Speaking at the Oxford Union, a British debating society, Shashi Tharoor said “Britain’s Industrial Revolution was actually premised upon the deindustrialisation of India.”
Dr. Tharoor says that Britain owes restorations to India for the 200 years of colonial rule, in which India’s industrial capability was demolished for the benefit of Britain, and that was the reason for Britain’s success and India’s failure.
He was speaking in the debate “This house believes Britain owes reparations to her former colonies,” at the Oxford Union Society
Speaking about the reason India became impoverished, he said, “India’s share of the world economy when Britain arrived on its shores was 23 percent. By the time the British left it was down to below four per cent. Why? Simply because India had been governed for the benefit of Britain. … Britain’s rise for 200 years was financed by its depredations in India.”
Here is the official title and description of the Oxford Union Reparations Debate:
This House Believes Britain Owes Reparations to her Former Colonies
We have recently seen former colonies demanding reparations for centuries of abuse: from the Mau Mau survivors in Kenya to descendants of slaves in the Caribbean. David Cameron made controversial remarks on the issue in Amritsar; William Hague said outright that there should be no post-colonial guilt; and Ken Livingstone gave a heartfelt apology for London’s role in the slave trade. Do Britain’s politicians owe more than just their words? [Oxford Union Debate Description]
Dr Tharoor spoke for the proposition team, with Jamaican High Comissioner Ndombet Assamba, and Ghanaian economist Dr George Ayittey.
The opposition speakers were Sir Richard Ottaway, a British politician and former Chair of Foreign Affairs Committee, William Roger Louis CBE FBA, an American historian of British Empire and editor-in-chief of The Oxford History of The British Empire, and Prof John M MacKenzie, a British historian and editor of Manchester University Press ‘Studies in Imperialism’ series.
The team for the proposition won the debate with 185 votes to the opposition team’s 56.