Member of Parliament, Shashi Tharoor has demolished an American broadcast journalist's claim of the British being a benign empire that gave India more than what it took.
Tharoor who initially reserved his annoyance at the foreign journalist, Tucker Carlson's monologue – that had been tweeted – to a few angry emojis later spoke at length in an interaction with NDTV.
Carlson in his eulogy to British monarch Queen Elizabeth II remarked: “The English took their colonial responsibility seriously. They didn't just take things, they added. When the British pulled out of India they left behind an entire civilisation, a language, a legal system, schools, churches and public buildings all of which are still in use today.”
He claimed that even as India was far more powerful than the UK now, it does not have a “single building as beautiful as the Bombay train station that the British colonials built”.
“Tucker Carlson might want to be nice about a monarch who passed away but to use that as an excuse to extol an empire that was essentially guilty of plunder, loot, pillage and worse is absurd. It is preposterous,” Tharoor said.
“The central question that Mr Tucker Carlson completely evades is whether the British were more benign than the other colonialists,” Tharoor said.
“What the British did was come to a country where they had no business to be. They ruled the country essentially to loot it. So they came into a country that was rich and prosperous and proceeded to drain its wealth. This has been amply documented going back to Dadabhai Naoroji and RC Dutt in the 19th century to my book and after my book Prof Utsa Patnaik did a study estimating 44 trillion the amount of loot and drain that the British took out of India.
“For every single thing the British did in India, whether it was building a railway station of laying a rail line or building a law court, every single thing was done in furtherance of British interests, to enhance British profits and to advance British empire. It had nothing to do with benefit of Indians.
Rail lines were laid at considerable expense paid for by the Indian taxpayer,” Tharoor said.
The Congress leader who authored 'Inglorious Empire: What the British Did to India' said there simply was “no question of praising the British for whatever they did to enhance their own rule”.