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March 02, 2012

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This programme largely stayed on familiar themes, of darkies not being allowed into colonial cricket clubs and Indian coolies building railways in Africa (and then gratefully emigrating to Britain, where they all set up Indian restaurants, or became accountants, doctors etc). The British Empire was important because of its economic aspect. The huge mining operations in Africa, Australia and Canada played a key role (and continue to play a major role) in the world's industrial economies. A programme focusing on these aspects of Empire would have said something really new.

Cecil Rhodes was a Grammar School wannabe pyschopath. Many of the dodgy and secret organisations that exist today have Rhodes at the back of them. Look at the list of prominent Rhodes scholars and spot his fellow pyschopaths. Also the part played by the East India Co whose flag still flies in the Home of the brave and the land of the free. Is a big bully brave? I don't think so but the American way today is an exact copy of the M.O. of the Brit Empire and I don't think that's a coincidence. Old families are old families and they, as now, called the shots. The fact is we were barbaric when masquerading as Gods children. Vanity, power and greed is our heritage regardless of what the suffering of others gave the British or the British gave to the Godless. The truth is very little was put back. Whatever they did it was all window dressing to promote an effective denial of the bestial brits. Having said that it's a bloody good program and Jeremy does a first class job in what is arguably one of the most honest appraisals of the British Empire at work that an organisation like the BBC, not normally given to honesty, have ever allowed

The Empire is the British history and as englishman we should be proud of what those men had done, alot of the things that are about and the way people live is beacuse we introduced this into the way of life. If you like it or not the Empire was a very very very good thing that happened, yes we did it in a bad way but we recogsied this and tried to put things right. To this day proberly 80% of what the way people live, the sports, the education and many other things came from the British. We as a Nation was a great one and it is a shame that today we put what used to be the Great in Great Britain now means nothing and this counrty is now going down hill.

As a Sri Lankan living in Britain, I felt that the series failed to mention many of the British Empire's positive contributions. The introduction of democracy in the colonies was not mentioned at all. The first elections took place in India and Sri Lanka about 100 years ago and both countries have had regular national elections since the 1930s.The democratic credentials of countries in the Commonwealth are significantly better than those outside. Rule of Law was mentioned in passing but the introduction of an independent judiciary and equality under law were not. A missionary school in Kenya was shown but the viewers were not told that Colonial governments founded hundreds of universities and colleges and tens of thousands of schools. There was also no mention of the thousands of hospitals and dispensaries established by the British. The British irrigated millions of acres of land and the introduction of new crops such as tea and rubber continue to be an asset to former colonies.The provision of postal and telegraphic services, modern banking and detailed maps should also be noted. Tens of thousands of miles of railways and roads were constructed which transformed the lives of ordinary people.

The first systematic and academic study in the modern age of much of Eastern cultures was initiated by the British following the founding of the Royal Asiatic Society and departments of Oriental Studies in universities in the UK and elsewhere. The contribution the Archaeological Survey of India made to further the understanding of Indian culture and heritage,was immense. About a hundred museums were opened in India and Burma. It is regrettable that these achievements are seldom acknowledged.

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