At the turn of the last millennium India was the BIGGEST economy in the World. The greatest power on Earth today was discovered by a man set out to discover the greatest power of the time.
Mughals wanted to invade and loot it; Alexander tried his best; the Britishers did it successfully.
I don’t know if its naivety or just stupidity if people think the British rule over India did any good. Yes, they have largely created the Railway system which we still use to this day; yes, they have given us post-Industrial revolution education, or what you may call, a modern education. But, one thing you forget or are not aware of – They did all this to loot India or to enable looting India.
Enter: The English, at the turn of the 17th Century, India simply collapses as a power.
There is one more chart from Angus Maddison which goes back to the start of the Millennium.
For a greater part of the previous millennium, India, accompanied by China, was an Economic Super Power.
What happened? The British happened. They came in the garb of trade and to spread “civilization” to a civilization which had a history of 5000 years.
When they left India in 1947, India had a poverty rate of 80%. If it were not for Nehru-Patel, India would have been split up into many pieces as per the Cabinet Mission Plan which Jinnah wanted to implement; India would have got the foundations. We were lucky to have such individuals at the helm at such a crucial juncture. Gandhi delivered us the freedom, Nehru and Patel made it valuable.
Do not mistake my anger with anger against the British(As Gandhi and Nehru wanted, we will say goodbye to them with a smile). They did what they had to do, it is us who goofed up. We were too divided, too many kingdoms, too much regional politics (If you think Congress Vs Mamata or the Congress Vs BJP politics is stupid, just think of the murderous politics of that era which used to end in wars). India, in many ways, was a World in itself. So many cultures, diverse ethnicity, plethora of language shared a common roof. Others wanted to have a piece of the action, we were busy being divided.
I do not hate the British, but I realize the importance of being united. India is destined to be a big power and by around 2040 it will be the 3rd biggest economy in the World. By PPP terms it already is.
We owe it to ourselves, to the poor of India to accelerate this process.
We had a minor hiccup, let us fix ourselves and move on: We are destined for greatness.