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An Era of Darkness: The British Empire in India

In 1930, the American historian and philosopher Will Durant wrote that Britain s conscious and deliberate bleeding of India… [was the] greatest crime in all history . He was not the only one to denounce the rapacity and cruelty of British rule, and his assessment was not exaggerated…

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In 1930, the American historian and thinker Will Durant wrote that Britain s aware and deliberate bleeding of India… [was the] best crime in all historical past . He was not the one one to denounce the rapacity and cruelty of British rule, and his evaluation was not exaggerated. Nearly 35 million Indians died due to acts of fee and omission by the British in famines, epidemics, communal riots and wholesale slaughter just like the reprisal killings after the 1857 Battle of Independence and the Amritsar bloodbath of 1919. In addition to the deaths of Indians, British rule impoverished India in a way that beggars perception. When the East India Firm took management of the nation, within the chaos that ensued after the collapse of the Mughal empire, India’s share of world GDP was 23 per cent. When the British left it was simply above three per cent.

The British empire in India started with the East India Firm, integrated in 1600, by royal constitution of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth I, to commerce in silk, spices and different worthwhile Indian commodities. Inside a century and a half, the Firm had grow to be an influence to reckon with in India. In 1757, beneath the command of Robert Clive, Firm forces defeated the ruling Nawab Siraj-ud-Daula of Bengal at Plassey, by way of a mixture of superior artillery and much more superior chicanery. A couple of years later, the younger and weakened Mughal emperor, Shah Alam II, was browbeaten into issuing an edict that changed his personal income officers with the Firm s representatives. Over the subsequent a number of a long time, the East India Firm, backed by the British authorities, prolonged its management over most of India, ruling with a mixture of extortion, double-dealing, and outright corruption backed by violence and superior drive. This state of affairs continued till 1857, when massive numbers of the Firm s Indian troopers spearheaded the primary main rise up in opposition to colonial rule. After the rebels had been defeated, the British Crown took over energy and dominated the nation ostensibly extra benignly till 1947, when India received independence.

On this explosive e-book, best-selling creator Shashi Tharoor reveals with acuity, impeccable analysis, and trademark wit, simply how disastrous British rule was for India. In addition to inspecting the various methods wherein the colonizers exploited India, he demolishes the arguments of Western and Indian apologists for Empire on the supposed advantages of British rule, together with democracy and political freedom, the rule of legislation, and the railways. The few unarguable advantages of the English language, tea, and cricket had been by no means truly supposed for the advantage of the colonized however launched to serve the pursuits of the colonizers.

Brilliantly narrated and passionately argued, An Period of Darkness will serve to appropriate many misconceptions about one of the crucial contested durations of Indian historical past.

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