The central policy challenge of the Bengali famine was that there was more than enough food WITHIN India but that food was not equitably distributed. Hence the British government's reluctance to import food to solve the problem. Plus the small matter of a existential total war.
— John Duffield (@jfwduffield) February 15, 2019
or maybe that British rule in India was profoundly destructive and shameful?
— Xerxes the Magi (@ZacharyLatif) February 15, 2019
I was flirting with a lot of topics on what to write but I’m just going to leave these tweets out here. We continued the exchange but my blood is now boiling; Vidhi always like to say “calm is a super-power” but I dislike the presumptuousness and arrogance when dispensing on the evil doings of colonialism in South Asia.
I notice many Indian commentators decry UP/Bihar backwardness but it has to do with British policy of bleeding India through her port cities.
British Development in the Subcontinent wasn’t centred in the most populous areas but rather the most productive. Say what you will about the Mughals (and John makes an uncharitable dig at them in a following tweet) but their development focus remained the UP-Bihar.
They may have been a rentier state par excellence but at the very least at least their wealth flowed back into the geographical territories that comprises modern day India