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This book demonstrates how India was subjected to a series of warfare, man-made famines, racial conflicts, mismanagement, the expulsion of its people to faraway places, and unparalleled economic corruption under British colonialism

By- Khushi Bisht

"An Era of Darkness: The British Empire In India," renowned author Shashi Tharoor's book, is a page-turner with outstanding narration and strong arguments. This incendiary book will help to dispel many myths regarding one of Indian history's most contentious eras. Tharoor gathers all of the reasons needed to prove that British colonial rule was a miserable period for Indians and he does so with debating mastery.


This book is an extended version of Tharoor's remarkable speech on the British colonization of India, which he memorably won in an Oxford Union debate. Tharoor demonstrates how terrible British colonization was for India, with insight, meticulous research, and his usual sarcasm.

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Tharoor claims that British control over our nation had no redeeming aspects. Under their rule, India was subjected to massive ignominy and continuous brutality beyond anything it had ever witnessed. In brief, Tharoor asserts that British control in India was an era of darkness.

He discusses how the British plundered India and exacerbated the country's economic position. According to him, India was governed only for the advantage of the British Empire and Britain's development over the past two centuries has been fueled by its plundering of India. He also cited certain data to back up his claim. In his book, he claims that India's share of the global economy was 23 percent when the British arrived and had dropped to around 4 percent by the time they departed. These figures offer us a vivid picture of how horrible things were during British rule.


british colonization of india British Raj (1904 - 1906). Memsahib and her Indian servants.Wikimedia Commons


He describes the deliberate eradication of industries ranging from textile to steel, during the British colonization. He claims that India was the world's major textile manufacturer and exporter and that Britain's industrialization occurred as a result of India's deindustrialization. The British pillaged Indian weavers, imposing taxes on their clothes, and seizing their raw materials. During this time, India transitioned from a world-renowned exporter to an importer.

According to Tharoor, whatever the British accomplished in India was for their own advantage, not the Indians'. For those who claim that British advanced India's technology, Tharoor points out that India was the wealthiest nation in the world at the time, and that it would have been possible to bring in modern technologies if it hadn't been enslaved by the British that demolished the nation's existing industrial sectors and precluded it from developing its own.

Tharoor claims the British left a lot of stuff that wasn't meant for the advantage of Indians, however, when the British departed the Indians turned into something that did. For instance, the British built railways to transport goods from India to England, but once they departed, Indians were free to use the trains mostly for transportation services rather than resource extraction. He then goes on to describe a slew of other British legacies that were put in place primarily to serve the British rather than the Indians.

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This book demonstrates how India was subjected to a series of warfare, man-made famines, racial conflicts, mismanagement, the expulsion of its people to faraway places, and unparalleled economic corruption under British colonialism.

Tharoor's book, on the other hand, is to prove that British rule was intolerably wretched and unacceptable by both historical and contemporary norms. He delivers his arguments with verifiable evidence and unquenchable zeal. Tharoor excellently fills the void by reminding the British that they owe reparations to India and must answer for their actions.


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