The Queen’s 91st birthday, last Friday, was an opportunity to reflect upon her reign and to replay those famous photos of her returning in 1952 from what was then the Colony and Protectorate of Kenya to ascend the throne. The sun was already setting on Her Majesty’s Empire, and many thought that was no bad thing.
Today, in Britain, the word “empire” always seems to be preceded by the word “evil”, with politically correct media and academia glibly assuming that those large swathes of the map that were once painted pink endured unmitigated political oppression and economic exploitation.
As an Indian historian, I’m bemused by this masochistic glee. With Britain preparing to rebuild trade links with its former empire post-Brexit, does it really need to apologise for its imperial past? Or could it take new pride in what it did to modernise and democratise the world?
This article was originally posted in The Telegraph