Roderick Matthews was born in London in 1956 and still lives there with his wife and two children. He studied Modern History at Balliol College, Oxford and is now a freelance writer specializing in Indian history. He has written articles for the Times of India, and a biography of the British Raj to be published in 2011. In 1914, his great grandfather advised M.K. Gandhi, then staying in London, to return to India for his health, thus inadvertently precipitating the fall of the British Empire.
Roderick Matthews re-examines British rule in India by concentrating on three central themes: its ability to defray the costs of its own maintenance; its impersonal and institutional qualities that gave it continuity and tenacity; and its commitment to a dual higher purpose – the uplift of the condition of the natives and the playing out of the superior moral character of the Englishman. At first, these ‘virtues’ gave the Raj viability, vitality and focus. But over time they also proved to be weaknesses that could not be remedied.
The Flaws in the Jewel shows how the British Raj was never able to overcome, or even properly to acknowledge, its many deficiencies. As a result, British rule developed into an uncomfortable amalgam of imperial economics, military autocracy and unfulfilled liberal aspirations.
Published by: Harper Collins Publishers India