Insightful newsletter of Drishtikone: Issue #253 - The British Colonial Rule in Perspective
Colonial rule maybe just a word for this generation. The White Man's Burden narrative of great contribution to India notwithstanding, the facts point to a Genocide. Let us discuss threadbare!
“The last capitalist we hang shall be the one who sold us the rope.” ― Karl Marx
If India had been free and never colonized, its GDP in 2003 would have been $232 Trillion. THE total GDP of the world’s top 195 countries in 2020 was $84 Trillion.
Do you get the scale of the cost of colonization?
1.8 BILLION Indians died in famines orchestrated by those who have been hailed as heroes in the West. The total population of Europe and ENTIRE North America today is 1.3 Billion.
40% more than the entire Europe and North America population of Indians were deliberately killed by the politicians and economists who couldn’t care for the Indians who “bred like rabbits”!
But the world couldn’t have enough morality to call it Genocide. Instead, it hailed Churchill as the greatest War leader ever.
Today’s generation cannot understand what it is to be colonized and live under the rule of despots and ruthless psychopaths who masquerade as your saviors.
There was a time when despite efforts by several generations of Indians, the country saw no light of freedom. That frustration. That heart-break. That trauma - is unfathomable for a generation that has seen no despotic rule.
You see, today there is no depiction in any movie of that dark period. No one writes any songs sharing that pain. There is no Bharat Vyas to cry out with Mahipal’s face full of pain like in Navrang to articulate the inherent dismissiveness for the demonic presence of the colonial masters that plagued an entire nation.
तुम बाँध रहे इस दुनिया को
कानूनों की ज़ंजीरों से
हम जोड़ रहे दिल से दिल को
बस प्यार की चंद लकीरों से
That is why even that genocidal colonial rule seems so romantic to the generation today.
It is time to get a reality check.
Why do we always keep the theme of colonialism and imperialism always in view when we discuss the actions of the various powers - state and non-state - in our newsletters?
Because Colonial rule is the most devastating curse on any society.
For a generation that never experienced such a monstrosity, it seems to be just another word and the British seem like some benevolent power who helped us become better (classic White Man’s Burden narrative).
The truth is something else.
Facts are that the British plundered in excess of $45 Trillion from India and 1.8 Billion Indians died from egregious deprivation caused by the British policies, experiments, and vile ways.
Eminent Indian economist Professor Utsa Patnaik (Jawaharlal Nehru University) has estimated that Britain robbed India of $45 trillion between 1765 and 1938, however it is estimated that if India had remained free with 24% of world GDP as in 1700 then its cumulative GDP would have been $232 trillion greater (1700-2003) and $44 trillion greater (1700-1950). Deprivation kills and it is estimated that 1.8 billion Indians died avoidably from egregious deprivation under the British (1757-1947). The deadly impact of British occupation of India lingers today 71 years after Independence, with 4 million people dying avoidably from deprivation each year in capitalist India as compared to zero (0) in China. (Source)
The 1.8 billion Indians do not include those who were put to death in hundreds of thousands in war efforts within India or those who were killed in the World Wars fighting for the British but never compensated!
If India had been free, India’s GDP would have been higher by $232 Trillion! The total GDP comprising 194 economies in 2020 was $84 Trillion!
Do you understand the scale of the disaster that India faced due to British rule?
Today even the talk of $5 Trillion GDP for India is laughed at. And British, the vile, thoroughly inefficient, loser group of society that they were are at a total GDP of under $3 Trillion today. After plundering $45 Trillion from India alone!
It all started in 1583.
When Queen Elizabeth sent her John Newberry with a message for Akbar. Newberry was caught by the Portuguese and somehow he escaped and reached Akbar.
In 1600, John Mildenhall took Elizabeth’s message to Akbar for special trading privileges. And, the Queen gave the charter for trade with India to the East India Company.
Now pause here for a moment. Elizabeth was dealing with Akbar through her envoy for trading privileges. And, for that, a trading company was incorporated with a special charter on 31st December 1600.
What was the name? Not East Mughal Company. But the East India Company!
If it were the British who created India during their colonial rule, then why the heck were they naming companies after India and not the Mughals who were giving them the trading privileges?
Something to throw at the sorry faces of the Islamo-Leftist jokers masquerading as historians in India.
What started off as trade, became a plunder post the Battle of Plassey where the East India Company controlled Bengal as well. The Modus Operandi of the company created a grand scale plunder.
Here’s how it worked. The East India Company began collecting taxes in India, and then cleverly used a portion of those revenues (about a third)to fund the purchase of Indian goods for British use. In other words, instead of paying for Indian goods out of their own pocket, British traders acquired them for free, “buying” from peasants and weavers using money that had just been taken from them. (Source)
Here is the illustration of how it actually happened.
That Indians were paying the taxes, a portion of which was used to buy the goods from Indian producers is bad enough, the British were exporting those goods to the other countries in ways that would help them create huge gold reserves while the Indian traders, whose goods were used for this trade, got pittance in the Indian currency.
Basically, anyone who wanted to buy goods from India would do so using special Council Bills - a unique paper currency issued only by the British Crown. And the only way to get those bills was to buy them from London with gold or silver. So traders would pay London in gold to get the bills, and then use the bills to pay Indian producers. When Indians cashed the bills in at the local colonial office, they were “paid” in rupees out of tax revenues - money that had just been collected from them. So, once again, they were not in fact paid at all; they were defrauded. (Source)
The Gold that was earned from Indians goods went to the British coffers, while the Indian producers remained poor!
That is how India was looted.
This large-scale plunder by the British happened throughout colonial rule.
However, it took a particularly vicious turn when the economic and political policies during the Second World War directly caused the Bengal Famine where 3 million were starved to death.
The recent understanding of the Bengal famines - beyond the carefully crafted narrative from the British spinmasters hitherto - has been that these were orchestrated by the political leadership of British PM Winston Churchill.
“Why hasn’t Gandhi died yet?” 75 years on, Winston Churchill’s apathetic response to the Bengal famine unfailingly brings back memories of unspeakable suffering. In Churchill’s view, the famine was no more than a distraction, and since Indians didn’t vote in British elections, he wasn’t beholden to their pleas for help. Contrary to his opinions, however, the famine did not occur because Indians were "breeding like rabbits" but rather due to a series of policy decisions aimed at draining Indian resources to support the British war effort. (Source)
This Bengal famine was not just a disaster orchestrated by the political leadership of Winston Churchill. It was a colossal experiment in economics by the greatest name in economics at that time - John Maynard Keynes.
Keynes started his career at the India Office in London and left it when he was 25 years. He subsequently published the paper Indian Currency and Finance (1913) 5 years later.
He was the authority on Indian economics and even gave evidence or was a member of several commissions on Indian economics and currency: the Chamberlain, Babington–Smith, and Hilton Young Commissions, and even the Indian Fiscal Commission.
He taught subjects related to Indian monetary affairs at Cambridge as well.
Keynes was specifically had the brief to advise the British government on Indian financial matters during the Second World War. It was his economic policies that camouflaged the entire Bengal famine as a “natural occurrence” when it was a direct consequence of his economic advice!
Patnaik’s later work has also examined JM Keynes’ influence on Indian economic policy. In Keynes’ own writings on the Indian budget, ‘a studied silence was always maintained on how exactly rupees in the Indian budget ended up as gold and sterling with Britain’ (Patnaik 2018: 35). Patnaik also notes that the economic management tools Keynes’ advocated to raise finance for the British war effort were implemented in Bengal during 1943-44, while they were rejected as unacceptably ‘vicious’ and burdensome in Britain. Keynes’ policy influence is charged by Patnaik with directly resulting in the three million deaths that occurred during the Bengal famine. This final pre-Independence drain of resources followed the extraction of what Patnaik calculates to be £9,184.41 billion between 1765 and 1938 (Patnaik 2017: 311). While noting that Britain is not rich enough to repay even a fraction of what it extracted from India (and that such repayment could never compensate for the loss of life or frustration of economic and technological development that accompanied this extraction), Patnaik does believe it is ‘practicable for the industrial nations as a whole to repay the transfers which they took’ provided that their scholars ‘come to terms with the real drivers and the real history of imperialism’ (Patnaik 2017: 312). (Source)
So can you see how two of the greatest British “heroes” - Churchill and Keynes - worked together to orchestrate one of the most devastating genocide in those times?
Hitler vs Churchill - Tuhaada Villain Vs Saada Villain
That is why we Indians need to ask the question -
How can Churchill be a Hero while Hitler is a villain?
It is a relevant question because in the end, it was the help from Hitler that resulted in India’s freedom:
- The Royal Naval Mutiny was the trigger for India’s independence
- Royal Naval Mutiny happened because of the stories of the exploits of INA and Netaji
- The seed group of fighters for INA - The India Legion - was provided by Hitler to Netaji. These were the PoWs from WWI that had been captured from the British forces in Germany. (Source)
Even before Bose had arrived in Germany, a few Indian Prisoners-of-War (POW) had turned against their former overlords. This would be the nucleus of the promised army, now christened the Indian Legion. The Legion would ultimately act as a pathfinder force for the planned German campaign into India. This seemed feasible back then since General Rommel’s Afrika Korps was sweeping across North Africa towards West Asia. The Germans hoped that when the Indian invasion commences, a liberating army under Bose would trigger public unrest in India. Bose conducted massive recruitment drives in Indian POW camps in Europe. However, only about 5,000 volunteered, despite many months of effort. Mass ceremonies were held in which Indian POWs joined in oaths of allegiance to Hitler and Bose. (Source)
Now, let us be clear, yes Hitler was a mass killer. But so was Churchill and John Maynard Keynes. If Hitler and his Nazi companions were war criminals, so were Churchill and Keynes.
Just because Hitler killed Jews, and Churchill killed even more Indians, doesn’t make one a Hero and the other a demon.
If Churchill was your Hero, and Hitler your villain - because he kicked your (British/Allieds) arse (not necessarily because he killed the Jews) - then Indians have the right to disagree with this racist one-sided narrative as well. After all, Brown lives matter as much as the White British lives.
For Indians, Churchill and Keynes were far bigger demons than Hitler. Hitler actually helped Indians to uproot and throw the Churchillian demons out of the country.
The demons who had plundered $45 trillion and sent 1.8 Billion (yes, with a B) Indians to death in famines that were orchestrated by psychopathic economists and politicians. Guys who have been shoved into our faces as heroes.
Thanks but we will go with Hitler instead of Churchill any day. It’s not a great set of options but a European cannot decide the villains for India while celebrating the life of a guy who orchestrated an Indian genocide as a universal hero!
market corner: 10 quick bytes
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video corner: Shitala - vaccinations in Ancient India
We had discussed the history of vaccines in India in one of our newsletter issues in mid-December - Issue #205 – Vaccines & Ancient India
We had discussed how inoculation was not new to India. Indian healers - the Vedic Doctors - had been doing this for a long time. There is documentary evidence available from the British times as well. Just that no one has discussed that properly.
The younger generation thinks that Ancient Indians were “backward” and “superstitious” and even some of ignorance British civil servants promoted the idea that Indians were against small-pox inoculation, but the fact was that Indians had a complete regimen of how every town would be inoculated at a certain time of the year.
Now Mitra Desai has written an excellent quick conversational book, specifically for the youth, to acquaint them with our heritage in terms of vaccination. It is a quick read and informative as well. It can be purchased from Subbu Publications for INR 149 - Source
Here is a quick video on the content.
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