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Britain stole more than three hundred lakh crores from India during its colonization

Britain stole more than three hundred lakh crores from India during its colonization

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  21 Dec 2018 2:23 PM GMT

Guwahati: It is being commonly said that the colonization of India was not of any major economic benefit to Britain. On the contrary, Britain was paying for running the administration of India. So, it can also be said that the reason for the empire to sustain for so long was a gesture of Britain's benevolence.

As is published by Columbia University Press, new research by the renowned economist Utsa Patnaik gives a crushing blow to the long-prevailing belief of British colonization. It is in this research a detailed data of nearly two centuries on tax and trade shows that Britain has actually drained a total of more than three hundred lakh crores from India during the period of its colonization, 1765 to 1938.

Well, such a huge amount of $45 trillion is 17 times more than the total annual gross domestic product of the United Kingdom at present.

It all became possible through the trade system in which Britain bought goods like textiles and rice from Indian producers and normally paid silver in return as this was the standard pattern of payment with other countries as well. But things changed in 1765, when the East India Company took control of the subcontinent. Britain established a monopoly over Indian trade post-colonization.

The colonizers started collecting taxes in India and used a portion of those revenues to buy the Indian goods in return. This meant, they did not pay for the Indian goods out of their own pocket and instead used the Indian’s money for buying Indian’s goods. This resulted into acquiring the goods for free in the name of "buying" from peasants and weavers.

This sort of theft took place on a grand scale and the naive Indians were unaware of it. The Indians could not catch the thing as the agent collecting the taxes were not the same as the one who comes to buy their goods. If the same person would have done this, then perhaps the Indians could realize the fact.

Of these stolen goods, some were consumed in Britain, and the rest of the goods were re-exported to other places in the world. This system of re-export system made Britain earn for paying for the imports from Europe, which included iron, tar and timber and these were pretty essential goods for Britain's industrialization. Thus, in a way, the systematic theft from India helped Britain in achieving the Industrial Revolution.

Also read: ‘World’s most vibrant cities are British empire’s real legacy

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