'Prosperous' British India

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'Prosperous' British India, more completely titled Prosperous' British India: A Revelation from Official Records, was a book published in 1901 by British author William Digby that described the economic conditions prevailing in British India in the latter half of the nineteenth century under British rule.[1] It used official government statistics to illuminate the falling incomes and increasing impoverishment in India under British administration during that period, the book was influential and, at the time, attracted attention due to the imprinting of the actual falling per-capita income statistics in gold on the spine of the book itself.[2] The book also used government statistics to demonstrate that the death-toll and frequency of catastrophic economic disasters in India, such as famines, was growing systematically under British rule.[3]

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  1. ^ William Digby (1901), 'Prosperous' British India: A Revelation from Official Records, Unwin, ... Thus England's unbounded prosperity owes its origin to her connection with India, whilst it has, largely, been maintained - disguisedly - from the same source, from the middle of the eighteenth century to the present time. 'Possibly, since the world began, no investment has ever yielded the profit reaped from the Indian plunder' ... 
  2. ^ Tapan Raychaudhuri; Irfan Habib; Dharma Kumar (1983), The Cambridge Economic History of India: Volume 2, C.1751-c.1970, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 9780521228022, ... As Daniel Thorner has remarked, where can one find a more dramatic presentation of conclusions than that of William Digby, who had imprinted in gold on the spine of his book the per capita income of 'Prosperous' British India in 1850 as 2d, 1882 as ½d, and 1900 as less than ¾d? ... 
  3. ^ James Vernon (2009), Hunger: A Modern History, Harvard University Press, p. 51, ISBN 9780674044678, ... Whereas Dutt used the Famine Commission Reports of 1880 and 1898 to catalogue a melancholy 'record of twenty-two famines within a period of 130 years of British rule in India,' Digby dug deeper into colonial records, to reveal not only that the toll — twenty-six famines in the century preceding 1900 — was even graver, but that the scale and frequency of famines had grown and accelerated ...