SHARJAH: Great Britain became prosperous primarily by impoverishing India. The rise of Britain for 200 years was financed by its depredations in India, claimed eminent Indian writer-politician Dr Shashi Tharoor, while releasing his latest book “An Era of Darkness: The British Empire in India” at the Sharjah International Book Fair, late on Nov.5.
The book, released in India on Friday by Vice-President Hamid Ansari, has made claims, which have already started creating ripples in political circles. However, Tharoor said that he has substantiated his claims with facts.
“At the beginning of the 18th century, India’s share of the world economy was 23 per cent, as large as all of Europe put together. By the time the British departed India, it had dropped to just 3 per cent.
“The reason was simple: India was governed for the benefit of Britain. Britain’s rise for 200 years was financed by its depredations in India,” he said.
The book was released by Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) Chairman Ahmed Al Ameri, who also released the Malayalam version of Shashi Tharoor’s another successful book ‘India Shastra.’
“An Era of Darkness: The British Empire in India” is an interesting and engaging account of a period whose shadow on modern India remains disturbingly relevant. The book recalls in some detail the misdeeds of the British in looting India and making it suffer an agonising and violent death. The book also highlights that British rule in India was effectively and regularly supplemented by famine, forced migration and brutality.
“There is and has been a sort of deliberate historical amnesia in Britain about the Raj and about the iniquities of the colonial era.
“There has been no attempt whatsoever to teach British schoolchildren the realities of colonialism. After all, the beauties of London were built by resources extracted from the colonies,” he said.