Routledge

From Dadabhai Naoroji, Poverty and Un-British Rule in India

Introduction: Dadabhai Naoroji (1825-1917), a Parsi from Mumbai, the "Grand Old Man of Indian Nationalism" taught Mathematics in Mumbai and later on Gujarati at London University. In 1874 he became Prime Minister of Baroda, a princely state in Gujarat. He was a co-founder of the Indian National Congress in 1885 and became the first Indian Member of Parliament in 1892 having won the constituency of Central Finsbury for the Liberal Party. Studying the colonial economy of India he found out that there was always a positive balance of trade for India, the surplus being appropriated by the British. On this he based his „Drain of Wealth“-theory. He published the results of his findings in a famous book on Poverty and Un-British Rule in India, contrasting British liberal ideas with the actual practice of their rule in India.
(see also AHOI, Ch. 6, section: The Colonial Economy and Ch.7: section: The Partition of Bengal and the Rise of Extremism)

The British rulers introduced education and Western   India ; but, on the other hand, they act as if no such thing had taken place, and as if all this boast was pure moonshine. Either they have educated, or have not. If they deserve the boast, it is a strange self-condemnation that after half a century or more of such efforts, they have not yet prepared a sufficient number of men fit for the service of their own country. Take even the Educational Department itself. We are made B.A.'s and M.A.'s and M.D.'s, etc., with the strange result that we are not yet considered fit to teach our countrymen. We must yet have forced upon us even in this department, as in every other, every European that can be squeezed in. To keep up the sympathy and connection with the current of European thought, an English head may be appropriately and beneficially retained in a few of the most important institutions; but as matters are at present, all boast of  education is exhibited as so much sham and delusion. In the case of former foreign conquests, the invaders either retired with their plunder and booty, or became the rulers of the  country; they made, no doubt, great wounds  but India, with her industry, revived and healed the wounds. When the invaders became the rulers of the country, they settled down in it, and whatever was the condition of their rule, according to the character of the sovereign of the day, there was at least no material or moral drain in the country. Whatever the country produced remained in the country ; whatever wisdom and experience was acquired in her services remained among her own people. With the English the case is peculiar. There are the great wounds of the first wars in the burden of the public debt, and those wounds are kept perpetually open and widening, by draining away the life-blood in a continuous stream. The former rulers were like butchers hacking here  and there, but the English with their scientific scalpel cut to the very heart, and yet, lo  there is no wound to be seen, and soon the plaster of the high talk of civilisation, progress, and what not, covers up the wound!

(Dabhabi Naoroji, Poverty and Un-British Rule in India (London, 1901) p. 211 f.

 

 

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