Congress MP Shashi Tharoor minces no words when it comes to slamming the British over the economic ruin they inflicted on India during their near 200-year-long stay in the Indian subcontinent. His 2015 speech at the Oxford University about the economic hardships our country suffered under the British rule had earned him a lot of praise and accolades.
Recently, Tharoor was invited as a panellist on a show named Q&A aired on Australian channel ABC. He was asked by a man from the audience whether the Indians should thank the British for the developments in the field of engineering, infrastructure and education. In response to this, the MP from Thiruvananthapuram pointed out that establishment of all the Indian Institutes of Technology and the engineering advancements that the man was talking about took place after the British left India in 1947. The first IIT was set up in 1950 at Kharagpur but was formally inaugurated a year later.
“Over 200 years of exploitation, depredation, loot and destruction, reduced it to a poster child for third-world poverty, just over three percent of global GDP, 90% of the population living below the poverty line when the British left in 1947,” he said.
The growth rate of British India from 1900 to 1947 was 0.001 per cent. That’s what they were doing while draining the country of taxes and resources. The last thing the British would do is educating the Indians. Will Durant, an American historian visiting India in the late 1930s pointed out that the entire education of British in educating Indians from the nursery to the higher school and universities was less than half of the high school state budget of New York.
Further blaming the British for the misery of Indians during the Raj, Tharoor accused former British PM Winston Churchill of plunging Bengal into starvation.
The Australian ships were docked in Calcutta and Churchill ordered his taskmaster not to disembark the wheat but to ship it to Europe, where they could be used in reserve stock in the future. When conscience stricken British officials sent memoranda to the prime minister saying that the people were dying on the streets, all Churchill did was to peevishly write at the side of the file, why Gandhi hasn’t died yet?
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