Book Review: An Era of Darkness

“An Era of Darkness-The British Empire in India” by Shashi Tharoor was inspired by his speech at the Oxford Union Debate which went viral and even got praise from PM Modi.

In the book,the author expands on his speech and explains with an array of facts and figures how the British looted India and how millions of Indians paid with their properties and lives for the enrichment of Britain.

The “Brutish Rule” worked at destroying India at many levels:

  • The British Raj was different from the Mughals and other rulers was that they did not spend the collected tax revenues in India-what they could collect,loot and steal- they sent it back home.
  • Indian manufacturing was decimated-be it textiles & industry goods-ensuring that India only supplied raw materials.The adage “India missed the Industrial Revolution” is just a myth-Indians were thru rules, laws, regulations, tariffs and brute force were kept outside it
  • The British ruled India with only commercial interests in mind-how London could be benefited.As such,no money was spent on education,health etc.The British left India with a literacy rate of 16% and a female literacy rate of 8%
  • By pursing a policy of explicit racism,Indians were excluded from high posts in the Civil Services,Judiciary,Army,Police,Railways etc.As Nehru put it, “the Indian Civil Service is neither Civil nor a Service nor Indian”
  • By pursuing a policy of “Divide et Impera” (Divide & Rule), the British sowed divisions & exploited differences between Hindus & Muslims,Shias & Sunnis,Dalits & Upper Castes etc whose impact is still being suffered today and which directly lead to Partition
  • By placing London’s interests over the populace,the British ensured famines and epidemics went unchecked killing millions of people.In fact, for Indians Churchill is a bigger war criminal than Hitler for causing the Bengal Famine of 1943 where he remarked “The famine was their own fault for breeding like rabbits”

The effects of the British Raj on India can be summed as:

“In 1600 when the East India Company was established,Britain was producing just 1.8% of the World’s GDP while India was generating some 23%.

By 1940, Britain accounted for 10% of the World’s GDP while India had been reduced to a poor,’third world’ country destitute and starving”

I ,for one, believe in Karma and look forward to the day when India takes her rightful place at the top of the table

I also feel tremendously lucky to be born in a free India.

Do read this book if interested in history.

2 replies on “Book Review: An Era of Darkness”

India’s decline culminated with british rule and we sunk further with congress regimes. I believe sashi tharoor overlooks the negative role mughals and regional leaders such as tipu sultan played on Indias development. He portrays a hindu musLim relationship that was good before the british and that deteriorated after the British took over. I think thats a stretch

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