Friday, January 18, 2013

Niall Ferguson and India

If people want to learn about India from Niall Ferguson, perhaps criticisms like this one should be kept in mind as well. ("Niall Ferguson's ignorant defence of British rule in India : Oddly for a historian, Ferguson doesn't appear to have taken much notice of history", by Paul Cotterill, in the New Statesman, August 16, 2012.)

Or this. (The truth? Our empire killed millions. I've been told I should 'check my facts'. I have. Many times. And the truth is still there", by Johann Hari, The Independent, June 19, 2006.) The commentary on this latter piece by Eric Zuesse reads:
On 19 June 2006, a lengthy commentary by Johann Hari appeared in Britain's Independent, headlined "The Truth? Our Empire Killed Millions. A Reply to Niall Ferguson." Ferguson was at the time a Cambridge University educated professor teaching at (simultaneously) Harvard, Oxford, and Stanford, and the world's leading apologist for both the British and the American empires. Columnist Hari ripped his work to shreds, specifically citing Ferguson's benign portrayal of Britain's treatment of India during the 1800's. "When I criticised Ferguson for dedicating almost as much space in his revisionist history of Empire to the slaughter of 29 million people as he gives to a description of a statue of the Prince of Wales, ... he responded primarily with personal abuse."
Or this. (Warning: I greatly dislike Pankaj Mishra.) London Review of Books, Vol 33 No 21, November 3, 2011.  Per the NY Times,  Mishra's "blistering takedown of the historian Niall Ferguson in The London Review last November prompted extensive coverage in the British news media — and threats of a libel suit from Mr. Ferguson."