Book Review: ‘Era Of Darkness: British Rule In India’ by Shashi Tharor (ISBN 9789383064656)

An Era Of Darkness: The British Empire in India, published by the Aleph Book Company in 2016, is an explosive and ground breaking examination of the effects of British rule in India, and its ongoing repercussions for modern India. Its author, Shashi Tharoor, is a politician and former diplomat as well as a bestselling author of both non-fiction and fiction. The book was inspired by a speech he made at the Oxford Union in 2015, which subsequently went viral on YouTube and galvanised conversation around Britain’s debts to its former colonies.



Title – Era Of Darkness: British Rule In India

Author – Shashi Tharor

Price – £10.32

ISBN – 9789383064656

What Is The Book About?

The book sets out a clear and comprehensive argument, exploring British rule’s impact with the aid of extensive statistics and detailed first-hand historical accounts. Tharoor investigates in detail the transformations in India’s society, industry, economy and agriculture caused by British exploitation of local resources, and confronts the common arguments regarding the purported benefits of British rule, such as railways and other infrastructure, democracy and laws. From the establishment of the East India Company during the reign of Elizabeth I to the achievement of Indian independence in 1947 and beyond, Tharoor takes readers through the history of Britain’s presence in India, not shying away from its darker chapters but also offering a hopeful vision for the future, examining the ways in which present-day India is recovering from British rule, reflecting on its many successes as a post-colonial state, and celebrating its unique identity and position in the modern world.

Who Is ‘An Era Of Darkness’ Written For?

An Era of Darkness will appeal to anyone with an interest in Indian history, British colonial history, or the consequences of colonialism in general. Its straightforward, compelling style makes it accessible for more general readers with a passing interest in the subject matter, while still being an important read for those with more in-depth existing knowledge. The granular detail and extensive use of evidence and statistics paints a vivid and exhaustive picture of the events discussed.

About Shashi Tharoor

Shashi Tharoor was born in London in the 1950s to Malayali Nair parents. Emigrating with his family to India as a small child, he grew up in Yercaud, Mumbai and Kolkata, then studied history at St Stephen’s College, Delhi. After a distinguished diplomatic career, including a nomination for Secretary-General of the United Nations, he attained a prominent position in Indian politics, becoming the Member of Parliament for Thiruvananthapuram. Tharoor has also found time for a successful writing career, publishing more than a dozen books, covering both fiction and non-fiction.

Gateway To Indian History

An Era Of Darkness is one of hundreds of Indian history books you can order for your store through Motilal Books. With thousands of unique titles held in stock and many more added each month, you are sure to find narrative history books to suit every interest. Use our online stock checker to view our current availability.

Era of Darkness, Shashi Tharor, 9789383064656, Hb, £15.75

Available from, The Book Depository, The Wordery.

Author Profile: Indian Novelist Chetan Bhagat

Chetan Bhagat is a prolific Indian author and media personality, best known for his English-language novels Five Point Someone, The 3 Mistakes of My Life and 2 States. His novels tend to deal with issues relating to Indian middle-class youth, a topic that has made him a mainstay of mainstream networks and lifestyle columns where he writes as a current affairs pundit and social commentator. Bhagat’s novels are bestsellers in India, having sold well over seven million copies. In 2013, Bhagat branched out into scriptwriting with the award-winning Kai Po Che!; he had completed four movie scripts by 2017. Bhagat has even starred as a judge for the seventh season of the reality dance competition Nach Baliye.

Bollywood For Paper?

Bhagat’s first novel, Five Point Someone (£5.99), was published in 2004 to much commercial success, being later adapted into a hit film, 3 Idiots (2009). Although an instant bestseller, Bhagat’s prose and plot was criticised for its light and pulpish style, being described as “Bollywood in paper” because of its overdramatic and unreal narrative. Bhagat is particularly astute at writing for his target audience of casual readers looking for quick, light books; his novels rarely exceed 280 pages. Nevertheless, each successive novel written by Bhagat has continued to be a best-seller in India, growing his fan base into the millions. His novel Half Girlfriend (2014) (£5.99) was so anticipated that its film rights were sold before it was even published in book form. With seven novels published by Rupa & Co., Bhaghat recently moved over to Amazon Publishing to publish his eighth novel, The Girl in Room 105 (2018), (£6.99) which is currently in the Indian Top Sellers list.

Background & Personal Life

Despite Chetan Bhagat’s literary success, he does not come from an artistic or writing family. Born in Delhi in 1974, Bhagat belongs to a bourgeois Punjabi background; his father was an officer in the army and his mother worked in an agricultural government position. After completing his school studies in the Delhi-based Army Public School, Bhagat undertook a degree in mechanical engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology, later receiving his MBA from the Indian Institute of Management (1997). Despite this mechanical training, Bhagat went on to work for the investment banking company Goldman Sachs in Hong Kong, where he acquired the distinct cosmopolitan outlook that characterises him to this day.

He wrote his first novel while still in Hong Kong, before moving back to Mumbai to focus on a career as a writer, yet still working as an investment banker for Deutsche Bank. Bhagat juggled his two careers until his fourth novel, 2 States (£5.50), was published in 2009, when he quite banking for good. Given his corporate backing, Bhagat has become very popular with aspiring members of Indian’s middle-class, particularly its youth, owing to his broad successes in both the banking and the creative industries. He is frequently invited to deliver speeches for Indian education institutes and continues to write for newspapers like the Times of India, where he frequently garners praise for his motivational outlook.

Find Out More

Novels by Chetan Bhagat can be purchased at attractive wholesale rates through our book ordering service. Contact us to find out more. If you are new to Indian fiction you may also wish to download a free copy of The Independent Bookseller’s Guide To Buying Books From India, which includes a section on popular contemporary Indian novelists.

Special offer: Making Indian Awesome now only £1.00

All Chetan Bhagat’s books are available from, The Book Depository, The Wordery.

Book Review: ‘Plight Of The Stateless Rohingyas’ by Imtiaz Ahmed

Imtiaz Ahmed’s “The Plight of the Stateless Rohingyas: Responses of the State, Society and the International community” is a wide ranging response to one of South East Asia’s most intractable problems. Published in 2010 by Bangladesh’s University Press ltd, the book received a second impression in 2014, as befits one of the foremost works on this difficult topic. In a concise 219 pages, the book manages to cover the history of their situation, both recent and historical, examining its causes and effects, as well as conducting a searching examination of various agency responses and offering some thoughtful conclusions as to what is to be done to resolve this almost impossibly thorny issue, which keeps resurfacing at tremendous human cost.



Title – Plight Of The Stateless Rohingyas

Author – Imtiaz Ahmed

ISBN – 9789845060158

Price – £10.00

A Concise Introduction To A Difficult Subject

The book opens with a concise and clear overview of the reasons behind the Rohingya’s stateless situation, as well as detailing their status as refugees from Myanmar inside Bangladesh. Ahmed is even handed in tone, not proselytising but simply detailing and letting the facts speak for themselves. It is both interesting and instructive to see the explicit links drawn between the traumatic experience of being stateless and the reactions of those who are explicitly of a state.

There are searching questions asked about trauma, about how an entire race can be brutalised, as well as an unflinching look at how state actors respond. Ahmed’s examination of both the Bangladeshi State and the wider Civil Society is unsparing without being hectoring. He deals entirely in sober analysis. He recognises that this is not an issue which can be solved solely by a state, and the responses of the wider international community are detailed, as well as non-state actors. This is a multi-faceted problem, and Ahmed rightly highlights that it requires a multi-faceted solution; no one actor is capable of dealing with a situation this intractable.

Reasons For Optimism?

The book voices optimism however, that a co-operative effort, with government acting in concert with civil society as well as the wider international community may yet yield a fruitful response. This is a densely argued and fine-grained analysis: Ahmed’s command of the complexity of the issue leaves the reader at once informed and better educated.

About Imtiaz Ahmed

Imtiaz Ahmed’s mastery of this topic is a result of his role as Professor of International Relations and, even more pertinently Director of the Centre for Genocide Studies at Dhaka University. A widely respected expert in the field, he is the author of a number of other volumes, including People of Many Rivers: Tales from the Riverbank (UPL: 2015) and The Construction of Diaspora: South Asians living in Japan (UPL: 2000). With a special interest in human rights, his is a voice which demands to be heard, and this magisterial volume should be read by anyone with an interest in the intricate politics and statehood of South Asia.

Plight… is one of the finest examples of political journalism to have come out of India in recent years. This and many hundreds of similar books are available through our book ordering service, giving your readers access to sharp analysis on all the political issues affecting modern South Asia. To find out more about stocking Indian books, please click here for a free copy of our Independent Bookseller’s Guide To Buying Books From India.

9789845060158, Hb, £19.99

Available from, The Book Depository (online), The Wordery.

Book Review: ‘Indian Folktales & Legends’ by P. Nath

First published by our partners Penguin Books India in 1995, Indian Folktales & Legends is a unique collection compiled and edited by Pratibha Nath. It contains a variety of rare Indian folktales from different parts of the country, as well as a number of legends, which draw from ancient books and religious texts like the Ramayana and Mahabharata.




Title – Indian Folktales & Legends

Author – P. Nath

ISBN – 9780140380873

Price – £5.00




The book is considered a work of children’s literature and is divided into two sections, providing a total of 18 folktales, followed by 12 legends. Prior to its publication, many of the folktales contained within Indian Folktales & Legends had fallen out of public consciousness, or knowledge of them was restricted to particular regions of India. As a result, the book brought many of these stories to a wider audience and helped to re-establish them. They remain as fresh today as when first published 23 years ago.

About The Book

Indian Folktales & Legends consists of a series of short folktales and legends, which can be read individually or in sequence. Pratibha Nath introduces each of these with a short introductory paragraph, detailing the background of each tale, setting the scene and explaining which part of the country it originates from.

Examples of stories contained within include The Qazi of Jaunpur, which is about a labourer called Jumman who believes his donkey has been transformed into a judge. Meanwhile, Bhim and Hanuman is a story adapted from the Mahabharata, in which the monkey god Hanuman helps to free Bhim from his ego and teaches him to have respect for the weak.

Who Will Enjoy This Book?

Although Indian Folktales & Legends is aimed at young readers, it may also appeal to adults as a form of light reading, or as a means of succinctly re-telling folktales and legends from across India. It is also a great source of stories for reading to younger children.

The stories ultimately centre around everyday themes, such as honesty, friendship, forgiveness, justice and self-reliance. These universal themes can be useful within schools, book clubs or other settings, in order to teach children important lessons about life and the world around them.

About Pratibha Nath

Pratibha Nath is a freelance journalist and author who specialises in writing children’s literature and non-fiction books about the English language. She was born in Agra in 1931 and is currently based in New Delhi. After graduating Agra University with an M.A. in English, she went on to teach the subject in schools for several years.

Among Nath’s best-known books for children are the Living With Values series, as well as A Treasure of Tales. In addition, she has written books for schools on the topics of creative writing, spelling, vocabulary and written comprehension. Several of her English language works are found in the U.S. Library of Congress in Washington.

Indian Folktales & Legends, 9780140380873, Pb, £7.99 – reduced to £5.00

Available from, The Book Depository, The Wordery (online)

The New Sourav Ganguly Autobiography Book Launch

You know the expression “1.3 billion Indians can’t be wrong”? Or maybe you don’t… Most Brits will agree that it is true of curry and many of cricket too. Cricket is more than India’s national sport. It is an institution, something fundamental to the Indian psyche and view of themselves as a people.

Over recent decades cricket has done a lot to bring Indians of different castes and religions together in support of the national team – and to play alongside each other in thousands of local cricket clubs across the country.




Title – A Century Is Not Enough

Author – Ganguly Sourav

ISBN – 9789386228567

Price – £15.99




A Century Is Not Enough

At Motilal Books we completely understand the Indian obsession with cricket and wholeheartedly share it, although our loyalties are somewhat divided during England-India international matches! We are therefore very excited to see the official book launch for Sourav Ganguly’s new autobiography: A Century is not Enough: My Rollercoaster Ride To Success at the Lords Cricket Ground on Monday, 9th July 2018.

Our MD Ray McLennan will be hosting a book table for Souravs guests and cricket Journalists from around the world.

A Controversial Genius

Still only 45, Sourav Ganguly, known to fans as Dada, is a legend of Indian cricket and a successful captain of the Indian cricket team. Undoubtedly a cricketing genius, Ganguly is also an ambivalent character in the public eye, never far from controversy and scandal. His loyal army of fans are nearly matched by his detractors in the media. The 2015 Biography Cricket, Captaincy & Controversy by Saptarshi Sarkar was revealing and positively received, but left a question mark over the great man’s character and some of the big events in his cricketing career.

In some ways A Century Is Not Enough is Dada’s personal reply to Sarkar’s biography: a racy and intimate account of a life lived at full throttle both on and off the cricket pitch.

Read the book for yourself

Available from,, and can be ordered from all good bookshops.

A Century is not enough- My roller coaster ride to success, Sourav Ganguly, isbn 9789386228567, 260pp, HARDBACK, March 2018, £24.50