12 April, 2021

“British PM Should Beg Forgiveness At Jallianwala”

Shashi Tharoor on his new book and why he thinks the British owe India an apology

Photograph by Jitender Gupta
“British PM Should Beg Forgiveness At Jallianwala”

Shashi Tharoor’s speech at the Oxford Union about a year ago, where he dema­nded reparations from Britain for all the loot and atrocities they committed in India during their rule, went viral on the internet. It set off heated debates and renewed the demand to at least get the Kohinoor back. Now his new book, An Era of Darkness, goes full pelt to explain why the British owe India an apology. Tharoor spoke to Satish Padmanabhan at his elegant study in his Delhi residence. Excerpts from the interview.

What you demand in the book is a moral reparation from the British, not so much monetary. But if you were to put a figure to all that they looted from India, how they crippled the economy, as you argue in the book, what range would it be in?

Well, I don’t think you can put a figure. I have only seen one piece by the journalist Minhaz Merchant who did an elaborate piece in response to my speech quantifying the reparation due to $ 3 trillion which is more than I think the GDP of Britain...

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