An Era of Darkness: The British Empire in India, is a fantastic new book by Dr Shashi Tharoor that outlines the destructive presence of the British in India from the 17th Century until India gained her independence in 1947. It has long been understood that England had brought infrastructure, social reform, democracy and the rule of law to a continent, which in their opinion, was otherwise ravaged by wars, disease, civil distress and famine.
Prior to the publication of this book, Dr Tharoor had provide a fantastic and at times humorous account at the Oxford Union Debate of just how malevolent the British presence was in India upon which, this particular segment went viral over the internet. Subsequent to the debate, Dr Tharoor was inspired to write a detailed account of British rule in India, premised on the fact that many of the current generation of Indians were genuinely unaware Britain’s past atrocities.
Dr Tharoor has successfully provided a clear cut and concise overview on the humble beginnings of the East Indian Company and how through deceit, treachery, bribery and corruption, were able to establish a reign of terror over the regions of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa. The first chapter sets out to provide the reader with an overview of how the wealth was drained from these regions followed by the deindustrialisation and destruction of the ship building, steel and textile industries. Subsequent chapters aim to discuss and effectively refute the notions that British established political unity, democracy and the free press.
In addition, much information is provided on the concept of divide and rule that precipitated into dissention between people of different so called castes, religions and race which continue to haunt the Indian subcontinent to this day. For those seeking to gain a true perspective on the real history of British rule in India will certainly not be disappointed. I have thoroughly enjoyed this book from cover to cover and highly recommend it to those seeking to gain a true perspective on the presence of the British in India and for Indians and people of Indian origin to develop a sense of self respect.