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How the Raj changed India: Another Look

Dr. Tirthankar Roy


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Date: 16th December, 2014

Venue: Visitors’ Centre, CSMVS Museum, M G Road, Fort, Mumbai 400 001

Timing: 6.00 pm


About the speaker

Dr. Tirthankar Roy is Professor of Economic History, London School of Economics and Political Science. Educated in Santiniketan, and with a doctorate from JNU, he has published extensively on the economic and business history of modern South Asia in leading professional journals including Economic History Review, Journal of Economic History, Business History Review, European Review of Economic History, and Journal of Economic Perspectives. Recent and forthcoming books include Law and Economic Change in Colonial India (with Anand Swamy, University of Chicago Press); The Economic History of India 1858-1947 (Oxford University Press, 3d edition, 2012), India in the World Economy from Antiquity to the Present (Cambridge University Press, 2012), and Natural Disasters and Indian History (Oxford University Press, 2d edition, 2014). He is a part-time musician and makes frequent concert appearances in London.


Synopsis of the talk

In popular history, the British Empire in South Asia - the Raj - was a predatory force that ruled India in order to exploit its people and extract its resources. The Raj had serious failings. But as an economic force it embodied a model of rule that cannot be understood as predation. New studies in imperial history bring us closer to an understanding of what that model was, the long-term legacies that it left behind, and why it ultimately broke down. The talk builds on these studies, and suggests how we should rethink the link between modern India and its colonial past.

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