A Reply to Fox News Anchor Who Said British Rule Helped India

The British did what they did solely to meet the needs of the Empire’s administration and commerce.

3 min read
Edited By :Saundarya Talwar

American far-right news anchor Tucker Carlson of Fox News went on to air to give tribute to Queen Elizabeth II in what was less of a tribute and more of a racist glorification of the British Empire.

"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 said.

The two things that this guy made clear was that one, he loves British Indian architecture and infrastructure, and two, we should be thankful for it.

This blinds him from seeing the obvious – that everything that the British did, from infrastructure to the legal system, was for their own gain, because let's be real, they planned to stick around.

On Public Buildings

Tucker talks about the public buildings that the British constructed during the Raj. But were any of them for us when they were built?

The famous Writers Building in Kolkata originally served the writers of the British East India Company, hence the name. The Gateway of India was erected in 1911 to commemorate the landing of King George V and Queen Mary, not for Gen Z kids to go on dates 100 years later.

The Victoria Memorial was in tribute to Queen Victoria, perhaps you remember her? And the Victoria Terminus in Bombay that you are drooling on, as Shashi Tharoor has pointed out, it was constructed for the British to profit from their business because Bombay was (and still is) a port city!

The British laid railways, developed roads, and constructed buildings not to develop Indian social and national life but to meet the needs of the Empire’s administration and commerce.

On the Legal System & the Abolition of Sati

Tucker talks about legal systems. But what good was a legal system if it wasn't us making the laws in the first place? What good was a legal system that could not punish people like Reginald Dyer and Michael o dyer for a massacre that killed thousands of innocent Indians? What good was a legal system that used to taxes to squeeze the poor peasant of most of his earnings?

Lord Bentinck, the Governor-General of India, who outlawed sati in British India, had hope that this outlaw would "wash out the foul stain upon British rule," because the word about sati was really spreading around, and the British Empire's reputation was at risk. And that is the point, what appears to be British benevolence was never about us. It was always about the crown.

To say that British rule was the only steppingstone for India to the modern world is such a gross and lazy analysis. There's a massive difference between constructive globalisation and imperialism. India has always enjoyed exchanges of ideas as well as commodities with the outside world.

When the British came to India, our share in world trade was 27 percent. When they left, it was 2 percent. When they came here, our share of the world economy was around 23 percent when they left, it was less than 4 percent.


What Tucker Forgot to Mention

There are several things about the "responsible colonialists" that Tucker forgot to mention. He forgot to mention that Bengal famine of 1943 that was a consequence of Churchill’s wartime policies.

His government was warned repeatedly that excessive use of Indian resources for the war effort could result in famine, but it still continued to export rice from India to elsewhere in the empire.

Tucker forgot to mention that the whole basis of British imperialism in India was to be found in the exploitation of the agricultural population, with astronomically high taxes and Indian harvests being used for the benefit of the British industry and the economy.

He forgot to mention about the mass-killings by the British police against the Indian population, the 1913 Mangarh massacre along the borders of Rajasthan and Gujarat, the 1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre in Amritsar, the 1922 Pal-Chitariya massacre in Gujarat, and the 1930 Qissa Khwani massacre in Peshawar among many others. 

So Tucker, thank you for history lesson, but no thank you.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

Read Latest News and Breaking News at The Quint, browse for more from news and india

Speaking truth to power requires allies like you.
Become a Member
3 months
12 months
12 months
Check Member Benefits
Read More