitalism were killed like dogs. Today our beloved Russia became holy. Today, we clearly see a smile on the face of the beloved motherland. Mother, please contend yourself with it. May the blind eyes of the world open with the blood of Czars and they return the huts of the poor.12 ‘The divine light of communism in the darkness of capitalism’ 13 is an important article by Pandit Vishwambhar Nath Jija which has been published in Vijayank of ‘Swadesh’. In this article, an account of the inequalities of capitalism was presented and communism was advocated.
Capitalism and Fascism are closely related to each other. In the Hindi newspaper, ‘Naya Hindustan’, an editorial has been published with the title, ‘Funeral of Fascism is tied’, whose lines are in sight – “With the disintegration of capitalism and fascism, from their ashes, a new society, a new world will rise in Asia and Europe. The world of workers, the world of farmers, the world of peace-loving and progress-loving laborious people, in which there will be no exploitation, no injustice, no carnage of war. 14 In the same issue of ‘Naya Hindustan’, under the title ‘Boycott Foreign Goods’, 15 the Calcutta Congress’s (1928) resolution was published, in which the Congress determined that it will start a movement to boycott all the foreign clothes in general and British goods in particular.
Banned Hindi newspapers and magazines have prominently published articles and poems related to the farmer’s movement. The British rule broke the backbone of the Indian farmer. Our helpless farmers were attacked from all sides. Hindi weekly paper, ‘Abhyudaya’, which was published from Allahabad, published its Kisan issue on 18 November 1937. Many compositions related to farmers were published in it. Because of its explosive material, the provincial government confiscated this issue of ‘Abhyuday’.16 In the Voltier letter, in his articles, ‘Legal Elusion’, Todar Singh Tomar has called upon the farmers to unite – Farmers can be benefited only when one farmer shows full and true sympathy to the other, not in words but in action. So unless farmers will not help each other (not with money, but with the organization) then it is difficult to get rid of the atrocities. Brother farmers! think and be shy.17
The banned Hindi newspapers and magazines chose only those writings and compositions as their subject matter, which were directly related to the economic problems of colonial India. During the colonial period, many articles were written on the two aspects of the Indian economy – agriculture and industry. All such articles are a reflection of editorial understanding and awareness of the circumstances. These articles were published in colloquial language for the Indian public. Many important articles were published on the economic condition of Indian farmers and agricultural reforms. We can understand the economic condition of India by readinging Hindi newspapers and magazines of that time.
In order to bring out the destructive and exploitative form of imperialism, Hindi newspapers and magazines have made a historical analysis of the Indian textile industry. It is accepted even today that before the beginning of British rule, India’s domestic industry and handicrafts were in an advanced stage. Indian goods had access to major markets of the world. Silk and muslin made in Dhaka were in great demand in European markets. But colonial rule gradually ended the supremacy of India’s industrial business. This is the reason that the newspapers and magazines, at their level, tried to take the Indian mind towards that direction, so that the countrymen could understand and appreciate their ancient prosperity. Needless to say that the banned Hindi newspapers and magazines, through their writings, held the British Raj State responsible for the then economic plight. As these newspapers and magazines tell the story of the destruction of Indian industries, on the other hand, they also bring forth ways to get rid of them; in this way, they paved the way for the Swadeshi movement.
In fact, it was the policy of the colonialist British rulers that the colonies should remain the suppliers of raw materials, so that their commerce and industries could run there. They kept selling their raw material at a low cost and used the manufactured goods at a high cost in their colonies.18 Of all the methods of exploitation in the colony, this was the main method. These tactics were exposed to the Indian public by newspapers and magazines. At the same time, it was also propagated that by shutting down Indian domestic industries, the imperialists have captured their markets.
Hindi newspapers and magazines also took a dig at the Indian capitalists. It was suggested to them that if they installs new equipment, then Indians will benefit and not the foreign countries. They were suggested to install advanced machines so that they might not lag behind in competition in the world market. Agriculture is the backbone of the Indian economy – the editors of newspapers and magazines knew very well, so they paid enough attention to the problems related to agriculture along with industries. The British rule was blamed for the poor economic condition of the village farmers. They clearly wrote that the present degradation of Indian farmers is the result of British policy. Attempts were made to find solutions to economic problems by returning again and again to the past and taking inspiration from their great achievements. It was only through newspapers and magazines that Indians understood that we have become just appendages of the British commercial empire.
From the appropriate analysis of the banned newspapers and magazines, we can conclude that the newspapers have successfully placed the plight of the Indian economy in front of the Indian public and helped in identifying the imperialist, capitalist, colonialist and fascist forces. At the same time, they took forward the Swadeshi movement and led the farmers towards a solution. Magazines also encouraged industry and handicrafts. Newspapers showed vigilance towards every economic problem of India and made the Hindi-speaking public aware of every aspect of the above reactions. After being fully aware of their economic problems, the feeling of rebellion against autocratic rule was heard among the Indian people.


E.M.S. Namboodiripad – The History of Indian Freedom Struggle, Social Scientist Press: New Delhi, 1993
Jack Woddis – Introduction to Neo-colonialism, International Publishers : New York, 1967
V.I.Lenin – Imperialism: The Highest State of Capitalism, Foreign Language Press : Peking, 1975
Jack Woddis – Introduction to Neo-colonialism
Chand, June, 1929
Voltaire, December, 1924
Aankar, December, 1924, Pg-22
Viplav, April, 1939, Pg – 40
Swadesh, Vijyank, 7th October 1924, Pg- 22
Ibid, October 1924, Pg – 32
Ibid, Pg – 34
Naya Hindustan, 17th September 1939, Pg -3
Government Notification No. 33918, December 1931, National Archives of India, Delhi
Voltaire, December, 1924
Jack Woddis – Introduction to Neo-colonialism

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