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    • Quote-Britain’s Industrial Revolution was actually premised upon the deindustrialization of India
  • Fact Files
  • Active volcano found on Venus

Quote-Britain’s Industrial Revolution was actually premised upon the deindustrialization of India


GS-1: History of the World will include events from 18th century such as Industrial Revolution, world wars, Redrawal of National Boundaries, Colonization, Decolonization, political philosophies like Communism, Capitalism, Socialism etc.— their forms and effect on the society. 

This year marks the second centenary of the Oxford Union, an esteemed debating society situated at Oxford University. Over time, a variety of public figures including scientists and heads of state have addressed the forum, discussing topics that are pertinent to the real world. Among the most widely shared speeches in the history of the Union was one delivered by Indian MP Shashi Tharoor in 2015 during a debate on whether Britain should compensate its former colonies. Tharoor's scathing critique of British colonialism resonated with audiences in India and other nations that had previously been colonized.

The Context and Meaning of the Quote

  • Tharoor specifically mentions India's handloom weavers.
  • According to Tharoor, Britain came in and destroyed the handloom weavers' equipment, and imposed tariffs and duties on their products.
  • Britain then took raw materials from India and shipped back manufactured cloth, which flooded the global market.
  • As a result, Indian weavers became beggars, and India went from being a leading exporter of finished cloth to an importer.
  • India's share of world trade dropped from 27% to less than 2%.
  • The above quote and example demonstrate a direct connection between Britain's emergence as a global superpower after the Industrial Revolution and India's exploitation, the consequences of which are still evident today.

The Industrial Revolution

  • The Industrial Revolution refers to a series of changes in production methods and relationships that led to increased outputs and put the West on a path towards prosperity and power, initially during the mid-18th century and early 19th century, which later spread throughout much of the world. 
  • These changes included a shift from hand production to machines, new chemical manufacturing and iron production processes, increased use of water and steam power, development of machine tools, and the rise of mechanized factories.
  • The reasons for Britain's early industrialization are still debated and may include social and political changes, geographical factors, new belief systems, and technological innovations.
  • Colonialism was another crucial factor in the British Industrial Revolution.

Colonial expansion and British industry

  • British colonial conquest was driven primarily by economic interests, as the British East India Company sought to protect its trading activities in India.
  • As British control over India expanded, the subcontinent became a crucial asset for Britain, providing men, materials, and markets for its colonial activities. Thus, India became Britain's biggest cash cow by the end of the 19thcentury.
  • Indian markets and raw materials were crucial to British industrialization, as the demand and supply they provided helped Britain thrive.
  • As British industry grew stronger through the Industrial Revolution, it gained the economic and technological capabilities to further expand its colonial activities.
  • This created a cycle in which colonialism supported British industrial growth, which in turn fuelled further colonial expansion and repression.

Indian deindustrialisation

  • According to Tharoor, "deindustrialisation" refers to the systematic destruction of the Indian domestic economy, which was essential to Britain's industrial revolution.
  • Prior to the Industrial Revolution, modern factories and advanced production methods did not exist but when the British colonised India, they changed and controlled traditional economies to benefit themselves, which had driven handloom workers out of work due to competition from cheap mill-produced cloth from Britain.
  • Dadabhai Naoroji, in his 1867 book 'Poverty and Un-British Rule in India', proposed the "drain of wealth" theory, which explained how British rule had caused losses of hundreds of millions of rupees in the Indian economy.
  • The drain of wealth theory was due to India becoming a source of cheap raw materials rather than expensive finished goods, as well as Britain's harsh taxation system.
  • Marxist historian RP Dutt argued in his 1940 book 'India Today' that the capital needed to finance India's Industrial Revolution went into financing Britain's Industrial Revolution instead.


Relevance of the quote in contemporary world

  • Although colonialism as it was practised in earlier ages is no longer a reality, its effects may still be seen today.
  • Several historians have linked colonialism and the subsequent western industrialization to the disparities between states that exist today. However, the true influence of colonialism in causing today's injustices is not fully understood, particularly among the populace and ruling classes of former colonial countries. 
  • Speeches like Tharoor’s at the Oxford Union debate are an essential reminder to all about the depravity and long-term consequences of colonialism – for both the coloniser and the colonised.

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Fact File

Active volcano found on Venus

  • For the first time, Venus has direct geological evidence of recent volcanic activity on its surface, according to a new analysis of old radar photographs collected almost three decades ago.


  • Venus is the second planet from the Sun and is Earth’s closest planetary neighbor. 
  • It’s one of the four inner, terrestrial (or rocky) planets, and it’s often called Earth’s twin because it’s similar in size and density. 
  • These are not identical twins, however – there are radical differences between the two worlds.
  • Venus has a thick, toxic atmosphere filled with carbon dioxide and it’s perpetually shrouded in thick, yellowish clouds of sulfuric acid that trap heat, causing a runaway greenhouse effect.
  • It’s the hottest planet in our solar system, even though Mercury is closer to the Sun. Surface temperatures on Venus are about 900 degrees Fahrenheit (475 degrees Celsius) – hot enough to melt lead. 
  • The surface is a rusty color and it’s peppered with intensely crunched mountains and thousands of large volcanoes.
  • Venus has crushing air pressure at its surface – more than 90 times that of Earth.
  • Venus rotates on its axis backward, compared to most of the other planets in the solar system. This means that, on Venus, the Sun rises in the west and sets in the east, opposite to what we experience on Earth.
  • Future missions to Venus
  • VERITAS:NASA's VERITAS, or Venus Emissivity, Radio Science, InSAR, Topography, and Spectroscopy, will be the first NASA spacecraft to explore Venus since the 1990s. 
  • It will orbit Venus, gathering data to reveal how the paths of Venus and Earth diverged, and how Venus lost its potential to be a habitable world.
  • DAVINCI:NASA’s DAVINCI mission will drop a probe to the surface, after exploring the top of Venus’s atmosphere. On its hour-long descent, the probe will take thousands of measurements and snap up-close images of the surface. The probe may not survive the landing, but if it does, it could provide several minutes of bonus science.
  • Envision: ESA has selected Envision to make detailed observations of Venus. As a key partner in the mission, NASA is providing the Synthetic Aperture Radar, called VenSAR, to make high-resolution measurements of the planet’s surface features.
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