I have just finished reading Shashi Tharoor’s masterful Inglorious Empire. It is a harrowing read, and a damning indictment of Britain’s two centuries in India. Churchill is but one of a colourful cast of cruel and conniving civil servants, soldiers and statesman who ruled, oppressed and plundered India (and the empire) in the interests Great Britain.
Many will abhor Tharoor’s condemnation of the wartime leader who led wartime Britain from the depths of dark despond into the “broad, sun, uplands” of peace. But his vision of empire was a white, Christian one with no place for coloured folk except as “subjects”.
“Words, in the end, are all that Churchill admirers can point to. His actions are another matter altogether...Many of us will remember Churchill as a war criminal and an enemy of decency and humanity, a blinkered imperialist untroubled by the oppression of non-white peoples. Ultimately, his great failure — his long darkest hour — was his constant effort to deny us freedom”.