Saturday, September 29, 2007


Last night I watched the final part of Michael Wood's fascinating 10,000 year history of India. I have to say that whilst the scenery was breathtaking, I must admit to feeling a little disappointed with Michael Wood's account of the British Raj.

I have the utmost respect for Wood as a historian, but yet again, we had another English academic doing down British achievments in India. The Raj was skimmed over whilst the acts of revenge by the British during the Indian Mutiny were highlighted whilst the massacre of European men, women and children at places like Cawnpore did not even receive a mention.

I accept that in our politically correct world we should respect every man no matter what the colour of his skin is, or respect whatever religion he practices. However, let's hear British history how it was. How will it ever be possible for future generations to learn from history if "new age" historians keep rewriting and sanitising it like an American movie so as not to cause offence to the peoples of our once colonial possessions? The best illustration of this was during the recent anniversary of the famous Battle of Trafalgar. A re-enactment was staged but instead of the battle being fought between the British and the French, it was fought between the Red and the Blue, so as not to cause offence to the French. How ridiculous!

The British Empire was not perfect, but neither was it the evil that our modern historians claim it was. I live in hope that one day we will be able to enjoy a retelling of the British Raj on TV that will highlight the good and the bad aspects of what our ancestors lived and fought to build and then maintained for so long.

Paul Rowland.
The Indiaman Magazine.

No comments: