As the historian William Dalrymple has observed: “The economic figures speak for themselves. In 1600, when the East India Company was founded, Britain was generating 1.8% of the world’s GDP, while India was producing 22.5%. By the peak of the Raj, those figures had more or less been reversed: India was reduced from the world’s leading manufacturing nation to a symbol of famine and deprivation.”
The thing is, Amartya Sen knows better than this. The Indian economy didn’t decline. GDP per capita stayed – roughly enough – static. Population soared. Therefore total GDP rose. It’s that GDP elsewhere in the world rose more.