NCERT Textbook - Colonialism and the City Class 8 Notes | EduRev

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Class 8 : NCERT Textbook - Colonialism and the City Class 8 Notes | EduRev

 Page 1


OUR PASTS – III 64
Colonialism and the City
The Story of an Imperial Capital
6
What Happened to Cities Under Colonial
Rule?
You have seen how life in the countryside changed after the
establishment of British power. What happened to the cities
during the same period? The answer will depend on the
kind of town or city we are discussing. The history of a temple
town like Madurai will not be the same as that of a
manufacturing town like Dacca, or a port like Surat, or towns
that simultaneously served many different functions.
In most parts of the Western world modern cities emerged
with industrialisation. In Britain, industrial cities like Leeds
and Manchester grew rapidly in the nineteenth and twentieth
centuries, as more and more people sought jobs, housing and
other facilities in these places. However, unlike Western
Europe, Indian cities did not expand as rapidly in the
nineteenth century. Why was this so?
Fig. 1 – A view of
Machlipatnam, 1672
Machlipatnam
developed as an
important port town
in the seventeenth
century. Its importance
declined by the late
eighteenth century as
trade shifted to the
new British ports of
Bombay, Madras and
Calcutta.
© NCERT
not to be republished
Page 2


OUR PASTS – III 64
Colonialism and the City
The Story of an Imperial Capital
6
What Happened to Cities Under Colonial
Rule?
You have seen how life in the countryside changed after the
establishment of British power. What happened to the cities
during the same period? The answer will depend on the
kind of town or city we are discussing. The history of a temple
town like Madurai will not be the same as that of a
manufacturing town like Dacca, or a port like Surat, or towns
that simultaneously served many different functions.
In most parts of the Western world modern cities emerged
with industrialisation. In Britain, industrial cities like Leeds
and Manchester grew rapidly in the nineteenth and twentieth
centuries, as more and more people sought jobs, housing and
other facilities in these places. However, unlike Western
Europe, Indian cities did not expand as rapidly in the
nineteenth century. Why was this so?
Fig. 1 – A view of
Machlipatnam, 1672
Machlipatnam
developed as an
important port town
in the seventeenth
century. Its importance
declined by the late
eighteenth century as
trade shifted to the
new British ports of
Bombay, Madras and
Calcutta.
© NCERT
not to be republished
65
In the late eighteenth century, Calcutta, Bombay
and Madras rose in importance as Presidency cities.
They became the centres of British power in the different
regions of India. At the same time, a host of smaller
cities declined. Many towns manufacturing specialised
goods declined due to a drop in the demand for what
they produced. Old trading centres and ports could not
survive when the flow of trade moved to new centres.
Similarly, earlier centres of regional power collapsed
when local rulers were defeated by the British and
new centres of administration emerged. This process is
often described as de-urbanisation. Cities such as
Machlipatnam, Surat and Seringapatam were de-
urbanised during the nineteenth century. By the early
twentieth century, only 11 per cent of Indians were
living in cities.
The historic imperial city of Delhi became a dusty
provincial town in the nineteenth century before it was
rebuilt as the capital of British India after 1912. Let us
look at the story of Delhi to see what happened to it
under colonial rule.
How many ‘Delhis’ before New Delhi?
You know Delhi as the capital of modern India. Did you
also know that it has been a capital for more than a
1,000 years, although with some gaps? As many as 14
capital cities were founded in a small area of about 60
square miles on the left bank of the river Jamuna. The
remains of all other capitals may be seen on a visit to
the modern city-state of Delhi. Of these, the most
Presidency – For
administrative purposes,
colonial India was
divided into three
“Presidencies” (Bombay,
Madras and Bengal),
which developed from the
East India Company’s
“factories” (trading posts)
at Surat, Madras and
Calcutta.
Fig. 2 – Bombay port in the
eighteenth century
The city of Bombay began to
grow when the East India
Company started using Bombay
as its main port in western
India.
COLONIALISM AND THE CITY
Urbanisation –The
process by which more
and more people begin
to reside in towns and
cities
© NCERT
not to be republished
Page 3


OUR PASTS – III 64
Colonialism and the City
The Story of an Imperial Capital
6
What Happened to Cities Under Colonial
Rule?
You have seen how life in the countryside changed after the
establishment of British power. What happened to the cities
during the same period? The answer will depend on the
kind of town or city we are discussing. The history of a temple
town like Madurai will not be the same as that of a
manufacturing town like Dacca, or a port like Surat, or towns
that simultaneously served many different functions.
In most parts of the Western world modern cities emerged
with industrialisation. In Britain, industrial cities like Leeds
and Manchester grew rapidly in the nineteenth and twentieth
centuries, as more and more people sought jobs, housing and
other facilities in these places. However, unlike Western
Europe, Indian cities did not expand as rapidly in the
nineteenth century. Why was this so?
Fig. 1 – A view of
Machlipatnam, 1672
Machlipatnam
developed as an
important port town
in the seventeenth
century. Its importance
declined by the late
eighteenth century as
trade shifted to the
new British ports of
Bombay, Madras and
Calcutta.
© NCERT
not to be republished
65
In the late eighteenth century, Calcutta, Bombay
and Madras rose in importance as Presidency cities.
They became the centres of British power in the different
regions of India. At the same time, a host of smaller
cities declined. Many towns manufacturing specialised
goods declined due to a drop in the demand for what
they produced. Old trading centres and ports could not
survive when the flow of trade moved to new centres.
Similarly, earlier centres of regional power collapsed
when local rulers were defeated by the British and
new centres of administration emerged. This process is
often described as de-urbanisation. Cities such as
Machlipatnam, Surat and Seringapatam were de-
urbanised during the nineteenth century. By the early
twentieth century, only 11 per cent of Indians were
living in cities.
The historic imperial city of Delhi became a dusty
provincial town in the nineteenth century before it was
rebuilt as the capital of British India after 1912. Let us
look at the story of Delhi to see what happened to it
under colonial rule.
How many ‘Delhis’ before New Delhi?
You know Delhi as the capital of modern India. Did you
also know that it has been a capital for more than a
1,000 years, although with some gaps? As many as 14
capital cities were founded in a small area of about 60
square miles on the left bank of the river Jamuna. The
remains of all other capitals may be seen on a visit to
the modern city-state of Delhi. Of these, the most
Presidency – For
administrative purposes,
colonial India was
divided into three
“Presidencies” (Bombay,
Madras and Bengal),
which developed from the
East India Company’s
“factories” (trading posts)
at Surat, Madras and
Calcutta.
Fig. 2 – Bombay port in the
eighteenth century
The city of Bombay began to
grow when the East India
Company started using Bombay
as its main port in western
India.
COLONIALISM AND THE CITY
Urbanisation –The
process by which more
and more people begin
to reside in towns and
cities
© NCERT
not to be republished
OUR PASTS – III 66
important are the capital cities built between the twelfth
and seventeenth centuries.
The most splendid capital of all was built by Shah
Jahan. Shahjahanabad was begun in 1639 and consisted
of a fort-palace complex and the city adjoining it. Lal
Qila or the Red Fort, made of red sandstone, contained
the palace complex. To its west lay the Walled City with
14 gates. The main streets of Chandni Chowk and Faiz
Bazaar were broad enough for royal processions to pass.
A canal ran down the centre of Chandni Chowk.
 Set amidst densely packed mohallas and several
dozen bazaars, the Jama Masjid was among the largest
and grandest mosques in India. There was no place higher
than this mosque within the city then.
Delhi during Shah Jahan’s time was also an important
centre of Sufi culture. It had several dargahs, khanqahs
and idgahs. Open squares, winding lanes, quiet cul-de-
sacs and water channels were the pride of Delhi’s
residents. No wonder the poet Mir Taqi Mir said, “The
Fig. 3 – Image of Shahjahanabad in the mid-nineteenth century, The Illustrated London News,16 January 1858
You can see the Red Fort on the left. Notice the walls that surround the city. Through the centre runs
the main road of Chandni Chowk. Note also the river Jamuna is flowing near the Red Fort. Today it has
shifted course. The place where the boat is about to embank is now known as Daryaganj (darya means
river, ganj means market)
Dargah – The tomb of a
Sufi saint
Khanqah – A sufi lodge,
often used as a rest
house for travellers and
a place where people
come to discuss
spiritual matters, get
the blessings of saints,
and hear sufi music
Idgah – An open prayer
place of Muslims primarily
meant for id prayers
Cul-de-sac – Street with
a dead end
© NCERT
not to be republished
Page 4


OUR PASTS – III 64
Colonialism and the City
The Story of an Imperial Capital
6
What Happened to Cities Under Colonial
Rule?
You have seen how life in the countryside changed after the
establishment of British power. What happened to the cities
during the same period? The answer will depend on the
kind of town or city we are discussing. The history of a temple
town like Madurai will not be the same as that of a
manufacturing town like Dacca, or a port like Surat, or towns
that simultaneously served many different functions.
In most parts of the Western world modern cities emerged
with industrialisation. In Britain, industrial cities like Leeds
and Manchester grew rapidly in the nineteenth and twentieth
centuries, as more and more people sought jobs, housing and
other facilities in these places. However, unlike Western
Europe, Indian cities did not expand as rapidly in the
nineteenth century. Why was this so?
Fig. 1 – A view of
Machlipatnam, 1672
Machlipatnam
developed as an
important port town
in the seventeenth
century. Its importance
declined by the late
eighteenth century as
trade shifted to the
new British ports of
Bombay, Madras and
Calcutta.
© NCERT
not to be republished
65
In the late eighteenth century, Calcutta, Bombay
and Madras rose in importance as Presidency cities.
They became the centres of British power in the different
regions of India. At the same time, a host of smaller
cities declined. Many towns manufacturing specialised
goods declined due to a drop in the demand for what
they produced. Old trading centres and ports could not
survive when the flow of trade moved to new centres.
Similarly, earlier centres of regional power collapsed
when local rulers were defeated by the British and
new centres of administration emerged. This process is
often described as de-urbanisation. Cities such as
Machlipatnam, Surat and Seringapatam were de-
urbanised during the nineteenth century. By the early
twentieth century, only 11 per cent of Indians were
living in cities.
The historic imperial city of Delhi became a dusty
provincial town in the nineteenth century before it was
rebuilt as the capital of British India after 1912. Let us
look at the story of Delhi to see what happened to it
under colonial rule.
How many ‘Delhis’ before New Delhi?
You know Delhi as the capital of modern India. Did you
also know that it has been a capital for more than a
1,000 years, although with some gaps? As many as 14
capital cities were founded in a small area of about 60
square miles on the left bank of the river Jamuna. The
remains of all other capitals may be seen on a visit to
the modern city-state of Delhi. Of these, the most
Presidency – For
administrative purposes,
colonial India was
divided into three
“Presidencies” (Bombay,
Madras and Bengal),
which developed from the
East India Company’s
“factories” (trading posts)
at Surat, Madras and
Calcutta.
Fig. 2 – Bombay port in the
eighteenth century
The city of Bombay began to
grow when the East India
Company started using Bombay
as its main port in western
India.
COLONIALISM AND THE CITY
Urbanisation –The
process by which more
and more people begin
to reside in towns and
cities
© NCERT
not to be republished
OUR PASTS – III 66
important are the capital cities built between the twelfth
and seventeenth centuries.
The most splendid capital of all was built by Shah
Jahan. Shahjahanabad was begun in 1639 and consisted
of a fort-palace complex and the city adjoining it. Lal
Qila or the Red Fort, made of red sandstone, contained
the palace complex. To its west lay the Walled City with
14 gates. The main streets of Chandni Chowk and Faiz
Bazaar were broad enough for royal processions to pass.
A canal ran down the centre of Chandni Chowk.
 Set amidst densely packed mohallas and several
dozen bazaars, the Jama Masjid was among the largest
and grandest mosques in India. There was no place higher
than this mosque within the city then.
Delhi during Shah Jahan’s time was also an important
centre of Sufi culture. It had several dargahs, khanqahs
and idgahs. Open squares, winding lanes, quiet cul-de-
sacs and water channels were the pride of Delhi’s
residents. No wonder the poet Mir Taqi Mir said, “The
Fig. 3 – Image of Shahjahanabad in the mid-nineteenth century, The Illustrated London News,16 January 1858
You can see the Red Fort on the left. Notice the walls that surround the city. Through the centre runs
the main road of Chandni Chowk. Note also the river Jamuna is flowing near the Red Fort. Today it has
shifted course. The place where the boat is about to embank is now known as Daryaganj (darya means
river, ganj means market)
Dargah – The tomb of a
Sufi saint
Khanqah – A sufi lodge,
often used as a rest
house for travellers and
a place where people
come to discuss
spiritual matters, get
the blessings of saints,
and hear sufi music
Idgah – An open prayer
place of Muslims primarily
meant for id prayers
Cul-de-sac – Street with
a dead end
© NCERT
not to be republished
67 COLONIALISM AND THE CITY
“Dilli jo ek shahr tha
alam mein intikhab...”
By 1739, Delhi had been
sacked by Nadir Shah and
plundered many times.
Expressing the sorrow of
those who witnessed the
decline of the city, the
eighteenth-century Urdu
poet Mir Taqi Mir, said:
Dilli jo ek shahr tha alam
mein intikhab,
...
Ham rahne wale hain usi
ujre dayar ke
(I belong to the same
ruined territory of
Delhi, which was once
a supreme city in the
world)
Fig. 4 – The eastern gate of the
Jama Masjid in Delhi, by Thomas
Daniell, 1795
This is also the first mosque in
India with minarets and full
domes.
Source 1
streets of Delhi aren’t mere
streets; they are like the album
of a painter.”
Yet, even this was no ideal
city, and its delights were enjoyed
only by some. There were sharp
divisions between rich and
poor . Havelis or mansions were
interspersed with the far more
numerous mud houses of the
poor. The colourful world of poetry
and dance was usually enjoyed
only by men. Furthermore,
celebrations and processions
often led to serious conflicts.
The Making of New Delhi
In 1803, the British gained control of Delhi after
defeating the Marathas. Since the capital of British
India was Calcutta, the Mughal emperor was allowed
to continue living in the palace complex in the Red
Fort. The modern city as we know it today developed
only after 1911 when Delhi became the capital of
British India.
Demolishing a past
Before 1857, developments in Delhi were somewhat
different from those in other colonial cities. In Madras,
Bombay or Calcutta, the living spaces of Indians and
the British were sharply separated. Indians lived in
Fig. 5 – The shrine of Nizamuddin Auliya in Delhi
© NCERT
not to be republished
Page 5


OUR PASTS – III 64
Colonialism and the City
The Story of an Imperial Capital
6
What Happened to Cities Under Colonial
Rule?
You have seen how life in the countryside changed after the
establishment of British power. What happened to the cities
during the same period? The answer will depend on the
kind of town or city we are discussing. The history of a temple
town like Madurai will not be the same as that of a
manufacturing town like Dacca, or a port like Surat, or towns
that simultaneously served many different functions.
In most parts of the Western world modern cities emerged
with industrialisation. In Britain, industrial cities like Leeds
and Manchester grew rapidly in the nineteenth and twentieth
centuries, as more and more people sought jobs, housing and
other facilities in these places. However, unlike Western
Europe, Indian cities did not expand as rapidly in the
nineteenth century. Why was this so?
Fig. 1 – A view of
Machlipatnam, 1672
Machlipatnam
developed as an
important port town
in the seventeenth
century. Its importance
declined by the late
eighteenth century as
trade shifted to the
new British ports of
Bombay, Madras and
Calcutta.
© NCERT
not to be republished
65
In the late eighteenth century, Calcutta, Bombay
and Madras rose in importance as Presidency cities.
They became the centres of British power in the different
regions of India. At the same time, a host of smaller
cities declined. Many towns manufacturing specialised
goods declined due to a drop in the demand for what
they produced. Old trading centres and ports could not
survive when the flow of trade moved to new centres.
Similarly, earlier centres of regional power collapsed
when local rulers were defeated by the British and
new centres of administration emerged. This process is
often described as de-urbanisation. Cities such as
Machlipatnam, Surat and Seringapatam were de-
urbanised during the nineteenth century. By the early
twentieth century, only 11 per cent of Indians were
living in cities.
The historic imperial city of Delhi became a dusty
provincial town in the nineteenth century before it was
rebuilt as the capital of British India after 1912. Let us
look at the story of Delhi to see what happened to it
under colonial rule.
How many ‘Delhis’ before New Delhi?
You know Delhi as the capital of modern India. Did you
also know that it has been a capital for more than a
1,000 years, although with some gaps? As many as 14
capital cities were founded in a small area of about 60
square miles on the left bank of the river Jamuna. The
remains of all other capitals may be seen on a visit to
the modern city-state of Delhi. Of these, the most
Presidency – For
administrative purposes,
colonial India was
divided into three
“Presidencies” (Bombay,
Madras and Bengal),
which developed from the
East India Company’s
“factories” (trading posts)
at Surat, Madras and
Calcutta.
Fig. 2 – Bombay port in the
eighteenth century
The city of Bombay began to
grow when the East India
Company started using Bombay
as its main port in western
India.
COLONIALISM AND THE CITY
Urbanisation –The
process by which more
and more people begin
to reside in towns and
cities
© NCERT
not to be republished
OUR PASTS – III 66
important are the capital cities built between the twelfth
and seventeenth centuries.
The most splendid capital of all was built by Shah
Jahan. Shahjahanabad was begun in 1639 and consisted
of a fort-palace complex and the city adjoining it. Lal
Qila or the Red Fort, made of red sandstone, contained
the palace complex. To its west lay the Walled City with
14 gates. The main streets of Chandni Chowk and Faiz
Bazaar were broad enough for royal processions to pass.
A canal ran down the centre of Chandni Chowk.
 Set amidst densely packed mohallas and several
dozen bazaars, the Jama Masjid was among the largest
and grandest mosques in India. There was no place higher
than this mosque within the city then.
Delhi during Shah Jahan’s time was also an important
centre of Sufi culture. It had several dargahs, khanqahs
and idgahs. Open squares, winding lanes, quiet cul-de-
sacs and water channels were the pride of Delhi’s
residents. No wonder the poet Mir Taqi Mir said, “The
Fig. 3 – Image of Shahjahanabad in the mid-nineteenth century, The Illustrated London News,16 January 1858
You can see the Red Fort on the left. Notice the walls that surround the city. Through the centre runs
the main road of Chandni Chowk. Note also the river Jamuna is flowing near the Red Fort. Today it has
shifted course. The place where the boat is about to embank is now known as Daryaganj (darya means
river, ganj means market)
Dargah – The tomb of a
Sufi saint
Khanqah – A sufi lodge,
often used as a rest
house for travellers and
a place where people
come to discuss
spiritual matters, get
the blessings of saints,
and hear sufi music
Idgah – An open prayer
place of Muslims primarily
meant for id prayers
Cul-de-sac – Street with
a dead end
© NCERT
not to be republished
67 COLONIALISM AND THE CITY
“Dilli jo ek shahr tha
alam mein intikhab...”
By 1739, Delhi had been
sacked by Nadir Shah and
plundered many times.
Expressing the sorrow of
those who witnessed the
decline of the city, the
eighteenth-century Urdu
poet Mir Taqi Mir, said:
Dilli jo ek shahr tha alam
mein intikhab,
...
Ham rahne wale hain usi
ujre dayar ke
(I belong to the same
ruined territory of
Delhi, which was once
a supreme city in the
world)
Fig. 4 – The eastern gate of the
Jama Masjid in Delhi, by Thomas
Daniell, 1795
This is also the first mosque in
India with minarets and full
domes.
Source 1
streets of Delhi aren’t mere
streets; they are like the album
of a painter.”
Yet, even this was no ideal
city, and its delights were enjoyed
only by some. There were sharp
divisions between rich and
poor . Havelis or mansions were
interspersed with the far more
numerous mud houses of the
poor. The colourful world of poetry
and dance was usually enjoyed
only by men. Furthermore,
celebrations and processions
often led to serious conflicts.
The Making of New Delhi
In 1803, the British gained control of Delhi after
defeating the Marathas. Since the capital of British
India was Calcutta, the Mughal emperor was allowed
to continue living in the palace complex in the Red
Fort. The modern city as we know it today developed
only after 1911 when Delhi became the capital of
British India.
Demolishing a past
Before 1857, developments in Delhi were somewhat
different from those in other colonial cities. In Madras,
Bombay or Calcutta, the living spaces of Indians and
the British were sharply separated. Indians lived in
Fig. 5 – The shrine of Nizamuddin Auliya in Delhi
© NCERT
not to be republished
OUR PASTS – III 68
the “black” areas, while the British lived in well-laid-
out “white” areas. In Delhi, especially in the first half
of the nineteenth century, the British lived along with
the wealthier Indians in the Walled City. The British
learned to enjoy Urdu/Persian culture and poetry and
participated in local festivals.
The establishment of the Delhi College in 1792 led
to a great intellectual flowering in the sciences as well
as the humanities, largely in the Urdu language. Many
refer to the period from 1830 to 1857 as a period of the
Delhi renaissance.
All this changed after 1857. During the Revolt that
year, as you have seen, the rebels gathered in the city,
and persuaded Bahadur Shah to become the leader of
the uprising. Delhi remained under rebel control for
four months.
When the British regained the city, they embarked
on a campaign of revenge and plunder. The famous poet
Ghalib witnessed the events of the time. This is how
he described the ransacking of Delhi in 1857: “When
the angry lions (the British) entered the town, they
killed the helpless …  and burned houses. Hordes of men
and women, commoners and noblemen, poured out of
Delhi from the three gates and took shelter in small
communities, and tombs outside the city.” To prevent
another rebellion, the British exiled Bahadur Shah to
Burma (now Myanmar), dismantled his court, razed
several of the palaces, closed down gardens and built
barracks for troops in their place.
Gulfaroshan – A festival
of flowers
Renaissance – Literally,
rebirth of art and
learning. It is a term
often used to describe a
time when there is great
creative activity.
Fig. 6 – British forces wreaking
vengeance on the streets of Delhi,
massacring the rebels.
Source 2
“There was once a
city of this name”
Ghalib lamented the
changes that were
occurring and wrote sadly
about the past that was
lost. He wrote:
What can I write?
The life of Delhi
depends on the Fort,
Chandni Chowk, the
daily gatherings at
the Jamuna Bridge
and the Annual
Gulfaroshan. When all
these … things are no
longer there, how can
Delhi live? Yes, there
was once a city of this
name in the dominions
of India.
© NCERT
not to be republished
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