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Charles Allen obituary | Books

Charles Allen, who died of cancer at the age of 80, interviewed the last generation of the British administration in India for the BBC radio series Plain Tales for the Raj in 1974, followed by a salesman. The book came out. While this was his most famous work, his lasting legacy as a historian is in a series of books about the first British settlers in India. William Jones In the late eighteenth century, Calcutta (now Calcutta), whose scholarship unveiled the subcontinent’s past, mapped its rivers for the first time, and explored the common roots of Indian and European languages.

After simple stories, there were similar broadcasts and books on those who ruled in Africa and the Far East. Charles was concerned that these oral history interviews romanticized the imperialist experience, reinforcing “old colonial attitudes in the 1970s and 1980s.” He called it a “rejection” of the history of the British conflict with the subcontinent.


Charles Allen’s best-selling book, The Tale Tale of the Raj, began in 1974 with a BBC radio series.

A Mountain in Tibet (1982) was the first of 25 books on philologists, archaeologists and geographers, known as Orientalism. It became a negative term when Edward Syed wrote a scathing critique in 1978, claiming that the British regarded the East as a place of justice, rule and coincidence as if it were a marital union. “Professor Syed and many of his supporters who have consistently failed to ask is where we would be without Orientalists,” Charles wrote. “They began the recovery of South Asia’s lost past.” In his view, Orientalists also challenged the deeply established Indian caste system, “in order to enable a new and emerging middle class to be freed from the shackles of conservatism.”

Appreciating the local culture and writing about those who unveiled India’s forgotten heritage, 19th-century greats stood up against Thomas Macaulay and James Mill, who believed that India was civilized. You need to be European to be. He wrote several books on Buddhism and on the most important find of European archaeologists in India. It is the site of the Buddha Gaya Complex in Bihar, where the Enlightenment has now taken place on Wednesday.

Charles never hid the dark side of the empire, but wanted to represent it. He had argued with Shashi Tharoor at the Lahore Literary Festival in London three years ago over Tharoor’s book, the Angelius Empire, claiming that the British had impoverished the state of Kerala. Charles argued that the reforms that Tharoor had made were introduced by a British administration in the early nineteenth century that ended corrupt local feudal rule.



In 2004, Charles Allen was awarded the Sir Percy Sykes Gold Medal by the Royal Society for Asian Affairs for his services to South Asian history. Photographer: Colin McPherson / Corbus / Getty Images

He wrote a series of books with the title. This award is used for British men in India. These included Budha and Sahib (2002) and Sepahi Sahaba (2000) about a group of soldiers and organizers known at the time as the Northwest Frontier Area, one of whom was Allen’s relative, John Nicholson. Was Charles conducted the underground research, which was taking place in Taliban-controlled eastern Afghanistan. He toured Mount Kailash in Tibet – it was sacred to Buddhism and Hinduism, and as soon as the British discovered it, a waterway for the subcontinent’s major river systems, as Charles wrote in the Tibetan Mountains.

In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, he wrote The Terrorist of God: The Hidden Roots of the Wahhabi Cult and Modern Jihad (2006), which explores the links between Saudi-led fundamentalism and past Islamic uprisings in the subcontinent today. The locations of the camps in northern Pakistan where Osama bin Laden’s fighters and Kashmiri militants were trained were similar to those of Islamist training camps in the late 19th century.

Born in Kanpur, Charles was the son of Jeffrey Allen, a political officer in Northeast India, and his wife, John (Henry). Charles, a sixth-generation member of his family born in India, first came to England at the age of eight to live with his grandparents, where he read Kepling’s stories in the first edition. His grandfather, Sir George Allen, gave Kapling his first job as an assistant editor of the Civil and Military Gazette in Lahore, and published his first stories. Mr. Kipling (2007) wrote in his autobiography, Charles, after his banishment from a cold English boarding school. “India was the paradise of his childhood, the land of his lost happiness.”

Charles left Kenford School, Dorset, without any qualifications, and his only formal education was 18 months in a college in Perugia, Italy. From there he moved to Nepal as a VSO teacher, beginning a lifelong pursuit of Buddhism. It was in Kathmandu that he met his future wife, Liz Gold, whom he married in 1972. He was an active supporter of the rights of the lower caste Dalits, opposed the injustices seen in his childhood and traveled as an adult.



Charles Allen, Center, three years old in India. He was one of the sixth generation of his family to be born in the country, and first came to Britain at the age of eight.

Charles had a deep sense of shame. The parties on the grass field at Somerset House in Allens resulted in the afterlife games and broke a line of plaster pictures of the pope or the genome of the garden. In one of his last emails, he wrote, “Glad to see the statue of the Bristol slave thrown into the river !!!”

In 2004, Charles was awarded the Sir Percy Sykes Gold Medal by the Royal Society for Asian Affairs for his services to South Asian history. He challenged ignorance and religious traditionalism to the end. At the time of his death, he had completed a book of Aryans, telling the story of the swastika, in which evidence was prepared simultaneously from a number of subjects, including archeology and genetic mapping. The ancient Aryan migration of was proved. Nationalist government in Delhi. It will be published next year.

Charles is followed by Liz and her children, Poppy, George and Louis, and four grandchildren.

Charles Robin Allen, historian, born January 2, 1940. Died August 16, 2020

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