Tea World

Lesson 7

However in the beginning it was not all that smooth sailing for the Assam Tea Company to prosper in tea business. The resident tribes of the region, such as the Singphos were reluctant to participate in clearing the forests. Within a few decades,   tea manufacturers in Assam had covered 54 percent of the market in the United Kingdom and had outstripped China .The British were forcibly taking over lands belonging to the indigenous people for plantations, since 1861 and the practice continued till the early half of the 20th century. The tribal peasantry belonging to the Tiwa and Bodo-Kachari communities of the erstwhile Nagaon, Darrang, and Kamrup districts suffered worst casualties of the British land revenue policy. The Wasteland Grand Rules, 1838 was introduced which facilitated the first Assam Tea Company to be granted over 33,665 acres of indigenous people’s land. Many tea planters encroached and alienated the lands belonging to the Assamese people. Since 1840’s, the next few decades witnessed a global investment in far off remote Assam in the tea sector which gradually destroyed the Ahom’s feudal institutions and economy and led to the growth of the capitalist economy.         

  Developments in infrastructure like waterways in the 1860s and railways in the 1880s facilitated the expansion of the existing capitalistic ventures in the tea industry and new ventures in coal and petroleum sectors in Assam. In 1890s, the development of trunk railways connecting to the nearest port started in Assam.

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