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Empire in the Hills Simla, Darjeeling, Ootacamund, and Mount Abu, 1820-1920,9780199463558

Empire in the Hills Simla, Darjeeling, Ootacamund, and Mount Abu, 1820-1920

Format: Hardcover
Pub. Date: 12/30/2017
Publisher(s): Oxford University Press
Availability: This title is currently not available.


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.

Author Biography

Queeny Pradhan is a professor of history at the University School of Law and Legal Studies, Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, New Delhi, India. She was awarded the Nehru Memorial Fund Scholarship for doctoral research in 1996 and was a fellow at the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla, from 2010 to 2012.

Table of Contents

List of Table and Figures
Introduction: Re-Imagining Hills-Theorizing Space
1. Hills in the Colonial Imagination
2. The Indigenous Vision
3. Acquiring the Station: Political Dynamics
4. Building the Station: The Early Years
5. Organization of Space: The Imperial Spectacle
6. Reordering the Space: A Colonial Metropolis
7. Hygeia, Disease, Municipal Order: A Paradox in the Dell
8. Social Life in the Hills: Institutionalization of Leisure
9. Reproduction of Imperial Ethics: Novitiate in the Hills
Conclusion: Power Hieroglyphics-Patterns of Growth
Appendix 1: Treaty of 1861 between Ashley Eden and the Maharaja of Sikkim
Appendix 2: Convention between Great Britain and China on Sikkim and Tibet, 1890
Appendix 3: Regulations regarding Trade, Communication, and Pasturage under the Sikkim-Tibet Convention
Appendix 4: A Description of Indian Servants at Simla
Appendix 5: Education as an Ordering Device in Simla
Appendix 6: An Extract from W.B. Jackson's Report on Darjeeling
Appendix 7: First Cornerstone of Christ Church, Simla, 9 September 1844

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