An Era of Darkness Quotes by Shashi Tharoor
How bad was British colonialism for India?
The rule of the British in India is possibly the most controversial and the most hotly debated aspect of the history of the British empire. Admirers of British rule point to the economic developments, the legal and administrative system, the fact that India became the centre of world politics. Critics of British rule generally point out that all of these benefits went to a tiny British ruling class and the majority of Indians gained little. Admirers of British rule counter this by saying that most Indians were poor and oppressed by their own leaders before the British arrived, and that British rule was less harsh on ordinary Indians than rule by Indian princes. Perhaps the main reason why the arguments are so heated and so complex is that India was very different from the other territories that made up the empire.
M any modern apologists for British colonial rule in India no longer contest the basic facts of imperial exploitation and plunder, rapacity and loot, which are too deeply documented to be challengeable. In particular, political unity and democracy, the rule of law, railways, English education, even tea and cricket? Unfortunately for this argument, throughout the history of the subcontinent, there has existed an impulsion for unity. Had the British not completed the job, there is little doubt that some Indian ruler, emulating his forerunners, would have done so. In the years after , the British astutely fomented cleavages among the Indian princes, and steadily consolidated their dominion through a policy of divide and rule.
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NA has also made changes following complaints about other aspects of the empire. - Private army: the East India Company had , soldiers at the start of the 19th century. Chronicling the evils of British imperialism is imperative given the impact and legacy of that imperialism, and given the dishonest and selective nostalgia about it, not to mention downright ignorance.
What he may not have realised then is that he had managed to provide not just very succinct and persuasive arguments against the empire but also quantify the scale of its ills. The speech, thus, evolved into Inglorious Empire , in which Tharoor dissects most of the arguments made by apologists for the empire with hard facts and deft writing. The East India Company was created in to cash in on trading with India, which at the time accounted for more than a quarter of all the trade in the world. It soon realised, however, that its ambitions would be better served with a permanent presence in the country, and from then on the trade took off. In some or so years, through a series of conquests and some clever politicking, the company created a rival empire on the subcontinent among the already warring ones such as the Maratha, Mughal, and Awadh regimes. Today, the argument goes that, had it not been for the British, those rival factions would not have coalesced into a single entity. This argument stands on two pillars.