What did the British do in India? Amartya Sen explains

The legacy of the British Empire lives on in passion. For some the British in India were a noble species who brought justice enlightenment and technology, A bit like those oddly benign aliens who popped up in the old Star Trek TV series, advertising their superiority and admonishing earthmen and others to mend their ways. For many Indians they were invaders, devoted to plunder, rapine and oppression-think Clingons if Star Trek is your thing.

The truth, like all truths, is subtle, complex and requires a very great deal of thought. But Amartya Sen, writing for the Guardian, makes a very fair stab at it. Rather than balancing the feel good sensibilities of the warring parties he goes for facts, salient ones, and some are interesting indeed. That before the British there was no country called India is hard to dispute. Yet the example of what Japan achieved without white rulers is a telling counterfactual for the Indian narrative.

Seventy-four years after India achieved its freedom, does any of this matter? In England, yes. Memories of a time when white Brits were effortlessly above darker types resonate strongly in the crowded housing estates and contested streets of the former power. They inform decisions on so much-constitutionally, electorally and culturally. And racism is never a one way street.

Whatever India is now and may become-and that could be much- it cannot forget one long ago but vital aspect of its being. History is a sort of by product, thrown out by nations as they move along. In the hands of authors like Sen, it is intelligent, fair and just.

Illusions of empire: Amartya Sen on what British rule really did for India | India | The Guardian

#raj #india #britain #britishempire #woke

One thought on “What did the British do in India? Amartya Sen explains

Leave a Reply to Martin Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s