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Inglorious Empire: What the British Did to…
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Inglorious Empire: What the British Did to India (edició 2017)

de Shashi Tharoor (Autor)

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223399,617 (4.08)2
Inglorious Empire' tells the real story of the British in India from the arrival of the East India Company to the end of the Raj, revealing how Britain's rise was built upon its plunder of India. In the eighteenth century, India's share of the world economy was as large as Europe's. By 1947, after two centuries of British rule, it had decreased six-fold. Beyond conquest and deception, the Empire blew rebels from cannon, massacred unarmed protesters, entrenched institutionalised racism, and caused millions to die from starvation. British imperialism justified itself as enlightened despotism for the benefit of the governed, but Shashi Tharoor takes on and demolishes this position, demonstrating how every supposed imperial "gift" - from the railways to the rule of law -was designed in Britain's interests alone. He goes on to show how Britain's Industrial Revolution was founded on India's deindustrialisation, and the destruction of its textile industry.… (més)
Membre:a.c.jones1990
Títol:Inglorious Empire: What the British Did to India
Autors:Shashi Tharoor (Autor)
Informació:C Hurst & Co Publishers Ltd (2017), 288 pages
Col·leccions:La teva biblioteca
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Inglorious Empire: What the British Did to India de Shashi Tharoor

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This book is a perfect example of why a debate, however good should not be turned into a book. Dr Tharoor repeated the same thing again and again. In order to add more pages, he has added unnecessary things, like Nirad C. Chaudhuri's attitude and quotes from his book. Nirad C. Chaudhuri is an insignificant figure in the history of India. Another few pages were added by discussing P. G. Wodehouse.
He had to show the revenue of India was very high and he decided to say that during Aurangzeb's time it reached an all-time high. He never said that the money was mostly spent in warfare and not improving the infrastructure of the country. Also, the revenue during the British rule probably did not include the revenues of the semi-autonomous 500 odd kingdoms of various sizes. He again gave the impression that there were no riots before the British came and it is difficult to believe. Hindus were living under Islamic laws for most parts and rioting against Muslims would have had serious consequences. It would have been better to say that the country of the Maurya's, Gupta's and the Chola's lost the fighting spirit, willingness to learn at about 1200AD and hence suffered all sorts of defeats and ruled by various foreign rules.
It is true the British took advantage of the weak nation and got as much as possible from the empire. However, it was only possible because the Indians helped them to do so. Towards the end, he acknowledges the fact that the Indian soldiers joined INA (without naming Subhas Chandra Bose), and then there was unrest in the Navy as well in 1946.
Overall, It is not a good book, I am sorry to say. ( )
  sujitacharyya | Sep 25, 2021 |
This book is a perfect example of why a debate, however good should not be turned into a book. Dr Tharoor repeated the same thing again and again. In order to add more pages, he has added unnecessary things, like Nirad C. Chaudhuri's attitude and quotes from his book. Nirad C. Chaudhuri is an insignificant figure in the history of India. Another few pages were added by discussing P. G. Wodehouse.
He had to show the revenue of India was very high and he decided to say that during Aurangzeb's time it reached an all-time high. He never said that the money was mostly spent in warfare and not improving the infrastructure of the country. Also, the revenue during the British rule probably did not include the revenues of the semi-autonomous 500 odd kingdoms of various sizes. He again gave the impression that there were no riots before the British came and it is difficult to believe. Hindus were living under Islamic laws for most parts and rioting against Muslims would have had serious consequences. It would have been better to say that the country of the Maurya's, Gupta's and the Chola's lost the fighting spirit, willingness to learn at about 1200AD and hence suffered all sorts of defeats and ruled by various foreign rules.
It is true the British took advantage of the weak nation and got as much as possible from the empire. However, it was only possible because the Indians helped them to do so. Towards the end, he acknowledges the fact that the Indian soldiers joined INA (without naming Subhas Chandra Bose), and then there was unrest in the Navy as well in 1946.
Overall, It is not a good book, I am sorry to say. ( )
  sujitac | Dec 23, 2019 |
The Empire Strikes Out

The plight of India under British rule is not as common a body of knowledge as it should be. Worse, the British continue to insist they were not merely benign, but actually enlightened colonizers. Inglorious Empire exposes the rather more harsh truth. In outrage after outrage, Shashi Tharoor explores the social, political and economic facets of 200-350 years of abuse that left India a third world country. When the British arrived, India was enjoying a quarter to a third of world trade. It had an effective and comprehensive education system. Hindus and Muslims worked together. By independence in 1947, it was battlefield basket case. In a 150 year period, British GDP increased 347%, while India’s rose 14%. This is far worse than benign neglect. This is world class looting and pillaging.

By the early 1800s, India had been reduced from a land of “artisans, traders, warriors and merchants, functioning and thriving in complex and commercial networks, into an agrarian society of peasants and moneylenders. Extensive scholarship has shown how the British created the phenomenon of landlessness, turned self-reliant cultivators into tenants, employees and bondsmen, transformed social relations and as a result, undermined agrarian growth and development ... There are no victimless colonial actions. Everything the British did echoes down the ages,” Tharoor says. Not to put too fine a point on it, they chopped off the thumbs of weavers so the British could rule the textile trade and made India an importer instead of the lead exporter.

Tharoor also shows the difference a country can make. France, a monarchy, indoctrinated it colonies in its language and culture, seeking to include them and spread its influence. Britain, a democracy, sought to crush its colonies, destroying their self-sufficiency, extorting their wealth, and keeping the colonists separate from them, out of government, out of business and out of education. The British took a loosely unified country and split it as many ways as possible to keep it subservient. They specified religions and castes, and prevented citizens from crossing faint lines between them. Certain occupations could only be performed by certain castes. Armed forces units were caste-pure. Using Brahmins to translate documents into English, the British allowed that caste to write its own ticket. They promptly promoted themselves into the civil service and built a dominating and domineering status for themselves in Indian society, which they did not have before the British improved things.

The British formula could also be seen in Ireland, where the Irish were kept out of office and business. Divide and Rule was the British modus operandi. It led to absurd situations where Indian divisions were sent to Poland by the British, to defend democracy against the fascist invaders. There is a special place in Hell for Winston Churchill, whose intolerance, racism and apparent hatred of all things Indian was a continuous stab in the back to the whole nation. (One example: during a 1943 famine, he ordered Indian foodstuffs be diverted to British soldiers, already well fed, and to top up stockpiles in eastern Europe, while also turning down offers of aid from the US and Canada for starving Indians.) Rather than elevating India to a functioning democracy, as the British like to claim, they created so many cultural, religious and geographic conflicts and obstacles that India was a time-bomb that went off at independence.

Even as India exported its grain to Britain in the 1800s, 17 million died in famines back home. Compare this to the estimated war dead of five million worldwide during the entire 19th century. (This too was no different than the way the enlightened British treated the Irish.) During Indian famines, it became illegal to lower food prices, illegal to offer charity, and taxes were raised even higher. For relief, the British created workhouses that paid less than the slave labor at Buchenwald. Women sold their children for a single meal. Farmers sold their cattle (from 5 million annually to 115 million), destroying their ability to be self-sufficient. So while there was never a shortage of food in India, Indians couldn’t afford it and died by the millions. Much like the nonsense we hear now, the British claimed the market had to be free to find its own level, with no help of any kind to anyone. Except of course, that Britain stacked the deck on behalf of its businesses, especially the East India Company. Because India was not taken over by the British government; it was taken over by a public company. Members of Parliament and Lords were prominent stockholders, and the government gave the company the right to govern, the soldiers to back it up, and the tariffs to ensure success.

This is the same gang that leveled Indian forests to grow poppies, then went to war to force the Chinese to import the resulting opium and cocaine. Twice. The British government itself ran 7000 cocaine shops in India.

Tharoor tells the story patiently, calmly and almost dispassionately, in classic Indian demeanor. The book is thoroughly documented and recounts the litany of horrors as if it were simple history. But it isn’t of course. As Tharoor himself points out, there are still millions of Indians who lived it, and the country has yet to fully recover and take its former position in the ranks of the greatest. Inglorious Empire puts the British in their place as horrific managers, greedy, prejudiced and bloodthirsty as any in history. And that makes this an important book.

David Wineberg ( )
4 vota DavidWineberg | Mar 21, 2018 |
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Inglorious Empire' tells the real story of the British in India from the arrival of the East India Company to the end of the Raj, revealing how Britain's rise was built upon its plunder of India. In the eighteenth century, India's share of the world economy was as large as Europe's. By 1947, after two centuries of British rule, it had decreased six-fold. Beyond conquest and deception, the Empire blew rebels from cannon, massacred unarmed protesters, entrenched institutionalised racism, and caused millions to die from starvation. British imperialism justified itself as enlightened despotism for the benefit of the governed, but Shashi Tharoor takes on and demolishes this position, demonstrating how every supposed imperial "gift" - from the railways to the rule of law -was designed in Britain's interests alone. He goes on to show how Britain's Industrial Revolution was founded on India's deindustrialisation, and the destruction of its textile industry.

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