[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: #1 in 1750?

Administrative Note:

Week's Agenda: Economy

prabhu guptara wrote:

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

> monetary system).  

I feel this is the other extreme view. I do not think the British even
development unwittingly.
Thailand is an example which has never been ruled by anyone, yet they have
legal system, transport, communications etc. It is a fact that development
a natural process. I am sure that the rate of development  by the natural 
process would have been faster than the rate at which the British did it.
This is not a statement based on pride or patriotism. Consider the facts.
Cochin and Travancore under the kings were far ahead in literacy and
healthcare compared to even Madras Presidency. In fact, the part of
Kerala which lagged behind was Malabar which before the states were
reorganized was part of Madras Presidency.
What did the British give us? Healthcare? The life expectancy was around
30 years at the time of independence. Infant mortality was very high and
the death rate was 45 (hence no population growth rate problem)
Agriculture? India was known for famines. Science? 
You might be interested to know that things were no
different in those days. JN Tata, father of late JRD, wanted to set up
Indian Institute of Science. He was to pay 50% and the Government 50%.
He paid his part, the Mysore Maharaja donated land too but the British
did not pay its share of 50%.
Education? In 1947, India had a 16% literacy rate.
I have heard that things have improved so much that destitutes these
days have at least rags to wear. India is at least fighting poverty these
days. Nothing was done to fight poverty during the days of the British.
If you mean credit for ideas, to some extent the Europenas deserve it
but to say that nobody else was capable of thinking would be stretching
things a bit too far.
Again here, I am of the firm belief that if indian trade had not been
ideas would have originated from india too. Ideas originate not because 
of sudden flashes alone but largely due to exposure. Had India been
exposed to the industrial revolution, I am sure indians would have 
contributed with ideas too.
The amount of transport and communications which the British developed
was far less than what would have occured if development was natural.

To their credit, I must accept that they developed the legal system.
We might have had several countries instead of one but to say that
they would have been perpetually at war with one another would be
a cynical statement. Just as the barbarism of middle ages in Europe
stopped, this too would have stopped. However, that is speculative
and let me not divert from the topic.
To get a fair idea how we would have progressed, one needs to study
those princely states which were least affected by the British. 


This is a posting to India_Policy Discussion list:  debate@indiapolicy.org
Rules, Procedures, Archives:            http://www.indiapolicy.org/debate/