Why did Surveys Become a Common Practice under the Colonial Administration?

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 9th, 2023

Surveys became common practice under the Colonial Administration because the British government believed that having a thorough understanding of a country was critical before administering and managing it. A survey is a method of gathering information or data about a specific region, area, or country. In the early nineteenth century, the British government conducted various surveys to gain a clear picture of the entire country, which would aid in better understanding and administration.

Surveys under the Colonial Administration

Surveys were critical for the British government to rule India in a better manner. The British, in a way, started the practice of surveying and also introduced census operations. These census operations were conducted every ten years from the end of the 19th century.

  • The British government believed that before ruling a country, it was necessary to know it well and understand its culture and geography.
  • Proper administration could only happen if they knew every minute detail about the vast land of India and its people.
  • Apart from regular surveys, the British government conducted botanical, archaeological, and forest surveys to better understand the complexities.
  • During the census operations, the British government collected data concerning the total number of people in all Indian provinces, including separate records of caste, religion, and occupation.
  • They also held revenue surveys in all the villages. Also, they tried to know other essential details, such as the topography, the soil quality, the flora, the fauna, the local history, and the cropping patterns.

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