Inglorious Empire arose from a speech given by Dr Shashi Tharoor in May 2015 at the Oxford Union in support of the motion ‘Britain Owes Reparations to Her Former Colonies’, focusing on British exploitation of India. The Union then posted the speech on the web.
In the last couple of decades, there has been a resurgence in studying the history of South Asian urbanism with a wide range of monographs and articles being published.
Jessica Hanser, in her book Mr. Smith Goes to China, tells a tale of 18th-century globalisation involving three international actors–Britain, China and India–through the lives of three British (more precisely, Scottish) merchants. All of them bore the name of George Smith, an extremely common name at the time. And all of them were ‘private traders’” (i.e.