Kabir alerted me to this on Facebook, “No, Mughals didn’t loot India. They made us rich.”
Let us examine India’s economic status prior to its becoming a British colony.
The Cambridge historian Angus Maddison writes in his book, Contours of the World Economy 1–2030 AD: Essays in Macro-economic History, that while India had the largest economy till 1000 AD (with a GDP share of 28.9 per cent in 1000AD) there was no economic growth. It was during the 1000 AD-1500 AD that India began to see a economic growth with its highest (20.9 per cent GDP growth rate) being under the Mughals. In the 18th century, India had overtaken China as the largest economy in the world.
The changing share of world GDP 1600–1870 (in million 1990 international $)
Source: Angus Maddison, The World Economy, Paris: OECD, 2001, p. 261, Table B-18
In 2016, on a PPP adjusted basis, India’s was 7.2 per cent of the world GDP.In 1952, India’s GDP was 3.8 per cent. “Indeed, at the beginning of the 20th century, “the brightest jewel in the British Crown” was the poorest country in the world in terms of per capita income,” former prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh once said.
Since it’s established now that the Mughals did not take away money, let’s talk of what they invested in. They invested in infrastructure, in building great monuments which are a local and tourist draw generating crores of rupees annually.