Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Wednesday said 200 years of British rule had reduced India from its glory of one of richest countries in the world to the poorest one and their claims of bringing development and political unity was false as the British had done nothing intended for the benefit of India or Indians.
Speaking during the launch of his new book ‘An Era of Darkness: The British Empire in India’ here, he said whatever the British had done in India was only those necessary to consolidate their rule and control over the country.
He said the British era history is needed to be retold today and his new book is an attempt to look comprehensively at the legacy of British Empire in India.
“The fact is that, before 200 years, the British came to one of the richest countries in the world- a country which had 23 per cent of global GDP... a country where poverty was unknown,” Tharoor said.
“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.
Governor P Sathasivam released the book by handing over a copy to eminent filmmaker Adoor Gopalakrishnan at a function held here late in the evening.
Tharoor said his 333-page book, published by Aleph Book Company, was an attempt to challenge with fact and figures the notion and claim that “on the whole the British rule was beneficial...I do something that no other books attempted to do-which is to take up each of the argument for the British empire in India... everything from railways, political unity, the rule of law, English language and even cricket,” he said.
“I tried to take up every single thing that is being claimed to be a positive benefit left behind by the British...and I have demonstrated in detail that how and why even not one of them was intended to benefit India or Indians,” the writer said.
Stating that he was not the first one to say about the British exploitation, Tharoor said Dadabhai Naoroji, R C Dutt and Jawaharlal Nehru had written about the aspect before.
“I don’t claim that I am the first one to be saying all these. I believe that in saying it now I am doing a necessary service to my country..,” he said.