Here are some lines written in the 1930s. From a book called The Outline of the world today . " The British Empire is only three hundred years old, but it has already outrun all the records of history. The Roman Empire never reached one-seventh, the Arab , Mongolian, Spanish and Chinese never more than one-third, even the Empire of the Tsars did not amount to much more than one-half the British Empire, which covers a quarter of the land of the Globe. It is three times greater than Europe, twice as great as South America, a hundred times greater than the United Kingdom..
And it has been growing all the time , most of all since the loss of those plantations now known as the United States . ( You can take this with a pinch of salt, at the time these things were mindlessly repeated, Australia consisted mainly of Kangaroos and Aborigines and it was twice as large as the rest of the possesions - it was included in this hyperbole. Add Canada, probably less than a 100,000 people then , and they could rightfully claim "the sun never set on the Empire". ). From the Book THE OUTLINE OF THE WORLD TODAY (1932)- edited by Sir Harry Johnson, & Dr. L. Haden Guest. Click here to read about the other Empires.
Notice it says that the Empire expanded with great force after the loss of the United States ( plantations!! :) ). The entire credit went to the greatness of the people who constituted the Empire and not to the acquisition of a massive, obedient, unquestioning and awe-struck Labour force known as India, acquired within a period of 75 years, through subterfuge and conspiracy disguised smartly by Elizabethan elegance. The US was lost in 1776 and the gradual encroachment into India had been started in 1757 by Robert Clive. Clive made Machiavelli look like an innocent toddler :). His "victory" largely through subterranean means gave a strong impetus to the pace of acquisition. Most if not all the conquests were catalysed by internal dissensions.
The fear and awe of the Deities called the British was instilled by events like this Durbar ( there were three , 1876,1903, 1911). It persists in our static rules and regulations which were never really functional, and were ( and still are ) a one dimensional facade in any case. The veneer after 1857 was Empire and Government. The soul was always trade, skewed to benefit the colonials. They are retained with great fervour since they benefit the collecting classes immeasurably.
And yes the Empire went like a punctured balloon after Indian freedom (1947). Last year (2003) a well read media fed Engineering college student wanted to know what was Great Britain. He was aware of Britain but "Great Britain" he was not so sure. "Great" of course in the mind of an older generation stood for the vastness of the Empire. The "Sun never set" remember - no one does! :). The shift of the capital to Delhi was actually a non-verbal declaration that they had finally conquered India. Calcutta was merely base camp for the final assault.
This is what the plaque on the Obelisk has to say . The same banal wording associated with events related to what was ( and is ) called Royalty. However it is fascinating in what it omits. It makes an event out of a non-event and omits mentioning those of immense significance to our homeland. The shift of the Capital.
|HERE ON THE 12TH OF DECEMBER 1911 HIS IMPERIAL MAJESTY KING GEORGE V EMPEROR OF INDIA ACCOMPANIED BY THE QVEEN EMPRESS IN SOLEMN DVRBAR ANNOVNCED IN PERSON TO THE GOVERNORS PRINCES & PEOPLES OF INDIA HIS CORONATION CELEBRATED IN ENGLAND THE 22ND OF JVNE 1911, AND RECEIVED FROM THEM , THEIR OFFICIAL HOMAGE AND ALLEGIANCE.|