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Re: #1 in 1750?

Administrative Note:

Week's Agenda: Social Conditions

  Minimum Wage
  Rules regarding Safety of Personnel at work to be made clear
  Introduction of Social Security Net
  Introduction of identity card
  Removal of Age discrimination at work
  Creating conditions so that reservations will no longer be necessary

     Unfortunately, as economic history is not my field (though I have just 
     started work on Indian economic history), I can only tell you that a 
     certain reputable source provided the following gem, which I noted 
     without noting the source as the field was not of research interest to 
     me then:
        "India and China together produced 43% of world output in 1820, 
     compared with just 17% of world output in 1992".  
     As I recollect, India's output (and China's) did not decline overall 
     but rather continued to increase; the issue was and is that world 
     output has increased so much more!
That the British destroyed India is a self-serving myth that was useful to us in
the course of our national struggle for independence, but is now something we 
need to examine more rationally.  

The fact is that the British destroyed some things (e.g. the silk and cotton and
salt industries) but they built up numerous other things (literacy, education, 
the press, health care, agriculture, the legal system, transport and 
communications, science and industry, and indeed gave us the basis of a modern 
economic system, for example by rationalising and stabilising our monetary 

Most importantly they began to reform our society and give us a sense of our own
history (as distinct from mythology).  Our mythology had not given us a sense of
nationalism ever in the past.  It was the recovery of our history (indeed the 
invention by the British of the notions of India as a single country) which was 
the whole basis for our recovering a sense of our own national past and 
therefore of our national pride (I understand the Taj was being used as a 
stables when the British started making efforts to identify and preserve our 
national monuments - someone please check and verify). 

We need to be clear that it was SOME Brits who were involved in such 
constructive activities, certainly not all.  Those who WERE acting 
constructively were quite aware that their work would inevitably lead to Indian 
freedom.  The Brits who were OPPOSED to such efforts were also aware that these 
efforts would lead to India's freedom - that was the precise reason they opposed
these efforts.

The full story, with the original documents documenting the debate, are 
available in only one book, as far as I am aware: Vishal Mangalwadi's INDIA: THE
GRAND EXPERIMENT (published last year by Good Books, Ivy Cottage, Landour, 
Mussoorie, UP 248179, India; Pippa Rann Books, UK; and The McLaurin Institute, 
University of Minneapolis, USA).

No things were not rosy in India in the 17th and 18th centuries: that was the 
reason that a handful of British were able to rule India for 200 years.  What 
was not rosy, and what they exploited in order to get into power, was our 
internal divisions, our in-fighting and our willingness to betray each other.  

Those conditions are precisely what are being recreated by the present rise of 
Hinutva-related-fundamentalism in India.  Ironically, the idea that "Hinduism" 
is a single religion is also a Western invention which has been internalised by 
us mainly since the 19th century - before that time, no Indian used the word 
"hindu" to describe her/his religion: we were (and we remain) Vedantists, 
Advaitists, Vishistadvaitists, yoga-practicers, temple-worshippers, Krishna- 
versus Ram- versus Shiva- versus Vishnu-followers,, nature-worshippers, 
tantrics, guru-followers, or whatever, with various unsystematic overlaps but 
also some fundamental oppositions between these various traditions.  Most of 
these divisions were quite violent in the past, as is recorded in our 
traditions.  Those who are interested in a brief history of the development of 
Indian religion are referred to my little booklet, INDIAN SPIRITUALITY, 
published by Grove Books, UK.

Professor Prabhu Guptara
Director, Organisational and Executive Development
Wolfsberg Executive Development Centre
(a subsidiary of UBS AG)
CH-8272 Ermatingen
Tel: + 41.71.663.5605
Fax: +41.71.663.5590
e-mail: prabhu.guptara@ubs.com

______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
Subject: #1 in 1750?
Author:  Arvind (Arvind@simexmail.com.sg) at nyuxuu
Date:    07.10.98 18:42

Can someone elaborate on how it has been determined that 
India was in the #1 position in 1750? On what basis does one 
come to this conclusion? Where can I know more about this?
As far as I know, the life expectation was ~30 and the literacy 
around 16% in 1947. Do you mean to say things were rosy just 
200 years before that and the British were solely responsible 
for the degradation? Of course, they were responsible for 
destroying the country, but to such an extent?

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