- Feb 2011
As previously emphasized by myself (and obviously ignored by you), the overall effect of British colonialism was good: building roads, railways, increasing trade, uniting previously at-war native peoples etc... But the famine bit is overplayed by people who insist on letting an ideological opposition to colonialism (which is what you have) override facts.
The construction of the Indian Railways is often pointed to by apologists for empire as one of the ways in which British colonialism benefited the subcontinent, ignoring the obvious fact that many countries also built railways without having to go to the trouble and expense of being colonised to do so. But the facts are even more damning.
The railways were first conceived of by the East India Company, like everything else in that firm’s calculations, for its own benefit. Governor General Lord Hardinge argued in 1843 that the railways would be beneficial “to the commerce, government and military control of the country”. In their very conception and construction, the Indian railways were a colonial scam. British shareholders made absurd amounts of money by investing in the railways, where the government guaranteed returns double those of government stocks, paid entirely from Indian, and not British, taxes. It was a splendid racket for Britons, at the expense of the Indian taxpayer.
The railways were intended principally to transport extracted resources – coal, iron ore, cotton and so on – to ports for the British to ship home to use in their factories. The movement of people was incidental, except when it served colonial interests; and the third-class compartments, with their wooden benches and total absence of amenities, into which Indians were herded, attracted horrified comment even at the time. -https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/mar/08/india-britain-empire-railways-myths-gifts
Ghandi himself was an ambitious Indian civil servant under the British system until he suddenly, largely for political reasons, adopted his new identity.