Seventy Years On, India Cannot Allow the Divisive Forces to Triumph Again

Seventy Years On, India Cannot Allow the Divisive Forces to Triumph Again

Credit – The Wire

A great responsibility falls upon the democratic and secular parties – whatever be their differences on policy matters – to come together and defend the country’s values.

In 1921, an Indian was fortunate if he or she crossed the age of 20, for this was the average expectation of life at birth during the census-decade 1911-21. The expectation of life had been declining steadily since the decade 1881-91, when it had been above 25 years. These data are sufficient to make superfluous any further descriptions of the absolute poverty and starvation of the bulk of the Indian population. With such misery within, India had been still forced to part annually with a significant portion of her GDP by way of tribute to England throughout the nineteenth century, which, if it had remained with her, would have given a fairly respectable rate of national savings in those years: the tribute amounted to not less than 4.14% of the GDP in the early 1880s, and in reality, was much larger still. ‘Free trade’ at the same time destroyed India’s traditional industries and obstructed any substantive growth of modern industry. In 1922, the average daily number of workers employed in factories was less than 1.4 million in a country that then contained a population of 305 million. The material backwardness had its reflection in the country’s cultural level. In 1931, the general literacy rate was only 9.2%, female literacy being below 3%.

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