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Britain Plundered $45 Trillion From India During 'Raj' Days: Columbia University Study

Written By Apoorva Rao | Mumbai | Published:

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  • A study by well known economist Utsa Patnaik, has said that the British siphoned off $45 trillion from India during their rule in the country
  • atnaik's study called the 'Dispossession, Deprivation, and Development' published in the Columbia University in November has calculated that British stolen  $45 trillion from India during the period 1765 to 1938

A study by well known economist Utsa Patnaik, has said that the British siphoned off $45 trillion from India during their rule in the country.

Patnaik's study called the 'Dispossession, Deprivation, and Development' published in the Columbia University in November has calculated that British stolen  $45 trillion from India during the period 1765 to 1938.

As per reports on the study, Patnaik used four distinct economic periods in colonial India from 1765 to 1938 to calculate the stolen money. She calculated the amount of money extracted during each period and then compounded it to at about 5% percent middle of each period to the present. This added to $44.6 trillion. The figure does not include the debts that the British imposed on the country during the colonial rule.

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Patnaik spoke to a daily where she said that the economic drain between 1765 and 1938 amounted to 9.2 trillion pounds ($45 trillion). She also said that India was never credited for precious resources like gold and forex earnings, all of which went to feed the English.

She also said that the Britishers took 26-36% of the Central government's budget to their home. Patnaik believes that if the earnings remained in India it could have significantly helped the country in its social reforms after Independence.

She also blamed the looting by the Raj to deaths of Indians owing to poor healthcare and lack of food supply. She said Indians died like 'flies' as the colonisers continued their plunder. She said that this was caused as the rulers imposed high tax rates and exported food grains which were much needed by the population. The per capita annual consumption of food, which was 200 kg in 1900, went down to 137kg during World War II in 1946, she said.

According to reports, the popular notion in Britain continues to be that Empire has helped the colonies. A study by the YouGov survey in 2014 has said that 50% of people in Britain believe that colonialism was beneficial to the ruled. Only 19% believe that the colonising period was something to be ashamed of. 

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Close to half of the youths (ages between 18-24) said they were proud of the Empire. This is still less when compared to what the senior citizens felt about their country's colonising period. Two-thirds of the people over 60 years felt than the Empire was something to be proud of.

In a response to whether the colonies were better off or worse off during the Empires' rule, majority of people responded that the nations being ruled were benefited. The results said that 49% believed that colonies were better off due to the colonisers, whereas only 15% thought the nations were worse off.

The poll also said that a third of the Britishers (34%) would like their Britain have an Empire. Whereas nearly half (45%) said they did not want the Empire to exist today.

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