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Ferdinand Mount: Staffing the Raj, 7 September 2017

Inglorious Empire: What the British Did to India 
by Shashi Tharoor.
Hurst, 295 pp., £20, March 2017, 978 1 84904 808 8
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The Making of India: The Untold Story of British Enterprise 
by Kartar Lalvani.
Bloomsbury, 433 pp., £25, March 2016, 978 1 4729 2482 7
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India Conquered: Britain’s Raj and the Chaos of Empire 
by Jon Wilson.
Simon & Schuster, 564 pp., £12.99, August 2017, 978 1 4711 0126 7
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... Strachey argued that the Raj was bad for Britain and the British. In Inglorious Empire, Shashi Tharoor argues, with equal passion, that it was much worse for India and the Indians. In 1700, when the British were mere traders clinging on to a few coastal toeholds, the Emperor Aurangzeb ruled over a country that accounted for a quarter of the ...

Modi does it again

Tariq Ali, 6 June 2019

... it needs at the very least to get rid of its dynasty. The magic has gone. But are modernisers like Shashi Tharoor and others capable of formulating a different vision for India? At the moment it looks unlikely. Elsewhere regional parties continue to rule the roost. In three Indian states – Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Hyderabad – parties built by popular ...

How to Escape the Curse

Wendy Doniger: The Mahabharata, 8 October 2009

The Mahabharata 
translated by John Smith.
Penguin, 834 pp., £16.99, May 2009, 978 0 14 044681 4
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... and religious questions that it raises are given new, contemporary meanings. In 1989, the diplomat Shashi Tharoor retold the Mahabharata as The Great Indian Novel, in which the heroes are recast as thinly veiled forms of Gandhi, Nehru, Indira Gandhi and others. (The hero Karna, who, in the Sanskrit version, slices off the armour that grows on his body and ...

In the Waiting-Room of History

Amit Chaudhuri: ‘First in Europe, then elsewhere’, 24 June 2004

Provincialising Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference 
by Dipesh Chakrabarty.
Princeton, 320 pp., £42.95, October 2000, 0 691 04908 4
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... made when asked what he thought of Western civilisation: ‘I think it would be a good idea.’ Shashi Tharoor is having a dig at historicism when he says, in The Great Indian Novel, ‘India is not an underdeveloped country. It is a highly developed country in an advanced state of decay.’) Chakrabarty has given us a vocabulary with which to speak of ...

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