British Empire News
Although India had achieved conventional military superiority over Pakistan several decades ago, the Indian government under PM Narendra Modi has focussed on upgrading the fighting capability of the Indian armed forces over the past few years
The Great British Loot: From the Kohinoor to the Great Star of Africa, jewels and art 'stolen' by the Empire
It is not just the Kohinoor. The colonisers have looted from Africa to Greece. Now voices demanding the return of stolen art and jewels by Britain have grown louder since the death of Queen Elizabeth II
A new idea of India is reflected in the fearless teenagers at the Chess Olympiad in Chennai, the sports heroes at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, and innovative startup entrepreneurs in tech hubs around the country
The return of the two artefacts comes as calls grow in Africa for Western countries to return colonial spoils from their museums and private collections
Spirit of liberty in Afghan people admirable, but rise of Taliban leaves country staring at a dark future
What Afghanistan requires is a Mustafa Kemal who modernised Turkey, or a King Amanullah, who tried to do so in Afghanistan, though he failed
Reading Mrs Dalloway: How Virginia Woolf wrote illness and isolation into the national story of post war Britain
Mrs Dalloway is a text that shows how memory and mourning work to uphold the values of the British Empire. Its attention on how emotions circulate between people allows us to understand how national structures of feeling are created through newspapers and through the orchestration of symbolic identifications.
In decoding the language of cricket, a look into the game's culture, gendered outlook and current lingual challenges
Cricket's greatest linguistic hurdle has come to the fore: the terms ‘batsman’ and ‘man of the match/series’ are now of a piece with terms like chairman, businessman and so on – gendered oddities that need a quick fix.
While there are massive statues of Winston Churchill commemorating his 'historical significance', acknowledgment of the Bengal Famine, let alone any memorialisation of it, has been ostentatiously forgone
Komagata Maru: The voyage that exposed the British Empire for what it was — a glorified profit-seeking operation
Less than two decades after the legendary Battle of Saragarhi, the much-feted soldiers of the British Empire came up against it in the Komagata Maru incident of 1914.
Migrants across eras: Exodus caused by lockdown mirrors untold suffering of indentured labourers from 19th century
Like the migrants who are currently walking back home across states, a century-and-a-half ago, many Indians — indentured labourers all — made similar travels in cattle-like conditions on steamships. Most ended up being cheated and denied a fair shot at life.
Totaram Sanadhya, an Indian in Fiji: A life defined by the indentured labour system and the fight against it
An indentured labourer sent to Fiji, Totaram Sanadhya survived near-starvation and back-breaking work to become a successful sugarcane farmer. He travelled throughout the islands, meeting labourers and listening to their tales of woe. He would go on to write a letter to Mahatma Gandhi, requesting that an English-speaking lawyer be despatched to Fiji to help the Indians get organised
William Dalrymple on writing The Anarchy, his history of the East India Company's conquest of the subcontinent
Through William Dalrymple’s enjoyable history of the East India Company, a study in contrasts emerges: the juxtaposition of the Company’s rise in India with the Mughal empire’s collapse, the personalities of the emperor Shah Alam and Robert Clive, and quite importantly, the perception of the ‘Raj’ in India versus the reality of a corporate, profit-driven enterprise being at the helm.
Jallianwala Bagh: The empire is still seen by some as a huge achievement for a tiny island nation
How the British transformed, subjugated the Punjab through canals — and left it vulnerable to external shocks
History’s rhythmic drumbeats echo loudly in the Indus valley, and in how the British transformed a community-based rural economy (one that was arguably ill-equipped to make that transition) to a market-based economy, and left it vulnerable to external shocks.
Raghu Karnad on winning Windham-Campbell Prize, his book on India's role in WWII, and forgotten histories
According to Karnad, World War II was the largest military engagement that Indians and the Indian states ever participated in. In Indian history, Indians had never fought a war larger than this.
100th anniversary of end of World War-I: Participation of Indian soldiers helped build army's leadership capabilities
Indians of a particular type get prickly about native troops who went to either World War-I or World War-II. The most merciless label has been to call them 'mercenaries.'
100th anniversary of end of World War-I: Memory of Indian soldiers who took part should evoke rage against British Empire
By valorising the sacrifices of Indian soldiers during World War-I, we insult the memories of those who resisted the empire—and exonerate those who sent soldiers to fight.
Queen Victoria, re-examined: In The English Maharani, Miles Taylor looks anew at her legacy, rule in India
Miles Taylor, the author of the The English Maharani, speaks about writing of Queen Victoria as being invested and interested in India and its people
Placing the tragedy that was the Bengal Famine of 1943 into the larger context of World War II, India’s freedom struggle and Winston Churchill’s legacy
Historian Erik Linstrum spoke with us about the importance of Sigmund Freud's ideas and psychoanalysis to the Empire, and how these were applied in India | #FirstCulture