By Shashi Tharoor
In 1930, the yank historian and thinker Will Durant wrote that Britain s awake and planned bleeding of India... [was the] maximum crime in all heritage . He used to be no longer the one one to denounce the rapacity and cruelty of British rule, and his review used to be no longer exaggerated. nearly thirty-five million Indians died due to acts of fee and omission via the British in famines, epidemics, communal riots and wholesale slaughter just like the reprisal killings after the 1857 struggle of Independence and the Amritsar bloodbath of 1919. along with the deaths of Indians, British rule impoverished India in a way that beggars trust. whilst 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 proportion of global GDP used to be 23 in line with cent. while the British left it was once simply above three in line with cent. The British empire in India begun with the East India corporation, integrated in 1600, by means of 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, lower than the command of Robert Clive, corporation forces defeated the ruling Nawab Siraj-ud-Daula of Bengal at Plassey, via a mix of stronger artillery or even extra more suitable chicanery. many years later, the younger and weakened Mughal emperor, Shah Alam II, used to be browbeaten into issuing an edict that changed his personal profit officers with the corporate s representatives. Over the following a number of many years, the East India corporation, sponsored by way of the British executive, prolonged its keep watch over over so much of India, ruling with a mixture of extortion, double-dealing, and outright corruption subsidized by way of violence and greater strength. This scenario endured until eventually 1857, whilst 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 strength and governed the rustic ostensibly extra benignly until eventually 1947, whilst India received independence. during this explosive publication, bestselling writer Shashi Tharoor unearths with acuity, impeccable examine, and trademark wit, simply how disastrous British rule used to be for India. along with interpreting the various ways that the colonizers exploited India, starting from the drain of nationwide assets to Britain, the destruction of the Indian fabric, steel-making and delivery industries, and the destructive transformation of agriculture, he demolishes the arguments of Western and Indian apologists for Empire at the meant advantages 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 truly 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 probably the most contested sessions of Indian background.
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Extra resources for An Era of Darkness: The British Empire in India
1903: Lord Curzon’s grand Delhi Durbar. 1905: Partition of Bengal rouses strong opposition. Swadeshi movement and boycott of British goods initiated. Lord Curzon, prominent British viceroy of India, resigns. 1906: The Muslim League political party is formed in India at British instigation. 1909: Minto–Morley Reforms announced. 1911: Final imperial durbar in Delhi; India’s capital changed from Calcutta to Delhi. Cancellation of Partition of Bengal. 1913: Rabindranath Tagore wins Nobel Prize in Literature.
One site swiftly crossed over three million views; others did not keep track, but reported record numbers of hits. Right-wing critics of mine suspended their ‘trolling’ of me on social media to hail my speech. The Speaker of the Lok Sabha went out of her way to laud me at a function attended by the Prime Minister, who then, in his own remarks, congratulated me for having said ‘the right things at the right place’. Schools and colleges played the speech to their students; one university, the Central University of Jammu, organized a day-long seminar at which eminent scholars addressed specific points I had raised.
1773: British East India Company obtains monopoly on the production and sale of opium in Bengal. Lord North’s Regulating Act passed in Parliament. Warren Hastings appointed as first Governor General of India. 1781: Hyder Ali’s son, Tipu Sultan, defeats British forces. 1784: Pitt the Younger passes the India Act to bring the East India Company under Parliament’s control. Judge and linguist Sir William Jones founds Calcutta’s Royal Asiatic Society. 1787-95: British Parliament impeaches Warren Hastings, Governor General of Bengal (1774-85), for misconduct.
An Era of Darkness: The British Empire in India by Shashi Tharoor