Sydney: Under Muslims rule India was the richest country, amounting to almost 27% of world GDP, Muslims united this nation into one entity, gave it an identity, former union minister Shashi Tharoor said in Australia.
Appearing on Australian national channel ABC’s #QandA (Question and Answer), the Congress MP also described in detail how India’s textiles, dominated mostly by Muslims, was systematically destroyed by the British.
“The British came to one of the richest countries in the world when the GDP was almost 27% in the 17th century, 23% in the18th. But, over 200 years of exploitation, loot and destruction reduced India to a poster child for third world poverty”, he said in reply to a question.
“But when they left India in 1947, 90% of the population was living under below poverty level. Literacy rate was below 17% and growth rate from 1900 to 1947 was a meager 0.001%”, he said.
Tharoor was in Australia as a guest at Melbourne Writer’s Festival. He appeared on ABC on September 04, 2017 but the video of the program resurfaced on the social media in the wake of the crisis the Indian economy is facing, and amid campaign by the Hindutva forces against Muslim rulers, especially the Mughals.
Tharoor also described at length how the British destroyed India’s textiles and its export.
“The fact is in the name of free trade the British came in and destroyed the free trade that had made India leading exporter of textiles.
“The British soldiers smashed looms so people couldn't practice their craft. They imposed punitive duties and taxes on the export of Indian textiles while lifting duties on import of British cloth”, he said.
“Cities like Dhaka and Murshidabad were depopulated. In one notorious incident weavers' thumbs were cut so that they could not operate on looms.
"India’s textile industry was systematically destroyed by the British”, he added.
Tharoor, who recently authored “An Era Of Darkness", published in the UK as "Inglorious Empire" What the British Did to India, rose to Number 1 in the London Evening Standard bestseller lists.
His book was inspired by a speech he delivered at the Oxford Union in 2015 which has been viewed over 4 million times on YouTube.
Tharoor's praise for Muslim rulers is not new. In August 2017 while speaking at Mountain Echoes Literary Festival in Bhutan's capital Thimpu, Tharoor rejected the notion that Muslim rulers were foreigners.
"I am talking about the British who came and ruled us for the benefit of a country far away. For the Prime Minister, Muslim rulers who originally came to India to rule but stayed in India, assimilated and intermarried are also considered foreigners.
"To me they are not foreigners. If they stole and looted, they spent their loot here. They did not send it back to another country like the British," Tharoor said in a direct attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's repeated claim of "1,200 years of foreign rule".