Legacy of the Raj or what India was when the British left in 1947


  • India had 30crore (300mn) population, with an average longivity of 32 years (with between 17.5 to 19.0% infantile mortality)
  • There were just 360,000 income-tax payers in 1947
  • Only 15% of Indians were literate (literacy rate among women was 9%)
  • 83% of Indians lived in villages, and 70% depended on agriculture... 28% were landless labours (this, as one would notice, has not changed much)
  • 70% of cultivated land was owned by a handful of zamindars and money-lenders.
  • Only 3% of India's workforce (less than 9mn) was employed in manufacturing sector.
  • Jute and cotton industry accounted for 30% of the total industrial employment (and about 55% of value-added to manufacturing)
  • Indian farmers owned 0.9mn iron plough, and 31.3mn wooden plough.
  • Across the total population, even in 1950-51, there were just about 168,000 telephones.
  • Only 27% of cultivated land was irrigated.
  • In 1951, there were just 37,000 towns and villages (out of around 5,000 cities and 500,000 villages)