Shashi Tharoor argues that Britain should pay India back in a video that went viral

Shashi Tharoor's speech at Oxford Union asking Britain to pay India reparations goes viral

Archana Venkatraman

Indian MP Shashi Tharoor, known for his influential and arresting public speaking skills, has put forth an eloquent, passionate and yet matter-of-fact argument on why Britain must pay reparations to its former colony India. His 15-minute speech at the Oxford Union in the UK has gone viral, drawing praise from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Shashi Tharoor's speech on why Britain should pay India reparations goes viral

Tharoor succinctly argued that Britain owes reparations to India for 200 years of colonial rule during which time India's prospects in the global economy shrunk massively purely because Britain . He spoke of the impact of colonialism on the Indian economy and how India's share of the world economy was 23% when Britain arrived to its shores and dropped to below 4% by the time the British left

"Why? Simply because India was governed for the benefit of Britain," he said.

"In fact, Britain's rise for 200 years was financed by its depredations in India. Britain's industrial revolution was actually premised upon the de-industrialisation of India!" he argued.

Although the speech is not new, the YouTube video of Tharoor's argument on Britain's reparations to India has been watched more than 1.5 million times since it was uploaded last week. The Indian Congress politician's speech's popularity on the social media has made it one of the most-viewed clips from the Oxford Union - considered a prestigious debate chamber at the University of Oxford discussing many pressing subjects.

Tharoor's speech that went viral has been picked by local Indian media as well as the international press including the US and the UK including a full speech on the BBC.

Here is the full speech:

Tharoor, dressed in a grey Indian-style suit over a maroon shirt with his trademark floppy hair argued: “The fact remains that many of today’s problems in these countries [former colonies] including the persistence and in some cases the creation of racial, of ethnic, of religious tensions were the direct result of colonialism. So there is a moral debt that needs to be paid.”

“To simply say sorry will go a far, far longer way than some percentage of GDP in the form of aid,” Tharoor added.

A Indian Congress politician, Tharoor said he was touched and gratified at the response his speech received and welcomed PM Modi's praise, despite belonging to the Opposition party.

Follow IndiaNewsBulletin on Facebook

Follow IndiaNewsBulletin on Google+

Follow IndiaNewsBulletin on Twitter

Follow Archana Venkatraman on Google+
Comments powered by Disqus