Dr Zareer Masani has an Oxford D.Phil. in Modern History (with a thesis on Indian nationalism) and is the author of three very successful books on India: Indira Gandhi: A Biography; Indian Tales of the Raj; and From Raj to Rajiv: 40 Years of Indian Independence (with Mark Tully). He is the son of the late politician Minoo Masani and grandson of eminent historian and educationist, Sir Rustom Masani. His family memoir, And All Is Said: Memoir of A Home Divided, was published earlier this year to wide critical acclaim.
Thomas Macaulay is most famous for having introduced the English language as a medium for learning in India, creating a class of westernized Indians who are sometimes derisively referred to as 'Macaulay's children'. Was this an act of cultural imperialism or a modernizing move far before its time?
Macaulay has always inspired both admiration and hostility in India. Ever since he served on the Supreme Council of India in the 1830s, his thinking and policies have had a profound, transformative impact on the subcontinent. Today, some Dalit activists even celebrate him as their liberator from caste tyranny.
Macaulay is the first biography of this vastly influential figure for the general reader, giving a vivid sense of a brilliant, eccentric, contradictory man and his complex times. In a portrait that is as elegant as it is intriguing, Zareer Masani traces Macaulay's fascinating journey from child prodigy, historian and parliamentary orator in London to imperial administrator in India, and then a revered elder statesman back in Britain. The reader is allowed a glimpse into what it felt like to be at the centre of power in a global empire, ruling over hundreds of millions of Indian subjects and shaping the destiny of a subcontinent.