Friday, December 29, 2017

Pg. 99: Queeny Pradhan's "Empire in the Hills"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Empire in the Hills: Simla, Darjeeling, Ootacamund, and Mount Abu, 1820-1920 by Queeny Pradhan.

About the book, from the publisher:
In the early phase of imperial domination, hill stations such as Simla, Darjeeling, Ootacamund, and Mount Abu were developed by the British to reflect a quintessentially European culture and ethos. Serving as recuperation sites for the sick and wounded, these hill spaces provided respite from the harsh climate of the plains. Adorned with sprawling bungalows and lush gardens, imposing churches and stately public buildings, the topography of such spaces was refashioned to reflect the multiple visions of this burgeoning empire.

Moving away from the history of the plains, in Empire in the Hills Pradhan lays bare the yet untold narrative of resistance of the hills people against British domination. The book focuses on the three-point agenda of the colonizers: erasing indigenous histories, marginalizing hill inhabitants, and foisting a culture of leisure. In doing so, it also dwells on the ways in which an exercise of benevolent paternalism was carried out to recast the hill communities vis-a-vis their usefulness to the colonial capitalist enterprise. Drawn from a vast repertoire of oral and archival sources, this work probes the linkages between empire, space, and culture as it positions the poignant presence of the locals and puts forth a telling narrative of their world view.
Learn more about Empire in the Hills at the Oxford University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Empire in the Hills.

--Marshal Zeringue