Download An Era of Darkness: The British Empire in India by Shashi Tharoor PDF

By Shashi Tharoor

In 1930, the yank historian and thinker Will Durant wrote that Britain s wide awake and planned bleeding of India... [was the] maximum crime in all historical past . He was once no longer the one one to denounce the rapacity and cruelty of British rule, and his review was once no longer exaggerated. virtually thirty-five million Indians died due to acts of fee and omission by way of the British in famines, epidemics, communal riots and wholesale slaughter just like the reprisal killings after the 1857 conflict of Independence and the Amritsar bloodbath of 1919. along with the deaths of Indians, British rule impoverished India in a fashion that beggars trust. while the East India corporation took keep an eye on of the rustic, within the chaos that ensued after the cave in of the Mughal empire, India s percentage of global GDP used to be 23 in step with cent. while the British left it used to be simply above three consistent with cent. The British empire in India all started with the East India corporation, included in 1600, through royal constitution of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth I, to exchange in silk, spices and different ecocnomic Indian commodities. inside of a century and a part, the corporate had develop into an influence to reckon with in India. In 1757, less than the command of Robert Clive, corporation forces defeated the ruling Nawab Siraj-ud-Daula of Bengal at Plassey, via a mix of more advantageous artillery or even extra greater chicanery. many years later, the younger and weakened Mughal emperor, Shah Alam II, was once browbeaten into issuing an edict that changed his personal profit officers with the corporate s representatives. Over the following numerous many years, the East India corporation, subsidized through the British govt, prolonged its keep watch over over so much of India, ruling with a mix of extortion, double-dealing, and outright corruption sponsored via violence and more advantageous strength. This scenario persisted until eventually 1857, while huge numbers of the corporate s Indian squaddies spearheaded the 1st significant uprising opposed to colonial rule. After the rebels have been defeated, the British Crown took over energy and governed the rustic ostensibly extra benignly till 1947, while India gained independence. during this explosive booklet, bestselling writer Shashi Tharoor finds with acuity, impeccable study, and trademark wit, simply how disastrous British rule was once for India. along with analyzing the numerous ways that the colonizers exploited India, starting from the drain of nationwide assets to Britain, the destruction of the Indian cloth, steel-making and delivery industries, and the adverse transformation of agriculture, he demolishes the arguments of Western and Indian apologists for Empire at the intended merits of British rule, together with democracy and political freedom, the guideline of legislation, and the railways. The few unarguable merits the English language, tea, and cricket have been by no means really meant for the advantage of the colonized yet brought to serve the pursuits of the colonizers. Brilliantly narrated and passionately argued, An period of Darkness will serve to right many misconceptions approximately the most contested sessions of Indian historical past.

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1835: Mauritius receives 19,000 migrant indentured labourers from India. Workers continued to be shipped to Mauritius till 1922. 1837: Kali-worshipping thugs suppressed by the British. 1839: Preacher William Howitt attacks British rule in India. 1843: British conquer the Sindh region (present-day Pakistan). British promulgate ‘doctrine of lapse’, under which a state is taken over by the British whenever a ruler dies without an heir. 1853: First railway established between Bombay and Thane. 1857: First major Indian revolt, called the Sepoy Mutiny by the British, ends in a few months with the fall of Delhi and Lucknow.

Jinnah calls Direct Action Day. Violence erupts in Calcutta. 1947: India gains independence on 15 August. Partition of the country amid mass killings and displacement. Britain exits India. —————— PREFACE The Oxford speech – Indian reactions – criticisms taken into account – history is neither for excuses nor for revenge This book, somewhat unusually, began as a speech. At the end of May 2015, I was invited by the Oxford Union to speak on the proposition ‘Britain Owes Reparations to Her Former Colonies’.

1876: Queen Victoria (1819-1901) is proclaimed Empress of India (1876-1901). Major famine of 1876-77 mishandled by Viceroy Lord Lytton. 1879: The Leonidas, first emigrant ship to Fiji, adds 498 Indian indentured labourers to the nearly 340,000 already working in other British empire colonies. 1885: A group of middle-class intellectuals in India, some of them British, establish the Indian National Congress to be a voice of Indian opinion to the British government. 1889: Jawaharlal Nehru is born (d.

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