Medieval India - Quotable Quotes

Marco Polo

He was one of the earliest European travellers to India in medieval times. He came to India after travelling much of Asia. He visited only the Malabar region of India and describes it as

“the most prosperous of all, in the world he had seen”.
His description of India was as follows:
“Millions of precious gems
Millions of gold coins
Millions of miles of fertile country
Millions of amazing people”

All this is mentioned in his bestseller book of 1300s, “Travels of Marco Polo” by Rusticiano.

Christopher Colombus

Christopher_ColumbusEveryone is aware of Columbus looking for India.

Why looking for India?
The glory and prosperity of India spread all over the world during this period was the source of attraction for many travellers.

He went westwards, from Spain, in 1492 to circumnavigate the globe, to look for India.The land he found in the west, The Americas, he thought was a part of India and hence called the locals as Red Indians.

Vasco da Gama

Vasco_da_GamaVasco da Gama, from Portugal, came eastwards, in 1498, searching for India.

Very interesting….How Vasco da Gama reached India?

He reached Cape of Good Hope by sailing along the west coast of Africa, keeping sight of land, for fear of getting lost. From his own account, he then reached Malabar on the West coast of India only after being escorted in mid seas, by Indian ships. 

He further writes that while he had brought the largest, then known ship in Portugal, the Indian ships, which had come for trade to Cape of Good Hope, the southern coast of Africa, were 10 times as large as his own ship.

The making of these large ships prove that the Indian Shipping Industry was highly developed and formed the backbone of Indian trade then.

Unfortunately, the British destroyed Indian ship building industry to make way for the modern ships of the English, for their shipping industry and economy to prosper.vasco-da-gama-manju

During the Early British Days
Mountstuart Elphinstone

He was a Scottish statesman and historian, associated with the government of British India, who later became the Governor of Bombay.
“All the descriptions of the parts of India visited by the Greeks give the idea of a country teeming with population and enjoying the highest degree of prosperity – 1500 cities between Hydaspes and Hyphasis”
- Elphinstone, History of India, Volume 1, page 12

Jean – Baptiste Tavernier

He was a French traveller and pioneer of trade with India, who visited India six times between 1640 – 1667.
Jean- Baptiste Tavernier-India
 He writes in his book:

“Even in the smallest villages , rice, flour, butter, milk, beans and other vegetables, sugar and sweetmeats, dry and liquid, can be procured in abundance…”

Francois Bernier

François Bernier was a French physician and traveller. He visted Bengal between 1656 and 1668 CE. He writes in his book “Travels in the Mogul Empire” about Bengal:
Francois Bernier book
“The knowledge I have acquired about Bengal in two visits inclines me to believe that it is richer than Egypt.
It exports in abundance cotton and silks, rice, sugar, butter.
It produces amply for its own consumption of wheat, vegetables, grains, fowls, ducks and geese.
It has immense herds of pigs and flocks of sheep and goats.
Fish of every kind it has in profusion.
From Rajmahal to the sea, is an endless number of canals, cut in bygone ages from the Ganges by immense labour for navigation and irrigation.”

Anquetil Duperron
He was the first professional French scholar of Indian culture. He had visited India and stayed there for 7 years between 1755 and 1761, quotes a traveller,

“When I entered the country of the Maharattas I thought myself in the midst of simplicity and happiness of the golden age… misery was unknown…the people were cheerful, vigorous and in high health.”

Col.  Alexander Walker on India's inexhaustible wealth
Col. Walker in his letter to James Mill, a historian , on 8th April 1820, writes about the proverbial riches of India the gist of which is,

"India has natural abundance and fertility of soil.
India has no mines of gold or silver.
There has been a constant influx of gold and silver in exchange for the natural productions of the country.
It has been a regular and uninterrupted accumulation.
Conquest and plunder are the only expedients to bring back into circulation this super abundant wealth."

India has been plundered many a times over, in the last 1000 years.

What could have been the secret to this prosperity of India which kept returning and keeps returning after every wave of plunder?

Wave 1 - Near West Onslaughts
The onslaughts from Near West such as that of Mohamad of Ghauri, Mohamad of Ghazni, around 1000 CE and that by Nadir Shah around 17000 CE.

Wave 2 - The Colonial Plunder
The drain of Indian wealth, primarily by the East India Company of British between 1600 CE to 1947 CE.

Wave 3 - The Home Grown Plunder
The looting of Indian money by Indians themselves from 1950 CE till date. And which needs to be stopped at the earliest!

All these answers and the ways we can U-turn India back to its prosperity and glory have been very beautifully put up in the book "You Turn India" of Bharath Gyan Series by D.K Hari and  D.K.Hema Hari

We highly recommend you read it.

Can you Turn India?

  1. You Turn India – by Bharath Gyan (A wonderful book which is a must read for all)
  3. Wikipedia

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