By the end of the Napoleonic Wars, after a series of titanic struggles against the French and various local rulers during the eighteenth century, Britain had gained mastery of the subcontinent. This period, and the century and a half that followed, saw two powerful cultures locked in an often bloody battle over political control, land, trade and a way of life.
In The Lion and the Tiger, Denis Judd tells the fascinating story of the British impact upon India, capturing the essence of what the Raj really meant both for the British and their Indian subjects. Judd examines virtually every aspect of this long and controversial relationship, from the first tentative contacts between East and West, the foundation of the East India Company in 1600, the Victorian Raj in all its pomp and splendor, Gandhi's revolutionary tactics to overthrow the Raj and restore India to the Indians, and Lord Mountbatten's "swift surgery of partition" in 1947, creating the independent Commonwealth states of India and Pakistan. Against this epic backdrop, and using many revealing contemporary accounts, Judd explores the consequences of British rule for both rulers and ruled. Were the British intent on development or exploitation? Were they the "civilizing force" they claimed? What were Britain's greatest legaciesdemocracy and the rule of law, or cricket and an efficient railway system?
Vividly written, based on extensive research, with many new and colorful documentary extracts and literary sources to illustrate the story, The Lion and the Tiger provides an engaging account of a key moment in British Imperial history.
This concise, elegantly written history of the British experience in India holds interest for both experts and general readers. Judd has total command of his material, with interesting stories to tell at every turn. His account is filled with quotations and anecdotes that vividly capture the spirit of the times. The early British competition with the French, the Portuguese, and the Dutch is covered without the usual confusion over a series of oddly named wars, and his telling of the rise of the British East India Company and the transition to imperial rule illustrates the ambivalence of the British. Judd objectively covers the emergence of Indian nationalism and the struggle for independence but ultimately withholds judgment on whether this story is a positive or a negative one, whether the British developed India or exploited it. What he is sure of is that it is astonishingly complex and one of the truly great stories of world history.