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An Era of Darkness: The British Empire in India by Shashi Tharoor - A Review
An Era of Darkness: The British Empire in India is a book by Shashi Tharoor, a member of the Indian Parliament and a former United Nations Under-Secretary General. The book is a scathing critique of the British colonial rule in India, exposing its devastating economic, social, cultural and political impact on the country and its people. The book was first published in 2016 and has received widespread acclaim and controversy for its bold and incisive reassessment of colonialism.
The book traces the history of British imperialism in India from the 18th century to the 20th century, showing how the East India Company, a private trading corporation, gradually gained control over most of India through conquest, deception, extortion and corruption. The book argues that the British rule was not a benevolent or enlightened despotism, as it claimed to be, but a ruthless exploitation of India's resources and human capital for Britain's own interests. The book cites numerous examples of how the British policies and actions caused millions of deaths, famines, epidemics, communal riots, massacres, deindustrialization, impoverishment, racism and cultural erosion in India. The book also challenges some of the common myths and arguments that justify British colonialism, such as the introduction of railways, democracy, rule of law and education in India. The book shows how these supposed gifts were either designed to serve Britain's economic and political agenda or were inadequate and distorted versions of what existed in India before.
The book is based on extensive research and references from various sources, including historical records, official documents, academic studies, personal accounts and contemporary media reports. The book also draws on Tharoor's own experience and expertise as a diplomat, politician, author and historian. The book is written in a clear, engaging and witty style that makes it accessible to a wide range of readers. The book also contains several illustrations, maps, charts and tables that enhance its visual appeal and readability.
An Era of Darkness: The British Empire in India is a must-read for anyone interested in learning about the true nature and legacy of British colonialism in India. It is also a timely and relevant book that raises important questions about the role and responsibility of former colonial powers in today's world. The book is available for free download from various online platforms[^1^] [^2^] [^3^] [^4^].
The book has received praise and criticism from various quarters. Some of the positive reviews have come from eminent historians, scholars, journalists and politicians, who have lauded Tharoor's courage, clarity and eloquence in exposing the dark side of British colonialism. Some of the negative reviews have come from British apologists, conservatives and nationalists, who have accused Tharoor of being biased, selective and sensationalist in his portrayal of British rule. Some of the neutral reviews have acknowledged the merits and flaws of both sides of the debate and have called for a more balanced and nuanced understanding of the complex and contested history of India and Britain.
The book has also sparked a lively and heated discussion on social media, where many people have expressed their opinions and emotions on the topic. Some have supported Tharoor's arguments and shared their own experiences and stories of colonial oppression and injustice. Some have challenged Tharoor's claims and defended Britain's role and contribution in India. Some have suggested that both India and Britain should move on from the past and focus on the present and future. Some have also raised questions about the relevance and implications of the book for the current relations between India and Britain, especially in the context of Brexit, trade, immigration and security.
An Era of Darkness: The British Empire in India is a book that has stirred up a storm of controversy and debate. It is a book that has made many people think, feel and question. It is a book that has opened up new perspectives and possibilities for understanding the past and shaping the future. It is a book that deserves to be read, discussed and reflected upon by anyone who cares about India, Britain and the world. 061ffe29dd