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Long before Calcutta was ‘discovered’ by Job Charnock, it thrived by the Hugli since times immemorial. This book, and its companion Colonial Calcutta, is a biographical account of the when, the how and the what of a global city and its emergence under colonial rule in the 1800s. Ranjit Sen traces the story of how three clustered villages became the hub of the British Empire and a centre of colonial imagination. He examines the historical and geopolitical factors that were significant in securing its prominence, and its subsequent urbanization which was a colonial experience without an antecedent. Further, it sheds light on Calcutta’s early search for identity — how it superseded interior towns and flourished as the seat of power for its hinterland; developed its early institutions, while its municipal administration slowly burgeoned. A sharp analysis of the colonial enterprise, this volume lays bare the underbelly of the British Raj. It will be of great interest to scholars and researchers of modern history, South Asian history, urban studies, British Studies and area studies.
From time immemorial the Bengal Delta had been an important maritime des- nation for traders from all parts of the world. The actual location of the port of call varied from time to time in line with the natural hydrographic changes. From the early decades of the second millennium AD, traders from the European con- nent also joined the traders from the Arab countries, who had been the Forerunners in maritime trading with India. Daring traders and fortune seekers from Denmark, Holland, Belgium and England arrived at different ports of call along the Hooghly river. The river had been, in the meantime, losing its pre-eminence as the main outlet channel of the sacred Ganga into the Bay of Bengal, owing to a shift of ?ow towards east near Rajmahal into the Padma, which had been so long, carried very small part of the large volume of ?ow. On a cloudy afternoon on August 24, 1690 the British seafarer Job Charnock rested his oars at Kolkata and started a new chapter in the life of a sleepy village, bordering the Sunderbans which was ‘a tangled region of estuaries, rivers and water courses, enclosing a vast number of islands of various shapes and sizes. ’ and infested with a large variety of wild animals. In the language of the British Nobel Laureate (1907) Rudyard Kipling (1865–1936). ???? ???? Thus the midday halt of Charnock grew a city.
Written by experts, this comprehensive travel guide to India contains updated ideas on where to go, suggested itineries and highlights, both on and off the beaten track. The book provides background information on culture, religion, history, art, architecture, wildlife, music and dance. Practical information is included on accommodation, shopping and eating out, as well as hints on climate, the best time to visit and how to stay healthy. Fully indexed colour maps are designed for planning and travelling.

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