Sathnam Sanghera: How Imperialism Shapes Modern Britain
When we studied history at school, how much of the curriculum was devoted to learning about the British Empire? In Cambridge-educated journalist Sathnam Sanghera’s case, very little. Having grown up as part of the Sikh community in Wolverhampton, he learned almost nothing about an aspect of his country’s history which, he argues, has had a powerful impact on attitudes today. Empireland is Sanghera’s response – a book which seeks to face up to Britain’s history.
What he discovers is ‘a toxic mixture of nostalgia and amnesia’ which underpins an attitude of exceptionalism, a distrust of experts and a blindness to its enduring racism. Perhaps the most complex discovery for Sanghera was the extent to which some colonised people (Sikhs among them) collaborated with their colonisers.
Today, Sanghera explores how Britain’s educational, social and political systems could better reflect the realities of its imperialist past.