Tharoor’s new book details how Britain ruined India.
In 1867, Dadabhai Naoroji put forward the theory of the drain of wealth that explained how the British Empire looted India over 200 years. Now, Indian parliamentarian and former diplomat Shashi Tharoor has come out with a book explaining how the British ruined India.
The book titled ‘An Era of Darkness: The British Empire in India’ discusses in detail the ways in which the British destroyed India along with historical evidence supporting the arguments.
According to Tharoor, it would be just and equitable for a British prime minister to apologize for the wrongdoings of their forefathers as a viable reparation formula would not be possible as the loss suffered by India could not be ascertained justifiably.
“You cannot quantify the wrongs done. What is far more important than financial reparation would be an apology. People who are not responsible today for the wrongs done by their forbearers in the past era apologize nonetheless to people who are not the ones to whom wrong was done. But it is in a sense an entire society apologizing to entire people,” Tharoor told PTI in an interview.
Tharoor cites two examples of Willy Brandt, who apologized for the crimes of the Nazi though he was not connected to it in any way and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau apologizing for the Komagata Maru incident.
“These two apologies offer a model for a future British Prime Minister on the centenary of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre to come to that site, bend his or her knees and beg forgiveness for all sins committed in the past. That I think will wash away in many ways the sense that there are wrongs that have not been acknowledged,” said Tharoor.
The Jallianwala Bagh took place on April 13, 1919 when a crowd of nonviolent protesters, along with Baisakhi pilgrims, who had gathered in Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar, Punjab, were fired upon by troops of the British Indian Army under the command of Colonel Reginald Dyer. The civilians had assembled to participate in the annual Baisakhi celebrations—both a religious and cultural festival for the Punjabis.
“Whoever the PM is on the centenary of that awful crime will not have been alive when the atrocity was committed, and certainly no British government of 2019 bears a shred of responsibility for that tragedy, but as a symbol of the nation that once allowed it to happen, the PM could atone for the past sins of his or her nation,” Tharoor said.
In an interview with The Times of India, Tharoor said that he wanted to challenge the history of the British Empire written by the likes of Niall Ferguson and Lawrence James, who have painted colonialism in rosy colors.
Last year, Tharoor had spoken at Oxford on the proposition ‘Britain Owes Reparations to Her Former Colonies’ and the speech went viral. Many, including his fans and critics, had appreciated him alike for the speech. His new book is published by Aleph.