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An Era of Darkness: The British Empire in India

4.28  ·  Rating Details ·  150 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
In 1930, the American historian and philosopher Will Durant wrote that Britain’s ‘conscious and deliberate bleeding of India… [was the] greatest crime in all history’. He was not the only one to denounce the rapacity and cruelty of British rule, and his assessment was not exaggerated. Almost thirty-five million Indians died because of acts of commission and omission by the ...more
Hardcover, 360 pages
Published November 15th 2016 by Aleph Book Company
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Muthu Raj
Dec 22, 2016 Muthu Raj rated it it was amazing
This is a well researched book that covers all the aspects of the argument against British Raj. There are not only nationalistic arguments, but points against social, cultural, moral, technological, political and utilitarian theories that seek to support the British rule.

Shashi tharoor makes no bones about calling out the people who say that British provided us with democracy, and those who say that they were better rulers because of their liberalism. There are some great data and writing that
Dec 05, 2016 Raghu rated it it was amazing
In 1995, I was travelling in Tierra del Fuego where I chanced to meet a middle-aged Canadian in a coffee shop. He too, like me, was travelling in South America and we ended up chatting about colonialism. It was then that he made the following astounding statement: " know, of all the European countries that colonized the world - France, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands and Britain - it was only the English who did so with the aim to modernize and develop those backward nations. The rest wer ...more
Sandeep Raturi
Dec 22, 2016 Sandeep Raturi rated it really liked it
If history interests you, you will simply love this book. If it doesn’t, you may like it even more as the book may spark an interest in you for history. In today’s age of social media, when nationalism and patriotism have become almost synonymous with chest thumping jingoism, this book which has been written with unbridled passion and utmost love for the country but without sacrificing rationality, is a must-read. It presents a harrowing account of the BrUtish raj in India and explains in detail ...more
Harshad Sharma
Dec 13, 2016 Harshad Sharma rated it it was amazing
"We live in the flicker,may it last as long as the old earth keeps rolling! But Darkness was here yesterday." - Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness.

Shashi Tharoor is the literary genius and a giant among Indian writers, I have been a fan of his prose and knowledge for as long as I remember, with prolific works such as India Shastra, Bookless in Baghdad, Pax Indica and fictions like collection of short stories "Five Dollar Smile" and the satirical masterpiece "The Great Indian Novel", Shashi Tharoor
Abhishek Desikan
Dec 12, 2016 Abhishek Desikan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
"The British rule was good for India", is a common argument put forth by apologists for the Raj, both in India and elsewhere. Tharoor, in his latest book, debunks, denounces, debases and ultimately destroys this argument and the various claims to support it.

The grim realities of British colonialism and its effects and consequences are examined in great detail, displaying at every stage, the supremely self-serving nature of the "elite rulers", with little to no regard for their "subjects". The m
Dec 11, 2016 Arvind rated it really liked it
There is a much-touted phrase "Truth lies somewhere in d middle." Does it always ?
I was reading Savarkar's famous book on 1857 mutiny and gave it up after reading 50 pages as it felt one-sided bitter criticism of d British. Surely, Lawrence James, Niall Ferguson couldnt be that wrong. Surely, the British rule had a lot of benefits ?
I too believed in d "middle" 2-3 yrs ago until I read a few stats and Amitav Ghosh's description of Opium farming and trade in India.
Shashi Tharoor, building on his
Nikita Nautiyal
Dec 31, 2016 Nikita Nautiyal rated it it was amazing
Shashi Tharoor's books never disappoint me . His latest 'An era of Darkness' once again proves what a brilliant writer he is !His style of narration makes history so readable and interesting .

Coming to the book now , this book in the first place will clear all your misconceptions on the supposed benefits of the British Raj . Whatever they established be it the railways , press , laws ,educational institutions were to serve their own interest in India .
One of the facts he quotes is how india's
Surabhi Sharma
Dec 24, 2016 Surabhi Sharma rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5-star
The Author, Shashi Tharoor, is an Indian politician and a former diplomat who is currently serving as Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha.

The birth of the book is the speech made by the author at Oxford when author was invited as a speaker at Oxford Union. After praises, criticism, trolling over internet, the speech made its way in the heart of masses. The book is not his written speech; it is differ in many respects. This book is not about British Colonialism as a whole, but simply tells about Indi
Rajendra Dave
Jan 04, 2017 Rajendra Dave rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
The debate on impact and effect of British colonization on India though lively, is an old one. One more book on the topic should hardly make a difference. But difference it definitely makes. That is because this book by Dr. Tharoor seeks to prove that the colonization was bad for India no matter how one looks at it. And he does it in a very systematic manner, covering all aspects. Rather than ignoring arguments to the contrary, the book takes each one of them and demolishes it with facts, figure ...more
Avradeep Sinha
Jan 07, 2017 Avradeep Sinha rated it really liked it
Shashi Tharoor is a very good writer, wish he wrote more books but guess his foray into politics doesn't give him that much time .This book was pretty insightful and well researched as it talks about the pitfalls of British rule in India as to how their policies and actions led to the sufferings of Indians leading to deaths due to famine,brutalities etc and how the economy faired poorly due to their antics which drove India back as a country few decades.True there have been some benefits but tho ...more
Jan 07, 2017 Sankar rated it it was amazing
It is a fascinating read. At the end of the day it is one mans opinion and very likely to be the truth on all fronts that are discussed. My history of India is far too fragile to reaffirm every argument put forward in the book but they are very persuasive and likely to hold their ground. The outcome of the argument is established at the very beginning, quite simply the same way as what was to be the inspiration behind the book - a debate.
I wish my school curriculum had such critical and thought
Nov 30, 2016 Satya rated it it was amazing
The speech turned into a book, Shashi Tharoor in 'An Era of Darkness: The British Empire in India', makes a bold attempt to strike back at the British colonialism in India. While this book aroused intense emotions as I read this book, when I am myself an expatriate in England, Tharoor has done a great deal of effort in his analysis of the iniquitous of the imperialism and the rapaciousness of the Briton's forebears. This book lays bare the colonialism as a tale of slavery, plunder, corruption, l ...more
Navdeep Pundhir
Jan 04, 2017 Navdeep Pundhir rated it it was amazing
This is the book of the decade on India, hands down. Mr Tharoor has come up with the perfect prequel to Guha's magnum opus, India After gandhi. The author painstakingly lay to rest every assumption the colonial apologists have and throw light to the real face of the British Raj- Cruel, barbarian and ruled for the British, by the British.
Read this book to understand our past, for without it we can have no sense of the present!
Saket Suman
Dec 15, 2016 Saket Suman rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Prasad GR
Dec 12, 2016 Prasad GR rated it it was amazing
"...sometimes the best crystal ball is a rear view mirror." Thus ends this brilliant book, exposing the myth weaved by apologists of colonialism. Shashi Tharoor has done an impressive job of making an engrossing thriller out of what could have easily turned into a text book listing events and numbers. Full of quotes and chuckle-worthy ironies, this is a delightful read all the way.
Dec 21, 2016 Sagar rated it it was amazing
This man is slowly but surely attaining Godhood. Brilliant book as he starts from where he left at the Oxford Union. Takes apart Nirad C. Chaudhuri, Niall Ferguson, Lawrence James and their likes while substantiating Will Durant to put forward a case for atonement and historical responsibility of our imperial rulers.
Saurav Sharan
Dec 09, 2016 Saurav Sharan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is probably the best book on modern history of India that I have read. It lays down facts and figures for every argument presented. All the 'Raj' apologists might be running for cover after reading it :) A great work by Shashi Tharoor.
Lakshman Hariharan
Dec 04, 2016 Lakshman Hariharan rated it it was amazing
" looking to understand the forces that have made us and nearly unmade us, and in hoping to recognize possible future sources of conflict in the new millennium, we have to realize that sometimes the best crystal ball is a rear view mirror". -- Shashi Tharoor
Hari D
Dec 29, 2016 Hari D rated it it was amazing
An interesting book that looks into the dynamics of colonialism (in particular the British Raj) and it's consequences, some of which are relevant even today.
Dec 16, 2016 Sunil rated it it was amazing
I love the methodical and rigorous way that ST has gone about obliterating the various 'halos' of the British Raj.
Raghav Singla
Raghav Singla rated it really liked it
Dec 25, 2016
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Nov 25, 2016
vikas kalkal
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Dec 07, 2016
Trudy Dsouza
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Dec 15, 2016
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Nov 19, 2016
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Srijit Mullick rated it it was amazing
Dec 17, 2016
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Shashi Tharoor is a member of the Indian Parliament from the Thiruvananthapuram constituency in Kerala. He previously served as the United Nations Under-Secretary General for Communications and Public Information and as the Indian Minister of State for External Affairs.

He is also a prolific author, columnist, journalist and a human rights advocate.

He has served on the Board of Overseers of the Fle
More about Shashi Tharoor...

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“History, in any case, cannot be reduced to some sort of game of comparing misdeeds in different eras; each period must be judged in itself and for its own successes and transgressions. The” 1 likes
“(The Hindu’s first issue counted a grand total of eighty copies, printed with ‘one rupee and eight annas’ of borrowed money by a group of four law students and two teachers). In” 0 likes
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