The monograph surveys the developments within the Indian economy during the period of the high tide of colonial domination between the 1857 Rebellion and the First World War. Its various sub-chapters deal with population, gross product and prices; tribute, imperialism of Free Trade, and the construction of railways; peasant agriculture, plantations, commercialization of agriculture and its impact on rents, peasant incomes and agricultural wages; and rural de-industrialization, modern industries, tariff and exchange policies; banking and finance; and fiscal system, tax-burden and the rise of economic nationalism. There are extracts from contemporary comments and reports; technical notes on such matters as computing national income, counterfactual analysis, etc., and short bibliographies accompanying each of the five chapters.
Irfan Habib, formerly Professor of History, Aligarh Muslim University, is author of The Agrarian System of Mughal India 1556-1707 (1963; 2nd rev. edn, 1999), An Atlas of the Mughal Empire (1982) and Essays in Indian History: Towards a Marxist Perception (1995). In the People's History of India series, he has authored Prehistory (2001) and The Indus Civilization (2002), and co-authored The Vedic Age (2003) and Mauryan India (2004). He has edited Confronting Colonialism: Resistance and Modernization under Haidar Ali and Tipu Sultan (1999), State and Diplomacy under Tipu Sultan (2001) and A Shared Heritage: The Growth of Civilizations in India and Iran (2002); and co-edited Sikh History from Persian Sources (2001), the Cambridge Economic History of India, Vol. I (1982), and UNESCO's History of Humanity, Vols IV and V, and History of Central Asia, Vol. V.