Another Masani Review

Swapan Dasgupta, writing in India Today, also takes on Masani.


In view of the demonology over Macaulay, Zareer Masani's lucid and uncluttered biography of Macaulay-the first since Arthur Bryant's study in 1932-must fall into the category of revisionist history on two counts. First, Masani does not proceed on the assumption that the imperial system was a blot on the history of mankind and that its functionaries were little better than precursors of Hitler's SS. He treats Macaulay as a noble example of a gifted, if somewhat precocious, English Whig who, like many of his contemporaries, saw British rule in India as a mission. Masani has tried to evaluate Macaulay in the context of the value system of the early and mid-19th century, and not through the prism of the early 21st century's political correctness. Secondly, Masani has resisted the macabre temptation of hunting for an economic rationale to every policy initiative of the British Empire. Instead, he has stressed the autonomy of ideas in shaping Macaulay's major contributions to the Raj.

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