Previous Page [Digital South Asia Library] Next Page

Schwartzberg Atlas, v. , p. 248.

Switch to image view

end, yet it remained vigorous for the next several decades. By 1931 India had a track mileage second only to that of the United States. Subsequent growth witnessed not so much a general extension of the network as an improvement of facil- ities already in existence; double-tracking and line electrifica- tion were extended appreciably. Nevertheless, a few of the most conspicuous gaps in regional coverage were filled and new lines were extended to tap more effectively the rich min- eral resources of the Chota Nagpur and other areas. The prog- ress made in each period is statistically documented in the data of the table accompanying the railroad maps.

In striking contrast to the development that occurred in In- dia, present-day Pakistan, and Ceylon, we find a total absence of railroads in Afghanistan and see Nepal penetrated only by a few narrow-gauge spur lines. Also badly retarded with re- spect to railroads (as well as roads) is Bangladesh, where the intricate maze of deltaic rivers provides at once a very cheap —and slow—alternative to overland transport and a formid- able set of obstacles to road and rail construction. Plans are in the making, however, to build a trans-Afghan railway that, tying in to the Pakistani and Iranian rail system, will at last permit direct rail transport from Europe to South Asia.

Irrigation, by means of tanks, wells, and seasonal inundation canals, has a history in South Asia as old as civilization itself. Nevertheless, despite the occasional establishment, under state patronage, of irrigation systems on a fairly large scale (e.g., under the Lambaka&ntod;&ntod;a dynasty in Sri Lanka or the Co&lline;as along the lower Kaveri and its distributaries) there was nothing in the history of the region comparable in conception, organiza- tion, or importance to the irrigation systems maintained over centuries in both China and the Middle East. Whatever merits Wittfogel's thesis relative to "hydraulic civilizations" and "Ori- ental despotism" may have in other parts of Asia, it derives little support from evidence of South Asian provenance. It was not until 1817, when work commenced on the Jumna Canal in the west of what was then the province of Agra, that the Brit- ish initiated in India a series of major irrigation works utilizing modern engineering techniques. Though peninsular rivers were not neglected during the period of British rule, the great works that followed, as may clearly be seen on plate XI.D.3, were overwhelmingly concentrated in the western third of the Gan- getic Plain and along the Indus and its tributaries. The Punjab, in particular, formerly a harsh and precarious agricultural en- vironment, was transformed into the granary of India, and for a time its surpluses even permitted the country to export sizable quantities of grain to Europe. To this day it remains an area of surplus production that makes up for many of the deficits of other parts of the subcontinent. Other large areas profoundly changed were the western part of the United Provinces and Sind. Maps (e)–(h) illustrate the impact of modern irrigation in Sind at the regional and the local level.

Impressive as irrigation development was under British rule, the achievements since 1947 have far exceeded those of the entire pre-independence period. The principal systems, dams, barrages, and anicuts7 as of 1961 are numbered on map (d) and identified in the list above it. While emphasis in the first decade or more of independence was on the development of large-scale multipurpose river basin development projects, of which irrigation was but one component (usually the most important), the execution of all of the more economically promising schemes, and the mounting marginal costs of those remaining, has caused a shift in emphasis to irrigation by means of small-scale tube wells from which deep groundwater is raised to the surface by diesel or electric-powered pumps. The extent of well and tank irrigation in South Asia is not indi- cated on plate XI.D.3; but their effects on the intensity of agriculture are to be seen in the pattern of various maps, espe- cially (f), of plate XI.B.3.

Ideally, irrigation should be regulated within the context of an integrated management system embracing the whole of a drainage basin. In the Damodar Valley in India's Chota Nag- pur Plateau, such an integrated system modeled after that of the American Tennessee Valley Authority, that ideal is actually attained. An approach to the ideal had been made also on the Indus and its tributaries before the partition of the Indian sub- continent. Partition, however, detached a number of major canals in Pakistan from their headworks in India and in other ways disturbed the operation of the irrigation system. This problem and its resolution are considered on plate IX.C.2, map (c).

The air age dawned in South Asia with the commencement of Imperial Airways' London-Karachi-Delhi run in 1929 and of domestic air services by Tata Airlines in 1932. By the year of Indian independence twenty more private airlines had sprung up in South Asia. Within India air services were na- tionalized in 1953, the Indian Airlines Corporation being set up to handle domestic routes and Air India to handle those to 7 Dams differ from barrages by impounding water and storing it until a time of need, whereas barrages merely divert water into a canal system; anicuts are weirs placed across rivers to divert water into adjacent inundation canals during high-water stages. foreign countries. By 1957 government-run airlines were also established in Pakistan, Ceylon, Afghanistan, and Nepal. As of 1971 there were few cities in South Asia with more than a quarter of a million inhabitants that did not enjoy regularly scheduled air services and none with populations exceeding half a million. The growth of air services in the region over the period 1948 to 1971 is documented in maps (a) and (b) of plate XI.D.4 and in the accompanying statistical table.

Private electric power generating began in India in the first decade of the 20th century, largely by manufacturing plants for their own internal needs. The country's first power utility, the Tata Hydro-Electric Power Supply Company, was estab- lished in 1910. Through the end of World War II, however, electricity was limited almost exclusively to large towns and cities, and even there its use was hardly general. Since inde- pendence, as map (c) of plate XI.D.4 makes evident, the spread of electricity over the South Asian countryside has pro- ceeded apace. Whereas in 1950 only 3,500 Indian villages had any sort of electricity supply, that number had risen by 1971 to 113,000, roughly one-fourth the nation's total, including virtually all villages of 5,000 or more population. Blessed with far more favorable coal resources than Pakistan and a mark- edly greater relative potential for hydroelectric power genera- tion, India's generating capacity on a per capita basis far ex- ceeds that of Pakistan. Pakistan's capacity, on the other hand, has grown at a far more rapid rate (see table accompanying map (c). Within Pakistan the map makes clear the particu- larly underdeveloped position of what is today Bangladesh. The poor power positions of Ceylon (Sri Lanka), Afghanistan, and Nepal are also evident from both our map and our table. But in all three countries, especially Nepal, the scope for the expansion of hydroelectric generation appears substantial.

Sources (in addition to those cited in the General Bibliography)

(Citations followed by "A," "GD," "GR," and "M" are listed in the Bibliography under "Atlases," "Government Doc- uments," "General References," and, where not otherwise ob- vious, "Maps." All other sources are to be found under "Other Published Works.")


The Ceylon year book (1962) GR; Ceylon, Department of Census and Statistics, Statistical abstract (various years) GD; Ceylon, Idam, Vārimārga, Saha Vīdulibala Amātya&mtod;śaya (1966) GD; A. M. Ferguson (1868) M; India (Republic), Central Water and Power Commission (1970) GD; India (Re- public), Office of the Registrar General, Census atlas (1970) A; P. P. Karan (1960); G. W. MacGeorge (1894); Nepal, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (1966) A; Paki- stan, Office of the Economic Advisor (1963/64) GR; R. R. Platt (1961), (1962); B. P. Shreshtha (1966); A. Sievers (1964); H. H. Simth (1969) GR; Times of India directory . . . (various years) GR; United Nations, ECAFE, Statistical year- book . . . (various years) GD; West Pakistan, Water and Power Development Authority (various years) GD.

Roads and road transport

G. Bartholomew (c. 1930) M; Ceylon, Survey Department, Motor map . . . (various years, 1922–); Great Britain, Parlia- ment, House of Commons, East India (1873) M; Hindustan Motors, Ltd. (1968); India, Survey of India, Road map of In- dia (various years, 1929–); Pakistan, Survey of Pakistan, East Pakistan (1954/62) M; Pakistan, Survey of Pakistan, Road map of West Pakistan (1958/65); Tudor Engineering Co. (1959); E. G. Ravenstein (1900) M; U.S. Defense Mapping Agency, International map of the World (various dates); J. and C. Walker (1871) M.

Railways and Rail Transport

Ceylon Government Railway (1974) GD; India, Survey of India, Railway map of India (various dates); M. B. K. Malik (1962); Pakistan, Survey of Pakistan, Pakistan 1:2M (1962); Railway Board [of India] (1966).

Irrigation and Navigation Canals

R. B. Buckley (1880); A. Deakin (1893); B. H. Farmer (1957); India, Department of Industries and Labour (1934) GD; India, Public Works Department (1922) GD; India (Re- public), Central Water and Power Commission (1970) GD; M. Rahman (1965), (1968); T. Saunders (1889) A; West Pakistan, Irrigation Dept. (1960) M; West Pakistan, Irrigation Dept. (1960) M; H. M. Wilson (1903).

Air Services

M. R. Dhekney (1953); International Civil Aviation Organi- zation (various dates) GD; World ABC Airline Guide (1961), (1967) GR.

Electric Power Network

India (Census, 1961, Monograph No. 6); Pakistan, Office of the Engineering Advisor (1962) GD.


We express our gratitude to Professor Fritz Lehmann, Depart- ment of History, University of British Columbia, for editorial assistance with plate XI.D.2.

XI.D.5. South Asian Foreign Trade, 1931 and 1961; Balance of Trade, 1931–71; Foreign Aid to South Asia through 1965–66

On a number of atlas plates we have attempted to show interaction between South Asia and the rest of the world. Plate XI.D.5 focuses on two forms of interaction that are essentially economic in nature but that also have obvious and important political implications: the reciprocal, though not always equal, relationship of foreign trade, and the categorically unequal re- lationship represented by the granting and receipt of foreign aid. The former is depicted for the two reference years most generally considered in sections X and XI of this atlas, the lat- ter for the fifteen years from 1951, the year in which United States aid to South Asia and India's first Five-Year Plan were both inaugurated, to 1965, the terminal year of India's third Plan period.

The geographic orientation of South Asia's foreign trade is shown on map (a), and the changing value of trade is shown in the graphs below it. To facilitate comparison of the mapped data for 1931 and 1961 the total value of exports and imports of India, Pakistan (in 1961 only), and Ceylon were separately aggregated for each of the two years to derive the "South Asian" totals. (Reliable data for Afghanistan and Nepal were unavailable and their foreign trade, which in any event was negligible, is not taken into account on this map.) The values of the exports and imports of different countries to and from India, Pakistan, and Ceylon were then converted into percent- ages of the four South Asian totals: exports to South Asia in 1931, imports from South Asia in 1931, exports to South Asia in 1961, and imports from South Asia in 1961. The method of plotting these percentage shares is shown in the map leg- end. Within the regional totals for each country, the individual totals for India, Pakistan, and Ceylon are indicated by colors. Since country shares of less than 0.25% are not shown, the map does not quite account for the whole of South Asian for- eign trade. (See relevant data to the right of the legend.) By comparing the percentage data of 1931 for a given country with those of 1961 one can see at a glance whether it has risen or fallen in importance relative to South Asia as a whole over the period 1931–61, as well as relative to the three principal trading states therein.

The most striking fact illustrated by the map is the pro- nounced decline of the United Kingdom as a supplier of goods to South Asia between 1931 and 1961 and the concomitant relative rise of the United States. Whereas in 1931 the United Kingdom had a commanding lead over any other nation in its share of both exports to and imports from South Asia, by 1961 its relative share in the former had fallen by nearly half (from 35.25% to 18.75%); and while its share in imports from South Asia also fell the decline was much less, thereby causing its long-standing trade surplus with its former colonial posses- sions (a consequence of its dominant role as the imperial power) to shift to a deficit. Thus, while South Asia discovered after independence that it could do without many formerly imported manufactures of British origin, Britain did not find that it could do without—among other commodities—South Asian tea. By 1961 the United States had surpassed Britain as the leading exporter of goods to South Asia, and while its share in the purchase of South Asian exports had also risen substan- tially the gap between the two figures was such that it enjoyed a very large positive trade balance. Among other major trad- ing partners with South Asia those that declined in relative im- portance included Japan, China, Indonesia (the Dutch East Indies in 1931), and France, while those that gained were Canada, Australia, and, on the side of exports to South Asia, Germany (its share in imports from South Asia, however, fell notably). The small share of the Soviet Union and the other people's democracies in total South Asian trade as recently as 1961 is remarkable, in view of the cordial relationships then already developing between those countries and India. Their shares have risen noticeably, however, in subsequent years. Also noteworthy, though perhaps not surprising, is the small share India and Pakistan had in one another's foreign trade in 1961 (a share reduced, officially at least, to zero in the period 1965–75); even Ceylon's trade with India was then nearly equal to Pakistan's.

Turning to the graphs showing year-by-year changes in the value of foreign trade over the period 1931–71, two alarming trends are apparent. First, whereas in almost all pre-indepen- dence years India and Ceylon enjoyed modest trade surpluses, India and Pakistan have registered substantial trade deficits in most years since gaining independence, with Ceylon about holding its own. Second, noting that there has been no ap- preciable long-run increase in the value of trade (expressed throughout at 1958 prices, with due regard to changing ex- change rates), and taking cognizance of the fact that South

Previous Page To Table of Contents Next Page

Back to Schwartzberg Atlas | Back to the DSAL Page

Warning: include(/Volumes/data/www/dsal/updateinfo.php) [function.include]: failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /Library/WebServer/Documents/dsal/reference/schwartzberg/footer on line 27

Warning: include() [function.include]: Failed opening '/Volumes/data/www/dsal/updateinfo.php' for inclusion (include_path='.:') in /Library/WebServer/Documents/dsal/reference/schwartzberg/footer on line 27