Inglorious Empire: What the British Did to India
Book review

Sinclair, Ian
Date Written:  2017-08-02
Publisher:  Red Pepper
Year Published:  2017
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX21148

A review of Shashi Tharoor's book "Inglorious Empire", which is a scorching indictment of British rule in India and British imperialism in general.


Excerpt: At the start of the 18th century, India's share of the global economy was 23 percent -- the size of all of Europe combined. By the end of nearly 200 years of British rule, first under the proto-multinational corporation East India Company and then, after 1858, direct governance by the British crown, India’s share had dropped to just over 3 per cent, following the deliberate destruction of thriving local industries by the British.

Indians were effectively barred from senior positions in the civil service, meaning there were more statues of Queen Victoria in India than there were Indians in the higher echelons of the government administration. Given that 'the British had no intention of imparting democracy to Indians', Tharoor argues, 'it is a bit rich' for the British to try to take credit for the fact that India is now the world's largest democracy.

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