How India Became Poor

Yesterday, I was browsing Shantanu’s blog and stumbled upon an insightful article about how India became poor.

How a gang of venal British traders, bankers, mercenary army-men and power brokers represented by the East India Company went about savaging India is a sordid tale that makes my blood boil. Their behaviour is akin to a pack of hyenas pouncing upon a wounded deer. In 1757 when the Battle of Plassey was fought with treachery (only 300 British soldiers led by Robert Clive “defeated” 18,000 of Nawab’s crack troops in a mere 40 minutes), India was a land full of milk and honey.

The British — coming from a poor country of Europe — were dazzled with the wealth of Bengal. But in a mere 100 years, they had destroyed India’s irrigation system, public institutions, education system and elaborate system of industries, and reduced the once-proud country to beggary, destitution and illiteracy. (From a  near total literacy prevailing here when the British captured India, they managed to bring the literacy rate down to only 6 percent by 1901. This they achieved by derecognising the age-old traditional village schools and stopping all grants to them.)

The province of Bengal (which included today’s Bihar, West Bengal, Bangladesh and Orissa) was so fertile that it was called the granary of India.  But within a mere five years of the Company acquiring total political control of Bengal, it created conditions that led to 10 million people — one third of Bengal’s total population — dying in a famine in 1769. Never before in Indian history had something like this happened.

My friend Kosla Vepa says that this genocide was deliberate and the British objective was to depopulate the continent, much like what they did to Americas by exterminating the Red Indians.  Once the Indians were exterminated, the Brits would have coolly settled down in this land and repopulated it with Whites. They were not successful because the Indian population was simply too large to be finished off, no matter how hard the Brits orchestrated the famines.

Can you believe that between 1814 to 1835, the Brits managed to reduce the population of Dhaka to a mere 20,000 from 150,000! The rest starved to death and rotting corpses of artisans and farmers lay on the streets in piles. What is truly shocking is that in this period of terrible famine, the Brits actually managed to increase their tax collection from the area!

I quote from Shantanu’s blog post:

Few would doubt that Indo-British trade may have been unfair – but it may be noteworthy to see how unfair. In the early 1800s imports of Indian cotton and silk goods faced duties of 70-80%. British imports faced duties of 2-4%! As a result, British imports of cotton manufactures into India increased by a factor of 50, and Indian exports dropped to one-fourth! A similiar trend was noted in silk goods, woollens, iron, pottery, glassware and paper. As a result, millions of ruined artisans and craftsmen, spinners, weavers, potters, smelters and smiths were rendered jobless and had to become landless agricultural workers.

It seems hard to believe today that till only 200 years ago, Indians were the richest and most advanced people in the world and had remained so for the last 2000 years. Their lifestyle and living standard were of a much higher quality than the Europeans. That is why I find it amazing that the Westerners — especially the British led by their BBC — mock India for its poverty today, ridicule its slums through movies like ‘Slumdog’ and pretend that the “rich and advanced” Whites came to India, found it full of poverty and misery and – as part of the White Man’s burden — began to civilize the land, particularly through missionaries who taught Indians how to read and write for the first time. The pretensions of these charlatans are limitless. The tragedy is that the Whites know the truth but deliberately lie to put down the Easterners, but the Indians don’t know their own history, due to which they fully accept and internalise the non-sense spouted by Westerners.

Here is the article: 

Loot: in search of the East India Company

By Nick Robins

Although it started out as a speculative vehicle to import precious spices from the East Indies – modern-day Indonesia – the Company grew to fame and fortune by trading with and then conquering India. And for many Indians, it was the Company’s plunder that first de-industrialised their country and then provided the finance that fuelled Britain’s own industrial revolution. In essence, the Honourable East India Company found India rich and left it poor.

But visit London today, where the Company was headquartered for over 250 years, and nothing is there to mark its rise and fall, its power and its crimes. Like a snake, the City seems embarrassed of an earlier skin. All that remains is a pub – the East India Arms on Fenchurch Street. Cramped, but popular with office workers, the pub stands at the centre of the Company’s former commercial universe.

The absence of any memorial to the East India Company is peculiar. For this was not just any corporation. Not only was it the first major shareholder owned company, but it was also a pivot that changed the course of economic history. During its lifetime, the Company first reversed the ancient flow of wealth from West to East, and then put in place new systems of exchange and exploitation. From Roman times, Europe had always been Asia’s commercial supplicant, shipping out gold and silver in return for spices, textiles and luxury goods. And for the first 150 years after its establishment by Queen Elizabeth I in 1600, the Company had to repeat this practice; there was simply nothing that England could export that the East wanted to buy.

The situation changed dramatically in the middle of the 18th century, as the Company’s officials took advantage of the decline of the Mughal Empire and began to acquire the hinterland beyond its vulnerable coastal trading posts. Territorial control enabled the Company both to manipulate the terms of trade in its favour and gouge taxes from the lands it ruled.

Within a few years of Clive’s freak victory over the Nawab of Bengal at Plassey in 1757, the Company had managed to halt the export of bullion eastwards, creating what has poetically been called the ‘unrequited trade’ – using the East’s own resources to pay for exports back to Europe. The impacts of this huge siphoning of wealth were immense, creating a ‘misery’ of ‘an essentially different and infinitely more intensive kind than all Hindustan had to suffer before’, in the words of a columnist writing for the New York Tribune in 1853, one Karl Marx.

Established as a means to capture control of the pepper trade from the Dutch, the East India Company prospered as an importer of luxury goods, first textiles and then tea. From the middle of the 17th century on, the growing influx of cottons radically improved hygiene and comfort, while tea transformed the customs and daily calendar of the people. And it was in the huge five-acre warehouse complex at Cutlers Gardens that these goods were stored prior to auction at East India House. Here, over 4,000 workers sorted and guarded the Company’s stocks of wondrous Indian textiles: calicoes, muslins and dungarees, ginghams, chintzes and seersuckers, taffetas, alliballlies and hum hums. Today, the Company’s past at Cutlers Gardens is marked with ceramic tiles that bear a ring of words: ‘silks, skins, tea, ivory, carpets, spices, feathers, cottons’, but still no mention of the company itself.

This lifestyle revolution was not without opposition. For hundreds of years, India had been renowned as the workshop of the world, combining great skill with phenomenally low labour costs in textile production. As the Company’s imports grew, so local manufacturers in England panicked. In 1699, things came to a head and London’s silk weavers rioted, storming East India House in protest at cheap imports from India.

The following year, Parliament prohibited the import of all dyed and printed cloth from the East, an act to be followed 20 years later by a complete ban on the use or wearing of all printed calicoes in England – the first of many efforts to protect the European cloth industry from Asian competition. And it was behind these protectionist barriers that England’s mechanised textile industry was to grow and eventually crush India’s handloom industry.

For 30 years after Robert Clive’s victory at Plassey, East India House lay at the heart of both the economy and governance of Britain, a monstrous combination of trader, banker, conqueror and power broker. It was from here that the 24 Directors guided the Company’s commercial and increasingly political affairs, always with an eye to the share price; when Clive captured the French outpost of Chandernagore in Bengal in 1757, stocks rose by 12%. The share price moved higher still in the 1760s as investors fed hungrily on news of the apparently endless source of wealth that Bengal would provide. The Company was rapidly extending its reach from trade to the governance of whole provinces, using the taxes raised to pay for the imports of cloth and tea back to England.

In the wake of Enron and other scandals of the 1990s, the malpractice of many of the Company’s key executives is sadly familiar: embedded corruption, insider trading and appalling corporate governance. In the process, a new class of ‘nabobs’ was created (a corruption of the Hindi word nawab). Clive obtained almost a quarter of a million pounds in the wake of Plassey, and told a House of Commons enquiry into suspected corruption that he was ‘astounded’ at his own moderation at not taking more. Thomas Pitt, Governor of Madras earlier in the century, used his fortune to sustain the political careers of his grandson and great-grandson, both of whom became Prime Minister. By the 1780s, about a tenth of the seats in Parliament were held by ‘nabobs’. They inspired deep bitterness among aristocrats angry at the way they bought their way into high society. A few lone voices – such as the Quaker William Tuke – also pointed to the humanitarian disaster that the Company had wrought in India.

All these forces converged to create a new movement to regulate the Company’s affairs. But so powerful was the Company’s grip on British politics that attempts to control its affairs could bring down governments. In the early 1780s, a Whig alliance of Charles James Fox and Edmund Burke sought to place the Company’s Indian possessions under Parliamentary rule. But their efforts were crushed by an unholy pact of Crown and Company. George III first dismissed the government and then forced a general election, which the Company funded to the hilt, securing a compliant Parliament.

Yet the case for reform was overwhelming, and the new Prime Minister, William Pitt the Younger – that beneficiary of his great-grandfather’s time in Madras – pushed through the landmark India Act of 1784. This transferred executive management of the Company’s Indian affairs to a Board of Control, answerable to Parliament. In the final 70 years of its life, the Company would become less and less an independent commercial venture and more a sub-contracted administrator for the British state, a Georgian example of a ‘public–private partnership’.

For centuries, the City of London has ruled itself from the fine mediaeval Guildhall. It was here in 1794 that the Mayor of London made the Governor-General of Bengal, Lord Cornwallis, an Honorary Freeman of the City, awarding him a gold medal in a gilded box. Cornwallis had certainly earned this prize from Britain’s merchant class. He had defeated Tipu Sultan of Mysore, extracting an eight-figure indemnity, and had just pushed through the ‘permanent settlement’ in Bengal, securing healthy tax revenues for the Company’s shareholders. Seeking to increase the efficiency of tax collection in the Company’s lands, Cornwallis cut through the complex patterns of mutual obligation that existed in the countryside and introduced an essentially English system of land tenure. At the stroke of a pen, the zamindars, a class of tax-farmers under the Mughals, were transformed into landlords. Bengal’s 20 million smallholders were deprived of all hereditary rights. Two hundred years on, and after decades of land reform, the effects still live on in Bengal.

This ‘permanent settlement’ was simply a more systematic form of what had gone before. Just five years after the Company secured control over Bengal in 1765, revenues from the land tax had already tripled, beggaring the people. These conditions helped to turn one of Bengal’s periodic droughts in 1769 into a full-blown famine. Today, the scale of the disaster inflicted on the people of Bengal is difficult to comprehend. An estimated 10 million people – or one-third of the population – died, transforming India’s granary into a ‘jungle inhabited only by wild beasts’. But rather than organise relief efforts to meet the needs of the starving, the Company actually increased tax collection during the famine [similar policies were applied again more than a hundred years later by the government of British India - see Present Hunger, Past Ghosts] . Many of its officials and traders privately exploited the situation; grain was seized by force from peasants and sold at inflated prices in the cities.

Even in good times the Company’s exactions proved ruinous. The Company became feared for its brutal enforcement of its monopoly interests, particularly in the textile trade. Savage reprisals would be exacted against any weavers found selling cloth to other traders, and the Company was infamous for cutting off their thumbs to prevent them ever working again. In rural areas, almost two-thirds of a peasant’s income would be devoured by land tax under the Company – compared with some 40% under the Mughals. In addition, punitive rates of tax were levied on essentials such as salt, cutting consumption in Bengal by half. The health impacts were cruel, increasing vulnerability to heat exhaustion and lowered resistance to cholera and other diseases, particularly amongst the poorest sections.

The Company’s monopoly control over the production of opium had equally devastating consequences. Grown under Company eyes in Bengal, the opium was auctioned and then privately smuggled into China in increasing volumes. By 1828, opium sales in China were enough to pay for the entire purchase of tea, but at the cost of mass addiction, ruining millions of lives. When the Chinese tried to enforce its import ban, the British sent in the gunboats.

By this time, the Company’s dual role as trader and governor was viewed as increasingly anachronistic – not least by the rising free trade lobby that despised its dominance. Eager to sell its cloth, in 1813, Britain’s textile manufacturers forced the ending of the Company’s monopoly of trade with India. The Company’s commercial days were coming to a close. The final blow came in 1834 with the removal of all trading rights; its docks and warehouses (including those at Cutler Street) were sold off.

Technology, free trade and utilitarian ethics now came together in a powerful package to uplift the degraded people of India. But while the Company promoted a mission to make Indians ‘useful and happy subjects’, the twin pillars of Company rule remained the same: military and commercial conquest. By the 1850s, the budget for ‘social uplift’ was meager – while £15,000 was indeed made available for Indian schools, £5 million went to the military war chest.

The telegraph, steam ship and railway were introduced to accelerate access of British goods to Indian markets. The rapid influx of mill-made cloth shattered the village economy based on an integration of agriculture and domestic spinning, and the great textile capitals of Bengal. Between 1814 and 1835, British cotton cloth exported to India rose 51 times, while imports from India fell to a quarter. During the same period, the population of Dacca shrunk from 150,000 to 20,000. Even the Governor-General, William Bentinck, was forced to report that ‘the misery hardly finds parallel in the history of commerce. The bones of the cotton-weavers are bleaching the plains of India.’

Walk to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office from St James’ Park and you will go up ‘Clive’s steps’, named after the statue of Robert Clive that stands without apology outside the old India Office buildings. It was here that the government transferred the administration of India in the wake of the disastrous ‘mutiny’ of 1857. Many explanations have been given for this uprising against Company rule in northern India, but the Company’s increasing racial and administrative arrogance lay at the root.

Anglo-Indians were excluded from senior positions in the Company; non-European wives of the Company were forbidden to follow their husbands back to Britain. Verbal abuse mounted, with ‘nigger’ becoming a common expression for Indians. This slide into separatism also affected the Company’s relations with its Indian soldiers, the sepoys. One by one, ties between the army and local communities were cut: Hindu and Muslim holy men were barred from blessing the sepoy regimental colours, and troops were stopped from participating in festival parades. As missionary presence grew, fears mounted that the Company was planning forcible conversion to Christianity.

All these sleights and apprehensions came to a head when sepoys in northern India rejected a new type of rifle cartridge, said to be greased with cow and/or pig fat. What turned a mutiny into a rebellion, however, was the Company’s crass behaviour towards local rulers in Oudh, Cawnpore and Jhansi, who all turned against the Company as the soldiers rose. Symbolically, the first act of the mutineers at Meerut was to march the 36 miles to Delhi to claim the puppet Emperor Bahadur Shah as their leader.

The war, known simply as the ‘Indian Mutiny’, lasted for almost two years, and was characterised by extreme savagery on both sides. When the Company retook Cawnpore, where rebel troops had slaughtered European women and children, captured sepoys were made to lick the blood from the floors before being hanged. The reconquest of Delhi by the Company’s troops was followed by systematic sacking, and the surviving inhabitants were turned out of its gates to starve. Bahadur’s two sons and grandson were killed in cold blood, and the old Mughal was stripped of his powers and sent into exile in Rangoon.

Yet the Company that had grown in a symbiotic relationship with the Mughal Empire could not long survive its passing. The uprising itself and the massacres of Europeans had generated a ferocious bloodlust in British society. Even the mild-mannered Charles Dickens declared that ‘I wish I were commander-in-chief in India [for] I would do my utmost to exterminate the Race upon whom the stain of the late cruelties rested.’ On 1 November 1858, a proclamation was read from every military cantonment in India: the East India Company was abolished and direct rule by Queen and Parliament was introduced. Firework displays followed the proclamation

The Company’s legacy was quickly erased. East India House was demolished in 1861. India was no longer ruled from a City boardroom, but from the imperial elegance of Whitehall.

Many would argue that the Company was no worse and in some respects somewhat better than other conquerors and rulers of India. What sets the Company apart, however, was the remorseless logic of its eternal search for profit, whether through trade, through taxation or through war. The Company was not just any other ruler. As a commercial venture, it could not and did not show pity during the Bengal famine of 1769–1770. Shareholder interests came first when it dispossessed Bengal’s peasantry with its ‘permanent settlement’ of 1794. And the principles of laissez-faire ensured that its Governor-General would note the devastation of India’s weavers in the face of British imports, and then do absolutely nothing.

Many institutions have justifiably disappeared into the anonymity of history. But in a country like Britain that is so drenched in the culture of heritage, the public invisibility of the East India Company is suspicious. Perhaps a single Hindi word can now help to explain this selective memory, this very British reticence: loot.

It beggars belief that the prime minister of our country can actually go to Britain and in a public speech thank the British for ruling India.

If you have some spare time, I highly recommend reading Dharampal’s “Indian Science and Technology in 18th Century.” It is based on the dispatches of the East India Company’s officers which are currently stored in London archives. They reveal the very high level of industries prevailing in India in 18th century (much more sophisticated and advanced that anything seen by Europeans of those times) and how the Brits managed to destroy them in a mere 50 years.

The Brits were particularly stunned by the quality of Indian steel, which was much superior to what was produced by them back home. They promptly copied the process and took it to Britain and were soon producing the best steel in the world. The Brits were amazed at the Indian process and the sophistication it required. But unwilling to give any credit to Indian intellect, they claimed: “The Indians are making such good steel, but they actually cannot comprehend their own process and are merely going through the motions unthinkingly.”  

The book is available online on this link: 

Simply click on “Published Works” and download the book.

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22 responses to “How India Became Poor

  1. AG

    The book “Scandal of empire” by columbia dean Nicholas Dirks outlines in gory detail about how the East india company spun the whole story of rapine and ourtight theft as a “civilising mission”

    sounds familiar?

    • sanjaychoudhry

      It is a shame that all research into the rapine and loot of East India company has been done by the Westerners themselves. Have the Indian historians been sleeping for the last 50 years? I have found that most of these “historians” of India are dishonest communists who are too busy fudging Indian history to delegitimise the claim of Hindus over India. The nationalist historians on the other hand are too few and lack any kind of articulation or writing skills. This leaves the field uncontested for the communist historians of the Romila Thaapar variety and nobody is left to challenge their biased, anti-Hindu drivel. The traitorous Congress courtiers are their patrons.

  2. VB

    If you receive the channel which shows yoga, rajiv dixit appears around 8 Pm=830 Pm everyday nowadays and he is excellent

  3. ganesh

    interesting .. but not protecting our vital knowledge can only make us poorer .. take a look at what Yale and Reiki guys are doing with the way we worship Lord Vinayaga …

    What we have been practicing (Especially South Indians from Tamil Nadu, and those who pray to Lord Ganesha (Pillaiyar) before their exams ) for generations is now packaged by Yale University School of Medicine as Superbrain Yoga to increase intelligence. Nothing but our simple Pillaiyar THOPPUKARNAM … Amazing.

    Who knows! They may even patent it and sell it back to India!

    Please click on the following URL to see the video news report.

  4. Incognito

    “When the Missionaries arrived, the Africans had the Land and the Missionaries had the Bible. They taught how to pray with our eyes closed. When we opened them, they had the land and we had the Bible.”- Jomo Kenyattathe first Prime Minister and President of independent Kenya.

    The article here by Timothy Longman shows how Christian missionaries have made a mess of Africa especially Rwanda.

    The article also refers to the book The Creation of Tribalism in Southern Africa edited by Leroy Vail.

    Point is that there is remarkable similarity to what has happened in Africa, Rwanda in the context of the subject article, and what happened and is happenning in India.

    While ancient indian scriptures do not support the idea of a birth based caste system(Ramayana, written by a reformed robber, Mahabharata by the son of a fisherwoman, even Vedas compiled by the same son of fisherwoman, who are considered are Brahmins) , it is interesting to find out how and when the activity and temperament based varna system of the ancient indian scriptures turned into birth based caste system in english text books.

    The above mentioned article and book on what happened in Africa gives a clue to what may have happened in India.

    Extract from the introduction of the book-
    missionaries were instrumental in creating cultural identities through their specification of ‘custom’ and ‘tradition’ and by writing ‘tribal’ histories, a process discussed in the chapters by Ranger, Vail and White, and Jewsiewicki. Once these elements of culture were in place and available to be used as the cultural base of a distinct new, ascriptive ethnic identity, it could replace older organizing principles that depended upon voluntary clientage and loyalty and which, as such, showed great plasticity. Thus firm, non-porous and relatively inelastic ethnic boundaries, many of which were highly arbitrary, came to be constructed and were then strengthened by the growth of stereotypes of ‘the other’(stress added), as the essays by Siegel and Papstein show…
    …European missionaries, assuming that Africans properly belonged to ‘tribes’, incorporated into the curricula of their mission schools the lesson that the pupils had clear ethnic identities…

    In the indian context, caste was used to replace tribes and the missionaries worked with british colonialists.

    missionaries educated local Africans (who)then themselves served as the most important force in shaping the new ethnic ideologies. These people—usually men—were keenly aware of the forces that were pulling apart their societies and, with the examples of nationalism in Europe derived from their own mission education before them, they sought to craft similar local movements as a means of countering these problems. Despite their own western-style education, they realized that such a construct would best be understood and accepted if it were put in a cultural idiom easily accessible to the people. Thus, in formulating their new ideologies, they looked to the local area’s past for possible raw material for their new intellectual bricolage. Like their European predecessors during the initial stages of nineteenth century nationalism, they ‘rediscovered’ the ‘true values’ of their people and so defined the ‘ethnic soul’. Their cultural strongbox was the ‘customs’ and ‘traditions’ of the people, identification with which they saw as giving an automatic, ascriptive cultural unity to ‘their’ people as they confronted the challenge of colonialism and the impact of industrialization. Virtually every study in this volume demonstrates the role of educated people as key actors in the creation of such ideology…

    Creation of Arya Samaj, Brahmo Samaj, Congress party etc., in India appears to follow this line of thought .

    ..In those societies where missionaries did not work, or where they did work but did not introduce education along western lines, or where African intellectuals emerged only at a late period or not at all, the development of ethnic ideologies was either stalled or never occurred.”

    “…Ethnic identity, thus, came to be specified not only by the written histories, grammars, and accounts of ‘traditional customs’ produced by local culture brokers, but also—and in many respects, far more importantly—by the actual operation of the administrative mechanisms of indirect rule…

    Seems very relatable to the pre-independance india.

    educated local Africans then themselves served as the most important force in shaping the new ethnic ideologies. Combined with the policies of colonial administrators and the popular acceptance of ethnic ideas as a means of coping with the disruptions of modernity, the actions of missionaries helped to create the deep social divisions that are at the root of ethnic conflict in many African countries.

    Again, has a parallel to pre-independence India.

    Extract from the article-

    The role of missionaries in the construction of ethnicity in Rwanda offers an excellent example of the process that Vail describes. In Rwanda, missionaries played a primary role in creating ethnic myths and interpreting Rwandan social organization — not only for colonial administrators, but ultimately for the Rwandan population itself. The concepts of ethnicity developed by the missionaries served as a basis for the German and Belgian colonial policies of indirect rule which helped to transform relatively flexible pre-colonial social categories into clearly defined ethnic groups. Following independence, leaders who were trained in church schools relied extensively on ethnic ideologies to gain support, thus helping to intensify and solidify ethnic divisions.

    Apparently the imperial powers whether british or german or belgian practiced same tactics, most likely in collusion with each other. Max Mueller the german therefore worked for the british in India.
    Antics of the british educated elite after independence in continuing with the british education system and creating divisions in society is comparable to what is narrated in the article.

    Seems like the politicians of India today are following the footsteps of imperial powers by dividing the populace.
    What we are seeing today with the parties warring with each other over vote banks is similar to the tiffs between colonial powers which ultimately resulted in WWII and the end of colonial rule.
    Will a similar thing happen in Indian political scene which will result in vote-bank playing parties weakening and nationalistic ideas gaining ground ?

    When colonial administrators and Catholic missionaries arrived in Rwanda, they were enchanted by the Tutsi rulers they encountered. To the missionaries, the Tutsi seemed tall and elegant, with refined features and light skin, in some ways closer in appearance to Europeans than to their short, stocky, dark Hutu compatriots. As elsewhere in Africa, in order to convert the population in Rwanda, the missionaries considered it important to understand the indigenous culture and social structures, and the interpretations that came from their study of the culture greatly influenced both the colonial administration and, subsequently, Rwandan self-perceptions. Influenced by contemporary European notions of race which held that the world could be divided into clearly defined and hierarchically ranked racial and national groups, the missionaries, ignoring important divisions within each of the groups, viewed Hutu, Tutsi, and Twa as three distinct peoples representing three separate waves of immigration. They viewed the Twa as the autochthonous population, the original inhabitants of the region, who many centuries earlier were subdued by Bantu migrants from the west who became the Hutu. According to the missionary account, the Tutsi arrived from the northeast sometime later, around 1600, and because of their clear superiority, conquered the Hutu, whom they had ruled ever since. Doubting that Africans could have designed so complex and efficient a political system, the missionaries hypothesized that the Tutsi were not really African but a Hamitic or Semitic group from the Middle East, perhaps a lost tribe of Israel(emphasis added) .

    How similar this sounds to the Aryan Invasion Theory and the division created between so-called Aryans and Dravidians.

    “The Tutsi, not surprisingly, failed to challenge the missionaries’ assertions of their superiority and instead participated in the development of a mythico-history that portrayed them as natural rulers, with superior intelligence and morals. “

    Again, parallels to how Brahmins and upper castes were patronised by british in india and their silence, which is natural when facing a gun.

    When the Catholic Church began to recruit native Rwandan clergy early in the century (the first native-born priest was ordained in 1917), they selected exclusively Tutsi, and these priests, nuns, and brothers played an important role in interpreting Rwandan history and culture. A group of Tutsi intellectuals emerged within the church — most importantly historian Alexis Kagame and Bishop Aloys Bigirumwami — whose anthropological and historical texts, based largely on oral histories, reinforced many of the ideas of strict ethnic separation and Tutsi political dominance. As Alison DesForges writes, “In a great and unsung collaborative enterprise over a period of decades, Europeans and Rwandan intellectuals created a history of Rwanda that fit European assumptions and accorded with Tutsi interests.” This history became widely accepted by Rwandans of all ethnicities, and following the transfer of power from Tutsi to Hutu after the 1959 revolution, Hutu leaders used the historical account of centuries of ethnically based exploitation to inspire support among the Hutu masses.

    And how similar this sounds to the Brahmin/ Dalit divide in India.

    And the Church inspired Maoists killing of Swami and others whose activities fostering indian culture undermines the nefarious activities of Church.

    When the genocide finally occurred, church personnel and institutions were, not surprisingly, intimately involved“.

    This about Rwanda. But also true about Orissa recently.

    In conclusion the article says-

    The complicity of the churches in the genocide is not merely a failing of Christianity in Rwanda, but of world Christianity as it has established itself in Africa, and it should lead people of faith throughout the world to question the nature of religious institutions and the ways in which they exercise their power.”

    The ideas brought out by the article and the book sheds light on how social engineering was carried out by the british in India during the time they ruled this country. It shows a pointer to how the colonials destroyed the indigenous education system and installed in its place something that deprived the indigenous people of their self-esteem and simultaneously created divisions in society which are now being exploited by power hungry politicians.

    To conclude, an extract from the book-
    ..Nationalism—and tribalism—have thus appeared uncertain and ambiguous to many observers.
    Yet when one looks closely at the situation in southern Africa, one comes to realize that the ethnic message’s backward-looking aspects and its forward-looking concerns have been in no way contradictory. The emphases on past values, ‘rediscovered’ traditions, and chiefly authority were truly conservative—that is, they were calculated to conserve a way of life that was in the process of being rapidly undermined by the forces of capitalism and colonialism.

    Is it any wonder that in India nationalistic organisations such as RSS are opposed by the Church and the products of the british education system as being backward looking conservatives…

    The ideas presented in the book and the article also give a warning of sorts to Indians on what could happen in future if the divisiveness in society created by the british and their successor politicians are allowed to go unchecked.

    Indians needs to learn lessons from the mass killings of Rwanda as a result of reprisal acts committed by different ethinc groups.

    In the Indian context, clashes between Maoists and Ranvir Sena are examples.

    What is happening in Tamil Nadu are ominous.

    So are the Church engineered murder of nationalistic Indians in Orissa.

    Efforts by interested parties(read missionaries) in propagating ideas of Dalitistan and Dravidistan are also significant in the light of this information.

    Hope the following quote will not come to pass-
    “They came with ideas of secularism and classless society and Indian thought them good and shut his eyes. When he opened his eyes, they had his land and he had nothing”

  5. Bhakti

    It was only because of India’s tropical climate that we were spared the same fate as the natives of North America, Australia and New Zealand (majority exterminated and replaced with White settlers).

    Charles Wentworth Dilke (1843-1911), a Liberal politician and apologist for colonialism who presented Britons as a benevolant master race, described Indians in Volume 2 of his book Greater Britain: A Record of Travel in English-speaking Countries During 1866 and 1867 thus:

    “naked barbarians, plunged in the densest ignorance and superstition, and safe only from extermination because the European cannot dwell permanently in the climate of their land”.

    In Volume 1 he described the genocide of indigenous populations:

    “The Saxon is the only extirpating race on earth. Up to the commencement of the now inevitable destruction of the Red Indians of Central North America, of the Maories, and of the Australians by the English colonists, no numerous race had ever been blotted out by an invader”.

    The two volumes can also be found at Google Books.

    Addressing the question of whether England could bear the drain of people if emigration to India was allowed, Philip Francis (1740-1818) said in April, 1793, that: “The climate of India was of itself a sufficient security against emigration of any consequence from England, for the real purpose of colonization”.

    William Bentinck (1774-1839) said: “India may be described as a tropical country, in which the European cannot safely labour in the field, excepting at particular times, and in which the Northern races appear, after a few generations, to lose much of their physical hardihood”.

    You can find these quotes if you search Google Books.

  6. Wilson Sudhakar

    The church is doing very good job in India and
    Hindu organisations who treated dalits as untouchables, talk against missionaries.

    • ss

      Stop worshipping the white man and adopting his names — you will remain “brown niggers” for white Christians regardless of how much you try to mimic them. There is a reason why pope is always a white man.

    • Kuldeep

      Wilson, so much good work like Dalit christians go to their Dalit church since upper caste christians do not sit with them. The Dalit sisters are sexually and physically exploited by padres and nuns alike by these perverts. If after all this, you say church is doing is good job, shame on you and xtianism. Since you are a chrisitian extremist, you will oblivious to such perversion but rest are not.

    • Bhagat

      Christianity is in its origin an Caucasian religion. Everyone not a Caucasian who is a Christian is a convert. Christianity is not simply a matter of conscience or private belief. It makes imperial demands. A convert’s worldview alters. His holy places are in foreign alien lands. His sacred language is Latin. His idea of history alters. He rejects his own: he becomes, whether he likes it or not, a part of the Caucasian story. The convert has to turn away from everything that is his.
      (see VS Naipaul for more on denial of identity)

  7. Ashwin


    OVER 50% POVERTY.……

















  8. singh

    Famines in British India between 1765 and 1947 Year Name of famine (if any) British territory [1]769–70 Great Bengal Famine Bihar, Northern and Central Bengal 10 million[2] (about one third of the then population of Bengal 1783–84 Chalisa famine Delhi, Western Oudh, Eastern Punjab region, Rajputana, and Kashmir Severe famine. Large areas were depopulated. Up to 11 million people may have died during the years 1782–84.
    [2]1791–92 Doji bara famine or Skull famine Hyderabad, Southern Maratha country, Deccan, Gujarat, and Marwar One of the most severe famines known. People died in such numbers that they could not be cremated or buried. It is thought that 11 million people may have died during the years 1788–94 [3]1837–38 Agra famine of 1837–38 Central Doab and trans-Jumna districts of the North-Western Provinces (later Agra Province), including Delhi and Hissar 800,000 [4]1860–61 Upper Doab of Agra; Delhi and Hissar divisions of the Punjab Eastern Rajputana 2 million [5]1865–67 Orissa famine of 1866 Orissa (also 1867) and Bihar; Bellary and Ganjam districts of Madras 1 million (814,469 in Orissa, 135,676 in Bihar and 10,898 in Ganjam)
    [6]1868–70 Rajputana famine of 1869 Ajmer, Western Agra, Eastern Punjab Rajputana 1.5 million (mostly in the princely states of Rajputana)
    [7]1873–74 Bihar famine of 1873–74 Bihar An extensive relief effort was organized by the Bengal government. [8]1876–78 Great Famine of 1876–78 (also Southern India famine of 1876–78) Madras and Bombay Mysore and Hyderabad . 6.1 to 10.3 million [9]1888–89 Ganjam, Orissa and North Bihar 150,000 deaths [10]Ganjam. Deaths were due to starvation as famine relief was not provided in time.
    [11]1896–97 Indian famine of 1896–97 Madras, Bombay Deccan, Bengal, United Provinces, Central Provinces Northern and eastern Rajputana, parts of Central India and Hyderabad 5 million
    [12]1899–1900 Indian famine of 1899–1900 Bombay, Central Provinces, Berar, Ajmer Hyderabad, Rajputana, Central India, Baroda, Kathiawar, Cutch, 1 million [13]1905–06 Bombay Bundelkhand 235,062 [14]1943–44 Bengal famine of 1943 Bengal 4.5 million

  9. singh

    Is it not time that the descendants of the victims of The Great Holocaust of Bengal sought compensation from the present Government of the United Kingdom? Is it possible to initiate a criminal case against Winston Churchill and all those who were in power during 1942-45 (or during 1765-1947) in British Government? Is that too much to ask for? Do you believe that the systematic murder of six million white-skinned Jews was a crime worthy of punishment, while the killing of thirty million black-skinned people of Bengal does not even deserve a footnote in history?

  10. ravi

    The Guptas had ruled north India for about 200years [250 A.D to 550 A.D.] . Political unity, economic prosperity and extraordinary progress in every aspect of life under the Guptas were prevalent. The Gupta period had witnessed great prosperity, owing to the flourishing trade, agriculture and industry. Prosperity due to Roman trade, which began in the Kushana period, continued till the early reign of the Guptas. The Saka Satraps of western India continued trade with the west after the fall of the Kushans. Chandragupta II had conquered Malwa and Saurashtra, by overthrowing the Saka rulers had established direct link of the Guptas in India with Roman trade.

    Trade and Commerce during Gupta Empire
    The peace and prosperity prevailing in the age gave a great impetus to inter-provincial and inter-state trade. To cover them federations of guilds were also organised as evident from the seals found at Basarh, the ancient Vaishali. These guilds sometimes did manage the finances of temples and offered monetary help to the government. Partnership transactions were common. Some of these guilds had their own militia to protect the person, property and merchandise of their members. Varieties of cloth, food-grains, spices, salt, bullion and precious stones were the main articles of trade. The trade was both by land and by river. Principal towns like Ujjain, Prayaga, Banaras, Gaya, Pataliputra and others were connected by roads. Goods were transported by carts and by pack-animals. River Ganga, the Brahmaputra River, the Narmada River, the Godavari River, the Krishna River and the Kaveri River were of great help for smooth trade. Ships were built. Tamralipti the modern Tamlik was a major port of Bengal and carried on an extensive trade with China, Ceylon, Java and Sumatra. The southern ports carried on extensive trade with the Eastern Archipelago, China and Western Asia. The items that were mainly exported were pearls, precious stones, clothes, perfumes, spices, indigo, drugs, coconuts and ivory articles. The main items of imports were gold, silver, copper, tin, lead, silk, camphor, dates and horses. The main items of natural wealth were rice, wheat, sugarcane, jute, oilseeds, cotton, jowar, bajra, spices, betel nuts and medicinal drugs, products of forests and mines of precious stones. Textile industry was the major industry. Then other crafts and industries like sculpture, inlaying, ivory work, painting and ship-building sprang up. Living was thus very cheap in the Gupta period. The Gupta government had laid down various laws and regulations for smooth flow of trade, which also had influenced the economic life of the Guptas. The Smritis or law books had laid down the principle that it was royal duty to encourage trade and arts. the Guptas had also laid down various regulations on trade. It was said that imported commodities should be taxed at the rate of 1/5th of the value as a toll.

    Agriculture during Gupta Empire
    Agriculture was not at all neglected during the Gupta period in spite of the spread of trade. Agriculture held a significant place in the economic life of the people during the Gupta period. Agriculture was the main occupation of the masses during that time. There was no modern zamindari system like that practiced in Bengal or Uttar Pradesh. The tenants of a landlord not tilling the lands received 33 to 50 percent of the gross produce as their share. Land was regarded as a very valuable piece of property and it could be transferred only with the consent of the fellow-villagers or with the permission of the village or town council. Paddy, wheat, fruits, sugarcane, bamboo was cultivated in the cultivable lands. Land revenue was collected from various categories of land. State also owned fields of cultivable land in various villages which was known as Rajayavastu. The state would take over a land if there is no eligible heir or if the land tax was not paid. The land actually remained as a hereditary to the family of the grantee, though the king had direct control over that land

    The economic prosperity reacted in Indian culture and gave the people time and leisure to cultivate the finer arts of life. The Gupta kings also took special care of irrigation purposes for the promotion of agricultural economy in the Gupta kingdom. Thus during the Gupta period, trade and agriculture both had achieved a thriving prosperity, which promoted economic life of the people, thereby attaining material prosperity.

  11. Islam is like a haemorrhagic disease where the onset of symptoms are sudden, brutal and merciless as victims die quickly but the spread is limited. British people are like cigarettes. They fool the user into thinking they make them feel good. You consume more and more and before you realize you are addicted and you cannot rid yourself of your dependency. Then 20 or so years down the track you realize your dying because your own body is turning against you (cancer) and destroying you without ever realizing what the original cause was.

    The British have occupied the subcontinent, destabilized the education system, created a class of what historians call “Brown Sahibs”, and drained the country close to death. These brown Sahibs are the reason we have grown to loath our own culture, thanks Nehru!

    Now tell me, who are worse?

  12. nitha

    Who are worse??
    “Britishers snatched India from Muslims in connivance with Hindu baniyas” — this is the argument very often heard in Pakistan and some Muslim circles in India.
    Well,in a map of India of 1760. As one can see, most of India is under the control of the Marathas. Bengal by this time was captured by the British through the battles of Buxar and Plassey. So what exactly were those haemorrhagic disease victimising area in 1760? They were holding only the area which is now Pakistan (Sindh, Multan, Lahore, Kashmir), Awadh (today’s eastern UP) and Nizam’s dominion in the south. That is all. (Mysore state was ruled by the Hindu Wodeyars.)
    Those sudden, brutal and merciless were esentially ruling only 25 percent of Indian land, while Marathas were ruling 60 percent. Soon Maharaja Ranjeet Singh also conquered entire modern-day Pakistan, thus further shrinking the land under Muslim rule drastically. Combined with Marathas and Sikhs, the Indic faiths were ruling 90 percent of India. So what is this hogwash about Muslism taking India from the British?
    If Goras had not arrived on the scene, Hindus and Sikhs would have retaken the whole of India in another 30 years, thus winning the civilisational war that was started by the Afghan and Arab Muslims when they invaded Hindus in their own homeland, carrying their “true god / false god” ideology with them.
    The fight for India was between Marathas and the John Company (as East India Company was often called). In fact, Marathas were ruling from the Red Fort in Delhi and the Mughal emperor was recieving a pension from them.
    The battle for Delhi and the tradional seat of Mughal power was fought between Maratha army and British army (led by general Gerard Lake) on the banks of the Yamuna river. It is called the Battle of Patparganj. A memorial to this battle erected by the British government still exists inside the Noida golf course.
    Now,it is clear that if I Britishers had not arrived on the scene ,Indians would have enjoyed under their own rule, not under “Brown Sahibs”The coutry would not witnessed the destabilized education system and country’s wealth not drained .

  13. nitha

    @Johnny Brown,
    Supporting your view,read this statement:
    “India has been a wounded civilization because of Islamic violence: Pakistanis know this; indeed they revel in it. It is only Indian Nehruvians like Romila Thapar who pretend that Islamic rule was benevolent. We should face facts: Islamic rule in India was at least as catastrophic as the later Christian rule. The Christians created massive poverty in what was a most prosperous country; the Muslims created a terrorized civilization out of what was the most creative culture that ever existed.”

    – V. S. Naipaul

  14. I suggest you google Great Divergence. India’s statistics peaked in the mid 1500s and by 1700 Aurangzeb India was financially bankrupt, 500% hyper inflation, Wootz Steel was vanishing, Textiles were erratic, there were war famines, the Great Trunk Road was covered by jungle, there was no infrastructure, the Mughal port was in ruins, land taxes were 50%, the Mughals were squandering between 1/3 and 1/2 of the GNP, and India along with China and the Islamic countries, South America, Mexico, Spain, Portugal, and Italy were bottoming or flat lined as Great Divergence countries of the North and West including UK and USA and North Europe were exploding into hyper economic activity. Colonies were a byproduct of the Great Divergence. USA and Canada and many of the Great Divergence Countries did not have colonies. UK is a target only because the Great Divergence happened in Holland and then the UK first. USA and Canada and Nortic countries and then Germany and France followed. The Great Divergence walloped India. By 1857 all of the Great Divergence countries were walloping India.

    Statistics also show India had some of the lowest wages since the 1500s and continued to suffer from low wages because of over population and high energy costs which made it cheaper for people to exploit desperate poor than invest in industry or education which pre- EIC actually outlawed. Mathus over population theory shows India was trapped by too many people who ate up the GNP. The Great Divergence countries invested in quality of people and the negative Great Divergence countries invested in quantity of people. And by 1857 india was ahead of China howebeit far behind Great Divergence countries. So you have to see the global picture. Positive Great Divergence countries also did not have slaves or serfs or ryots which India did.All negative Great Divergence countries had slaves or serfs or ryots. Ditto pressure against education, bad treatment of women, and social religious pressures against upheavel or uppity ambition. All of this apparently impacts the Great Divergence. No one exactly knows why.

    Study the statistics. UK was riding the Great Divergence. India was infected by negative Great Divergence. It was a world wide ecnonomic event. No one chopped off thumbs. No one had to. The Industrial Revolution wiped out artisan industries destablized by Aurangzeb’s rule and then another 100 years of princely wars. And the Mughals never finish any infrastructure except forts, palaces, mosques, tombs, and wars. by 1702 Aurangzeb was buying Western cannon and gunpowder despite both originally being Indian expert products. Why? That is a key question believe it or not. And he never payed for famine relief.

    I know statistics are boring and the Great Divergence means the USA as well as UK can be scapgoated alike being top of the Great Divergence but statistics tell the real story and economics rules however unpleasant economics is. JEF

  15. Roodradev Sharma Dabeedeen

    Restore and re-establishing truth is a must but most important is to regain your honour and discard in all senses what is not Indian. India is for Hindus ONLY…

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