Published on 27 March 2016.

Empire destroyed India’s boom

Kartar Lalvani misses the point in “What did the British ever do for India? Almost everything” (News Review, last week). It was the fabled riches of India that brought the British to India. Before their arrival, India accounted for a quarter of all global manufacturing. It accounted for nearly 25% of global GDP in 1700 but less than 5% by 1950.

The city of Agra, with a population of 700,000, dwarfed all the cities of Europe. It was the influx of Indian treasure that propelled the industrial revolution. And it was India that was forced to absorb the goods produced while its flourishing textile industry was destroyed. An ancient civilisation that was way ahead in mathematics, medicine and astronomy was reduced to penury.

Nitin Mehta, Croydon

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