Indian Economy

India: Before and After 300 years of European Onslaught

Source: Wikipedia and “The World Economy : A Millennial Perspective”, download from oecd.org

When the West so sanctimoniously talks about how backward India is pointing outs its hopeless infrastructure, poverty, etc, they forget an important point: India is so impoverished because the West had ravaged, plundered, pillaged, looted, exploited India for over 300 years of colonization and imperialism (enslavement, exploitation, looting). By the time the British left, India had been thoroughly plundered, ravaged, exploited, and turned into a left barren.

India and China were the worlds economic power houses for over 7 centuries (from prior to 1AD to 17AD). Together they accounted for 60% of the worlds GDP.

According to the renowned British economist, Angus Maddison, India’s GDP went from 27% in 1700 (when the British set foot) to 3% in 1950 (when the British left). And not so coincidently, in that exact time frame, in 1700 the GDP of Western Europe was less than 1% and went to 20% in 1950.

It is like a robber ransacking your house (and beating/torturing several generations of your family if they get out of line, completely demoralizing them, destroying any sense of identity, erasing any sense of pride, and shaming them) and later after freeing them, sitting somewhere in a far way land, showcases your home in global media for the world to see how dirty and dilapidated your house and how “backward” your family is.

Economist today are revealing that the Industrial Revolution in Europe was not only catalyzed after its exposure to technologies and innovations in India, but sustained by depletion of raw material from India for 300 years, and later the systematic and brutal (see Hindu Holocaust) dismantling of India native infrastructure and industry that had sustained it so proudly for 7 centuries as a global powerhouse, setting it back to stone age. This must be factored-in whenever the West compares their advancement today to India. 

Thomas Jefferson said it would take over 200 years to undo the damage they done from slavery of Blacks in USA. One can say the same for India for recovering from its 300 years of European onslaught. As one British Lord wrote back to Britain, that he awoke every morning to the stench of cart loads of [Indian] niggers being hung from trees,…  millions killed by turning entire villages into “famine camps” like concentration camps,… or the tens of thousands with their thumbs/hands cut off as a way of teaching them a lesson (see my Hindu Holocaust blog post link below).

Asian culture (India, China, Japan, and other South-East Asian nations) have always had a strong work ethic. With productivity and innovation in their work ethic (in contrast to the Western culture’s desire to conquer, loot, and inherent hedonism). India and China had the worlds largest shipping fleets (massive ships; European ships where nothing in comparison). Even Rome suffered a huge trade deficit with India (necessitating Rome to keep up with its continuous conquests/forages of other lands to pay for its debt, to the point they tried to invade India itself, unsuccessfully by Alexander the Terrible). The Indian Subcontinent was such a magnificently rich culture, that all across the world there was the quest to reach India (and loot it),… Marco Palo, Vasco Da Gama, Christopher Columbus, etc.

I’m reminded of what a Chinese colleague in the USA said when I asked him about China stealing technology from the USA (i.e. copying with no royalty or attribution). He said, it is nothing compared with what the West stole from them and the brutal manner in which they did it and that it is time for China to take it back as a way of reparations. FYI, the story of how Europe brought down China to its knees, was brutal and relentless. One example that comes to mind is the great “Opium War”, where tons of opium (literally warehouses and ships full of opium) were produced in British India and dumped in China, totally crippled the then highly productive population and industry of China.

The West enjoyed 300 years of growth and innovation largely jump-started by the gains from slavery and exploitation of other peoples. If the West had not done that, if the West had not colonized any land, if we were on equal footing, I would think the West would not be anywhere near where it is today, or at the very least, the wealth, productivity, innovation distribution would be more evenly distributed between.

Yet… India is Rising… Fast

Yet, despite the 300 European onslaught, India has within 50 short years of Independence risen to the worlds 4th largest GDP, and as one of the most self-sufficient countries. The country mass produces almost everything it needs: cars, buses, trains, ships, satellites, televisions,… right down to every paper and pencil.

The very fact that India can get back on its feet, so fast, to become the 4th largest GDP in the world, tells a lot about the people, their resiliency, their forward thinking, their work ethics, and their insatiable desire to “to do”.

When the British first appeared on the scene, India was one of the richest countries of the world; indeed, it was her great riches that attracted the British to her shores. For 2,500 years before the British came on the scene and robbed her of her freedom, India was self-ruling and one of the most influential and illustrious nations of the world.Nearly every kind of manufacture or product known to the civilized world – nearly every kind of creation of Man’s brain and hand, existing anywhere, and prized either for its utility or beauty – had long, long been produced in India. India was a far greater industrial and manufacturing nation than any in Europe or than any other in Asia. Her textile goods – the fine products of her loom, in cotton, wool, linen, and silk – were famous over the civilized world; so were her exquisite jewelry and her precious stones, cut in every lovely form; so were her pottery, porcelains, ceramics of every kind, quality, color and beautiful shape; so were her fine works in metal – iron, steel, silver and gold. She had great architecture – equal in beauty to any in the world. She had great engineering works. She had great merchants, great business men, great bankers and financiers. Not only was she the greatest ship-building nation, but she had great commerce and trade by land and sea which extended to all known civilized countries. Such was the India which the British found when they came.
– American Rev. Jabez T. Sunderland

I have traveled across the length and breadth of India and I have not seen one person who is a beggar, who is a thief. Such wealth I have seen in this country, such high moral values, people of such caliber, that I do not think we would ever conquer this country, unless we break the very backbone of this nation, which is her spiritual and cultural heritage, and, therefore, I propose that we replace her old and ancient education system, her culture, for if the Indians think that all that is foreign and English is good and greater than their own, they will lose their self-esteem,their native self-culture and they will become what we want them, a truly dominated nation.
– Lord Macaulay in his address to the British Parliament, February 2, 1835

It should be remembered that in the pre-British period, India was not an illiterate country. This land was far more advanced in education than many a Christian country of the West.
– Major B. D. Basu

Just start from 9:31 to 24:00:

India Rising Back

With the amount of revenue surplus India is generating, Indian companies have entered the next phase of reconstruction: buying foreign companies.

It’s a no brainer. Indian companies will be buying US, UK or German companies. We have to just go with them.”

– Morten Lund (founder of Skype, and nearly 50 other companies)

“Just into the second month of the year, India’s M&A (merger and acquisition) volumes are touching $50 billion. That’s quite close to the full-year 2006 volumes – $61.2 billion (inbound, outbound, and domestic). M&A experts reckon that before the year is out, India will easily hit the $100-billion mark.”

– BusinessWorld, 26-Feb-2007

Still, this deep source of low-cost, high-IQ, English-speaking brainpower may soon have a more far-reaching impact on the U.S. than China. Manufacturing — China’s strength — accounts for just 14% of U.S. output and 11% of jobs. India’s forte is services — which make up 60% of the U.S. economy and employ two-thirds of its workers. And Indian knowledge workers are making their way up the New Economy food chain, mastering tasks requiring analysis, marketing acumen, and creativity.

This means India is penetrating America’s economic core. The 900 engineers at Texas Instruments Inc.’s (TXN ) Bangalore chip-design operation boast 225 patents…. Venture capitalists say anywhere from one-third to three-quarters of the software, chip, and e-commerce startups they now back have Indian R&D teams from the get-go.

– BusinessWeek Online (The Rise of India)

Another notable news: India raised over $3.5 billion from NRI’s to offset the effect of economic sanctions imposed because of its nuclear tests back in 1999. This was done by scheme known as the India Resurgent Bond (launched by State Bank of India). Over 70,000 Indians invested in it. See full article.

Some Economic Facts

What is important to note here, in the list below, is that a large majority of these (especially the non-technical ones) are the result of traditional micro-economics, employing millions of individuals in hundreds of thousands of small individually owned businesses and not to mention over 21 million retailers (and this is not counting those that are not even licensed or incorporated).

This is why there is a legitimate opposition to the WalMart model of the Western retail industry from coming into India. It will not only destroy thousands of small businesses, but concentrates wealth in the hands of a few instead of distribution of wealth. As the father of economics  Chaanakya stated, it is the distribution of wealth, coupled with instilling pride (by giving them something magnificent to do, whether it be the race to the moon or building architectural wonders) that makes a nation strong, as it promotes the growth and productivity of the people (and no, we’re not talking about socialism, but capitalism done right). Which in itself is possible owing to India’s vibrant democracy with numerous political parties representing just about every interest group imaginable. It has its shortcomings, but it works:

  1. The #4 largest GDP (purchasing power parity) (USA, China, Japan, India, Germany UK, Russia). India’s GDP is $2.966 trillion (2007 estimate).
  2. The #1 largest tea producer (India, China).
  3. The #1 largest mango producer (1.6 million hectares; versus 0.433 hectares of China).
  4. The #1 largest banana producer (16.8 million metric tons; versus 6.7 metric tons of Brazil).
  5. The #1 largest peanut producer (India, China; together they produce 70% of the worlds peanuts).
  6. The #1 largest milk producer (India, USA, New Zealand).
  7. The #1 largest ginger producer (India, China, Indonesia).
  8. The #2 largest rice producer (129 million metric tons; China, India, Indonesia).
  9. The #2 largest onion producer (China, India, USA).
  10. The #2 largest potato producer (China, India, Germany).
  11. The #2 largest eggplant producer (China, India, Egypt).
  12. The #2 largest silk producer (China, India).
  13. The #2 largest sugar producer (Brazil, India, China).
  14. The #2 largest fennel produces (110,000 metric tons; Syria, India, Mexico)
  15. The #3 largest cotton producer (China, USA, India).
  16. The #3 largest steel producer (Japan, South Korea, India).
  17. The #1 largest railway network.
  18. The #1 largest producer of buses.
  19. The #2 largest producer of bicycles (China, India).
  20. The #1 largest producer of movies (India, USA).
  21. The #1 largest cell phone growth market (growing at a blazing rate of 6 million new cell phone users every month, 2006-07), expected to reach 500 million subscribers by 2010.
  22. The #6 largest petroleum consumer (USA, China, Japan, Russia, Germany, India).
  23. The top 4 Indian oil companies are on Fortune’s top 30.
  24. Indian oil companies have been on a buying spree – acquiring oil contracts all across the globe.
  25. India is the #1 oil contractor in Russia.
  26. 34 Indian companies are listed on the Forbes 2000 list.
  27. 9 major national passenger airlines that are world class in quality/services.
  28. 4 major Indian car companies: Hindustan Motors, Mahendra & Mahendra, Maruti Udyog, Tata Motors.
  29. The leading Indian car manufacture Maruti Udyog alone exports 30,000 cars and domestically sells 500,000 cars annually. Known for their exceptional fuel efficiency and durability in rugged terrains/roads and driving conditions.
  30. There are 30 automobile companies with their manufacturing plants in India, including BMW, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi Motors, Suzuki, and Toyota.
  31. India has entered the competitive aero-space industry by launching satellites for a number of countries (see PSLV-C9).
  32. India is the third nation to successfully send a rocket to the moon (after USA, Russia) (see PSLV-C11, PSLV-C11).

(updated November 2008)

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