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Shashi Tharoor’s ‘Era of Darkness’ is an emotive argument against Imperialism

It is a fantastic reference book which has jumbled all quotable quotes for critical analysis of British Imperialism in India at one place. Naïve reader would be elated with the emotion this book can potentially generate but will later be lost in din of want of more knowledge and references.

Tharoor has included criticism of fictional work by Rudyard Kipling, EM Forster and our own Nirad C Chaudhary to show that how there was a conscious effort to froth up romanticism about British imperialism in order to somehow justify it.

What imperialism has done to India is that it has introduced ‘Equality’ as a basis of social interaction in a society which is fiercely hierarchical, which was otherwise would not have been possible.

But this has come on great cost of both in terms of men and money.

British Imperialism was never possible without Indian connivance. This has been story of India since eleventh century, but muslim hoards which came to India did not left with any home to go back. Only thing different with British were that they never thought to stay in India permanently, thus the ‘drain’.

In height of Mughal era, Indians were ruling silk route and enjoying life to the fullest. The design of flower Shekhawati traders decorated their havelis with, came from Morocco and countries on silk route. Even in British Era, Indian elite enjoyed life of much higher standard than British in Imperial services. French connection of Indian royalty is one example that flow on influence and things was never one way. So there are hundereds of aspect of ‘Raj’ which cannot be proved consequentially by scholars like Mr Sashi Tharoor and question of plight of India by British can be put to rest. Tales is what we all enjoy and saddest tales arouse more emotions.

‘Raj’ is never just for all. It was never; it never will be. British Imperialism is past, let us build on.

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