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The most effective whitewash of outright theft into a "civilising mission"
on August 15, 2008
Scandal of Empire is a disturbing book.
Disturbing because it goes back to the earliest times of English presence in India and pieces together events at a level of detail unheard of in Indian history texts (which are mostly written by "eminent historians").
Dirks explains how cleverly England converted an open grab of resources into a civilising mission first in the eyes of its own citizens and then even in the eyes of the citizens of occupied India.
The whitewash was so effective, that India's most recent (and arguably her worst) Prime Minister actually claimed, in Cambridge itself, that india benefited hugely from Colonial occupation (which was estimated to have resulted in the vacuum cleaning of resources and economic value of over 10 trillion dollars in today's monies, not including the cost and pain of lives lost).
Replete with references to actual notes and documents, this is a solid piece of work.
A must read for every Indian.
Scandal gets only 4 stars for Dirks' writing style; his sentences are over-long and his style academic. Readers will have to work to extract his messages.