Modern India eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 495 pages of information about Modern India.

In addition to the street car company the United States is represented by the Standard Oil Company, the Vacuum Oil Company, and the New York Export and Import Company.  Other American firms of merchants and manufacturers have resident agents, but they are mostly Englishmen or Germans.

There is, however, very little demand in India for agricultural implements, although three-fourths of the people are employed in tilling the soil.  Each farmer owns or rents a very small piece of ground, hardly big enough to justify the use of anything but the simple, primitive tools that have been handed down to him through long lines of ancestors for 3,000 years.  Nearly all his implements are home-made, or come from the village blacksmith shop, and are of the rudest, most awkward description.  They plow with a crooked stick, they dig ditches with their fingers, and carry everything that has to be moved in little baskets on their heads.  The harvesting is done with a primitive-looking sickle, and root crops are taken out of the ground with a two-tined fork with a handle only a foot long.  The Hindu does everything in a squatting posture, hence he uses only short-handled tools.  Fifty or seventy-five cents each would easily replace the outfit of three-fourths of the farmers in the empire.  Occasionally there is a rajah with large estates under cultivation upon which modern machinery is used, but even there its introduction is discouraged; first, because the natives are very conservative and disinclined to adopt new means and new methods; and, second, and what is more important, every labor-saving implement and machine that comes into the country deprives hundreds of poor coolies of employment.

The development of the material resources of India is slowly going on, and mechanical industries are being gradually established, with the encouragement of the government, for the purpose of attracting the surplus labor from the farms and villages and employing it in factories and mills, and in the mines of southern India, which are supposed to be very rich.  These enterprises offer limited possibilities for the sale of machinery, and American-made machines are recognized as superior to all others.  There is also a demand for everything that can be used by the foreign population, which in India is numbered somewhere about a million people, but the trade is controlled largely by British merchants who have life-long connections at home, and it is difficult to remove their prejudices or persuade them to see the superiority of American goods.  Nevertheless, our manufactories, on their merits, are gradually getting a footing in the market.

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Modern India from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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