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Ramkrishna Vishwanath

Ramkrishna Vishwanath lived in the region in or around Mumbai City District (Maharashtra) and was one of the forerunners of the Economic Drain Theory. By creating a corpus of objective critique of British rule, he helped in building the freedom struggle in India.

In 1843, Vishwanath wrote the first book on economics in Marathi called 'Thoughts on India's Past, Its Present Condition, and Their Impact on the Future'. He presented an account of India’s history with the intention that Indians learn from the past and feel desirous to make their country strong and prosperous. Vishwanath severely critiqued the economic drain created by British political dominion and blamed it for India’s impoverishment. He showed how the adverse balance of trade with Britain and the government's trade monopolies created such a drain. Further, he criticised European monopoly over highly paid posts for creating educated unemployment. Vishwanath saw the colonial state as exploitative and believed that modern industrialisation was the only way for India to attain self-sufficiency and progress. However, he was aware that Indians had to industrialise through their own efforts and encouraged the same, for the British were unlikely to be interested. The route of share capital was suggested by him for starting a modern industry in India.

Vishwanath was also critical of India’s social weaknesses. He gave a call for social regeneration and promoted the idea of ‘labour is wealth’.

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Colonial Map of Bombay, 1812-16