NEW DELHI: India’s pre-colonial economy considered as a golden age of prosperity under Mughal period, amounting to almost 27% of world GDP, said former union minister Shashi Tharoor on a recent visit to Australia for Melbourne Writers Festivals 2017.
The Congress MP appearing on national channel ABC’s #QandA (Question and Answer) on September 04, 2017, described at length how India’s textiles, dominated mostly by Muslims, were systematically destroyed by the British.
“The British came to one of the richest countries in the world when the GDP was almost 27% in the 17th century, 23% in the18th. But, over 200 years of exploitation, loot and destruction reduced India to a poster child for third world poverty”, he said in reply to a question about the British rule in India.
“But when they left India in 1947, 90% of the population was living under below poverty level. Literacy rate was below 17% and growth rate from 1900 to 1947 was a meager 0.001%”, he said.
“The fact is in the name of free trade the British came in and destroyed the free trade that had made India leading exporter of textiles.
“The British soldiers smashed looms so people couldn’t practice their craft. They imposed punitive duties and taxes on the export of Indian textiles while lifting duties on import of British cloth”, he said.
“Cities like Dhaka and Murshidabad were depopulated. In one notorious incident weavers’ thumbs were cut so that they could not operate on looms.
“India’s textile industry was systematically destroyed by the British”, he added.
India’s trade was in a healthy state and it became the largest economy by 1700, amounting to almost 27% of world GDP, until the mid-18th century, prior to British rule.
This is not the first time Tharoor praises for Muslim rulers. Earlier in August 2017, speaking at Mountain Echoes Literary Festival in Bhutan’s capital Thimpu, Tharoor said that he did not regard Muslim rulers as foreigners.
“I am talking about the British who came and ruled us for the benefit of a country far away. For the Prime Minister, Muslim rulers who originally came to India to rule but stayed in India, assimilated and intermarried are also considered foreigners. To me they are not foreigners. If they stole and looted, they spent their loot here. They did not send it back to another country like the British,” Tharoor is quoted as saying in a report by NDTV.
“To me they are not foreigners. If they stole and looted, they spent their loot here. They did not send it back to another country like the British,” Tharoor said in a direct attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s repeated claim of “1,200 years of foreign rule”.