Recollections and reflections

Reminiscences, Rafi Ahmad Kidwai

I first came in contact with Subhas Bose in 1923 at Delhi when the Congress was divided into two groups over the question of what was known as 'Council Entry.'...Subhas Babu, as the favourite lieutenant of Deshabandhu, was playing a prominent part in the controversy. more>>

It will be noted from the above study of the growth of Indo-British trade that most of the articles of import and export suffer from a double-sided competition.

The chief commodities of import, as already observed, are cotton goods and metal manufactures, both of which were liable to competition from home and abroad. In the case of the former the increasing home-production and the keen competition from Japan came greatly in the way of the United Kingdom. Indeed, in recent years, the imports of cotton goods from England have shown considerable decline in volume. As regards metal and metal manufactures, while in the earlier days England had no competitor on the field, towards the close of the last century Belgium and Germany came to be keen rivals of Great Britain. Indeed, by the beginning of this century, in certain kinds of metal manufactures, especially in iron and steel, the imports from Belgium and Germany to a great extent replaced those from the former. Lately the U.S.A. also joined them. Then there was the growth of Indian iron and steel industry which was raising its head under a system of protection.

In the case of exports, the trade in raw materials like jute, hides and skins, and seeds was restricted by a keener demand from Continental countries, and was thus being diverted from the United Kingdom to non-British countries; on the other hand, the trade in articles like coffee, cotton and tea had to meet the competition of foreign countries in supplying the British market and was thus being replaced by exports from the latter. There is a third class of commodities like foodgrains and wool, the exports of which were restricted both by the available home-supply and foreign competition. It will be seen that except tea (the exports of which are also to some extent liable to foreign competition), the exports of all other articles had gradually been diverted from the United Kingdom to other countries. Great Britain would not import Indian raw cotton or jute manufactures, while India found other markets not only for these commodities but also for her raw jute, oilseeds, hides and skins and other raw materials.