We Indians have a forgiving and forgetful nature. While forgiving is Ok we should not be forgetful to the brutalities of our history, since remembering them is a vital part in bringing up a strong and prosperous future. While most of us acknowledge the fact that the British rule was cruel to us, there is a good number of people suffering from the Stockholm syndrome of sympathising with the Brits. Their arguments that the British gave us Railways, Industrialization and Democracy and without it, we would have lived in primitive societies, is just pretty ridiculous.
British came to India because we were a rich nation they were not, period.
It was only due to the huge amount of Wealth, Resources and People of India that the Brits were able to rule the world. Yes, Indian rulers were lethargic and did not expand so much Overseas, but who needs expansion when you have all the resources in your own country. Yes, Indian rulers also killed and looted people but apart from a few Islamic invaders almost all of them from Mughal to Delhi Sultanate stayed in India and our wealth was not exported in foreign lands for the development of their own race. Let’s put some numbers on the brutal British Raj in India:-
1.Money collected by East India Company in 1757 after the Battle of Plassey from Mir Jafar, which was the starting point for British Colonial rule:-3.9 million pound
2.Mir Jafars descendants payment to the East India Company-2,30,000 pound per Annum
3.Annual taxes collected from Bengal, Bihar & Orissa:-19,32,900 pound per annum
4.Annual taxes collected only from Bihar:-6,80,000 pound per annum
5.The Great Bengal Famine of 1770 which resulted in the direct death of 10 million people which was one-third of the population of the Bengal province.The territory comprised current day West Bengal, Bangladesh and parts of Bihar, Orissa, Assam and Jharkhand. Most of the deaths occurred in West Bengal and Bihar. Regions like Murshidabad and Birbhum in Bengal, and Champaran, Tirhut and Bettiah in Bihar were the worst affected.
6.Jump in British Annual revenues in 1793 due to ‘Permanent Settlement of Bengal’ agreement between the British and the Zamindars:-2,30,000 pound per Annum https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Permanent_Settlement
7.Deaths due to 1783 famines:-11 million people, 1791 famines-11 million people, 1837 Famines-8,00,000 people, 1860 famines-2 million people
8.Total Deaths due to Famines in 1865,1868,1876,1888,1896,1900- A whopping 18.5 million people in just a span of 35 years. We have to just notice the huge rise in Famines after the British Government took charge from the East India Company. Always remember, that Famine is the worst form of poverty in Human history where the person even doesn’t have the money to eat. It is worse than the days when human beings lived in Jungles.
9.1857 Holocaust: -One million people died over a span of 10 years starting from 1857 which the British thought was a necessary holocaust to win over India. Their strategy was to kill the entire populace of towns and villages that create an obstacle in their way.
10.Revenue from Allahabad after Mahalwari treaty from 1801:-16,82,306 GBP per Annum
11.Land Revenue Tax:-Upto 1855-66%, After 1855-50% of total produce
12.Tax collection from Maratha Area during 1800’s:-15,00,000 pound per annum
13.India’s External Debt in 1857:-5,10,00,000 pound
14.India’s External Debt in 1862:-9,70,00,000 pound
15.India’s External Debt in 1901:-20,00,00,000 pound
All these debts were taken by the British Govt. to fund their own expansion in India and across Asia & Africa in Singapore, Ceylon, Rangoon, Yemen, HongKong. The wars that were fought on foreign soils of China, Persia, Afghanistan involved Indian money and people. Historian and Economist R.C. Dutt had rightly said
“India paid for her own administration; paid also for the frequent wars of conquest and annexation in India” such was the barbarity of the British Raj.”
16.44 million pound was the annual outflow from India to the Great Britain. If we multiply this figure by at least 150 it comes down to 6.6 billion pound. If you add a general inflation of 8% it comes down to a whopping 37 Trillion pound sterling or 46 Trillion dollars. External Debt of India as on March 2016 is 485.6 billion dollars.
17.The British revenue earnings from India in just one single year was 243 billion pound or 299 Billion US dollars amounting to 62% of total external debt accrued till date by Independent India during last 70 years and this is just one year’s revenue, Unbelievable Right?
The West has developed so much with loot and blood money in there hands. Systematically for 200 years, they have engaged in Mass holocaust which is unparallel in human civilisation and breaking the basic moral fibre and confidence of our society. The British does owe reparations as mentioned by Shashi Tharoor in Oxford Union debate 2015. But let’s not hold grudges against them but also not be ignorant of our past.
As Shashi Tharoor rightly said we would be happy to receive a pound a year also for 200 years of British colonisation. But the least they can do is to apologise which they will never do.
Reference: -Churchill’s Secret war by Madhushree Mukherjee & An Economic History of India by Romesh Dutt.