Insights from two multi-millennia-span analyses about Bharat (and peoples of Dharmic civilization) since Common era

This piece attempts to glean insights about Bharat (and Dharmic peoples*) since Common Era, and particularly upto 19th century, from two publicly available analyses:

One: Contribution of Bharat to Global economy

In the description of her graph (immediately below) which, per her, is based on the data and research of late Professor Angus Maddison (considered a specialist in ‘quantitative macroeconomic history‘) , M Tracy Hunter has included:

This map shows the evolution of global economies over 2000 years, in terms of percent GDP contribution by each major economy over history. The chart plots the data from the published tables of Angus Maddison, the British Economist.

Graph 1:


 Source of the graph above

In her two-line summary of the chart, while she has included that ‘Before the 18th century, India and China were the two largest economies by GDP output’, let us look at what else can one glean, from her data-visualisation of Maddison’s data, about Bharat (i.e. what is today India) and Dharmic civilizations:

Table 1 below is one way to summarize information gleaned from quick visual reading of Hunter’s chart above (approximates, not precise)

Common Era Year

Bharat’s % GDP contribution (approximate) 


Rank (% contribution, all approximates)








India (32%)

China (26%)

W Europe (13%)




China (26-27%)

India (25%)

W Europe (18-19%)




China (29%)

India (23%)

W Europe (20%)




India (25%)

China (23%)

W Europe (~22.7%)




China (30%)

W Europe (23%)

India (20%)




W Europe (34%)

China (17%)

India (12%)




W Europe (33%)

America (20%)

China (8%)

The following insights  (all GDP % numbers approximates) follow:

  1. INSIGHT 1: In the First millennia CE (i.e. from 1 CE to 1000 CE) and until 14th century CE (i.e. 1400 CE), Bharat has been been the largest GDP contributor world-wide
  2. INSIGHT 2: For the first 17 centuries of Common Era (i.e. from 1 CE to 1700 CE), Bharat has been the largest GDP contributor world-wide (ranging between 32% to 24.5%), with the exception of two centuries (16th and 17th), where she is second to China (by a margin of about 1-2 percentage points at the turn of century 1500 and by about 6 percentage points at the turn of century 1600)
  3. INSIGHT 3: From 1700 to 1820, Bharat’s GDP contribution more than halves, dropping 13 percentage points from 24.5% to 12%, during which W Europe shoots up  by approximately 50% and 11+ percentage points, from ~22.7% to 34%

Two: Contribution (or its lack) of Bharat to top Global violence

On Nov 6, 2011, New York Times (NYT) published, what it has called ‘atrocities timeline’ (in the corresponding URL), with an interestingly-worded title “Population Control, Marauder Style”, which is reproduced below: (Click here to go to the source NYT article and note at bottom-left, the source that is quoted in the article, i.e.: ‘Source: Matthew White, “The Great Big Book of Horrible Things”‘)

Graph 2:


The following insights follow from the above NYT graph:

4. INSIGHT 4: During the First millennia CE (i.e. from 1 CE to 1000 CE), when Bharat was the largest global contributor of GDP (refer INSIGHT 1 above), it is totally absent in the above global chart on top Big violence. 

5. INSIGHT 5: From 10 century CE and until  the end of 20th century, as Bharat’s percentage contribution to world GDP mostly only drops and drops most steeply from around 1700 (refer Graph 1, Table 1),  her indigenous people, during this period (i.e. 1000 CE to 1700 CE), see multiple invasions, first from Islamic invaders followed by a series of European invaders, most prominent among them being the British. 

6. INSIGHT 6: The only times the people of Dharmic civilization, i.e. people indigenous to Bharat before invasions in second millennia, figure in the above NYT chart (referred to as chart of Top Big violence henceforth) is when they are at war or struggle, in defence of their culture, freedom and land, from invaders. 

From the above two analyses, can one not infer that the peoples (of Bharat, i.e. India) who have made the largest percentage contribution to world GDP for the longest period (for 15 of 20 centuries) over the last two millennia have never featured in the (above) global chart of top Big violence (over the same period) as aggressors and have only featured on the global chart of top Big violence as victims of invasions and cultural genocide?

Why would any Indian – whether or not she/he is Dharmic – be unproud of the fact that she/he belongs to a land whose peoples have not only made the largest percentage GDP contribution over the longest period of time, but did so without being in the headlines for large-scale violence, land-grab, invasion, cultural-genocide, or pursuing religious-conversion or for that matter, industrial pollution?

And the above insights are derived from very limited analyses of scholars who are clearly not Indian, not Hindu, not Buddhist, not Jain, not Sikh and with no perceivable agenda/incentive to uphold anything Indian or Dharmic.

(*Dharmic peoples includes all non proactively-aggressive people amongst Sanatana Dharmis (i.e. loosely Hindus), Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs of Bharat in the first and second millennia.)

Author’s note: On Oct 16, ‘multi-millennia-span’ was added to the title, for greater implied precision.


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