Useful notes on social, economical and cultural life in eighteenth century AD

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Below you can find useful information on the economic, social and cultural life of people in eighteenth century ad.

Economy

Agriculture and trade were the two economic activities which employed the majority of the working population. Agriculture, the main source of income for the state, was technically backward and hence stagnant. Yields were low and the ever increasing revenue demands of the state impoverished the peasants.

Trade was another important source of income. External trade was in a lourishing state. India exported cotton and silk fabrics, sugar, jute, spices and metals. Dacca, Murshidabad, Chanderi, Ahmedabad, Broach, Lucknow, Agra and Madurai were important manufacturing and trading centres. Internal trade also existed but suffered on account of political instability due to constant wars and because of the self-sufficient nature of the village economy.

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The growth of economic activities led to the rise of a new class of businessmen and merchants, in India. They, however, remained traditional in their approach. A dynamic and forward-looking middle class, like the one existing in Europe, did not appear in India.

The growth of economic activities led to the rise of a new class of businessmen and merchants, in India. They, however, remained traditional in their approach. A dynamic and forward-looking middle class, like the one existing in Europe, did not appear in India. This was an important reason why India missed reaping the benefits of the Industrial Revolution.

Society

Society during the eighteenth century AD was marked by stagnation and disunity. Amongst the Hindus, the caste system dominated social life. It rigidly divided people into high and low castes. Caste rules were extremely rigid. Even the profession of a person was determined by his caste. The Muslims were also a divided community.

Women held an inferior position in society. They were discouraged from receiving education and were married off very early. They had no right to property. ‘Sati’ and ‘purdah’ were practiced. In many parts of India, female infanticide was also common. The condition of widows was tragic. A lot of restrictions on clothing, diet, etc were placed on them. Generally speaking, the life of a woman revolved around the male members in her family.

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Education was very traditional. It was limited to the study of ancient literature, law, religion, philosophy and logic. Science was not taught. Original and rational thinking was discouraged. As a result, the Indians failed to develop a scientific outlook.

Culture

Patronage to cultural activities continued. The regional states extended support to culture. Some new developments in arc7hitectural techniques were witnessed. The Imambara at Lucknow is a good example of the new style. In painting, regional styles developed. The Rajput and Kangra schools of painting continued the Mughal tradition. Music was another activity that found support with the rulers for the regional kingdoms.

Literature developed a lot during this period. All over the country, rich literary and poetic works were composed. Urdu developed as a language and so did Urdu poetry. Warris Shah wrote Heer Ranjha. Shah Abdul Latif, the famous Sindhi poet, wrote a collection of poems called Risalo. Dayaram, Tayaumanavar and Kunchan Nambiar were other famous literary personalities who wrote in Gujurati, Tamil and Malayalam respectively.

Thus, India during the eighteenth century AD was seeped in tradition. It failed to imbibe the scientific knowledge that the West had to offer. Politically, it was extremely disunited. All these factors made it easy for the Europeans to colonize India.

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