by Colin Todhunter
Angus Maddison has noted that India was the richest country in the world and had
controlled a third of global wealth until the 17th century. The village was the centre
of a rural economy that was an economic powerhouse of entrepreneurialism. The British
Raj almost dismantled this system however by introducing mono crop activities and mill
made products, and post independent India has failed to repair the economic fabric.
If anything implies that India's social and economic fabric requires restoring, it is
the findings of the 2014 global Multidimensional Poverty Index. Out of its 1.2
billion-plus population, India is home to over 340 million destitute people and is the
second poorest country in South Asia after war-torn Afghanistan.
Some 640 million poor people live in India (40% of the world's poor). Just 20 years ago,
India had the second-best social indicators among the six South Asian countries (India,
Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bhutan). Now it has the second worst
position, ahead only of Pakistan. Bangladesh has less than half of India's per-capita
GDP but has infant and child mortality rates lower than that of India.
What is going wrong? . . .
"Corporate Globalization Threatens World's Poor,
Middle Class," The Wisdom Fund, October 10, 2000
John Pilger, "Free Trade: The Rise Of
America's New Enemy," New Statesman, November 10, 2005
Nisid Hajari, "Why
Is Pakistan Such a Mess? Blame India," foreignpolicy.com, May 26, 2015
Shashi Tharoor, "An Era of
Darkness: The British Empire in India," Aleph Book Company (October 27, 2016)
["A country that was the world leader in at least three industries - textiles, steel and
ship building. A country that had everything . . . And after 200 years of exploitation,
expropriation and clean outright looting, this country was reduced to one of the poorest
countries in the world by the time the British left in 1947," he said.--"British reduced India to one of
the poorest countries: Shashi Tharoor," Indian Express, December 21, 2016]
[All this made India (which included the future state of Pakistan) the largest Allied
creditor after the US. Britain owed her £1.335 billion ($5.23 billion, which is about
$59 billion today). . . .
Britain is said to have secretly sounded out the US, and received a discreet assurance
that she could avoid repaying India, Pakistan, Egypt and others their wartime debt in
convertible currency.--Kannan Srinivasan, "How
India Paid to Create the London of Today," thewire.in, April 20, 2017]