About the Book
From the early 19th century when the East India Company began to consolidate its rule, the princes were often seen as one of the most useful allies of the empire. Later, after the enactment of the Act of 1935, conservative opinion in Great Britain saw them as an instrument for thwarting the federation proposals and thereby maintaining British power at the centre.
India and its Native Princes (L'Inde des Rajahs: Voyage Dans I'nde Centrale, 1875) is an exquisitely detailed study replete with stories and vivid descriptions of persons, events, and places. It carries photographs of palaces, forts, religious places, and animals, and of the tribal people. A picture of the three Gonds is stunning. Sadly, some of the monuments imaged and represented in this book no longer exist.
As a travelogue, India and its Native Princes is instructive, meticulously researched and written fluently. Its size would hardly deter the reader from reading the book cover to cover.
Originally published by Bickers & Son, in 1882 the book covers Central India, a neglected region in British India, and the Bombay and Bengal Presidencies. Princely India is exhaustively covered=Cwalior, Bhopal and Hyderabad. As Lieut.-Col: Buckle, the editor of this English edition wrote in 1882: "He makes his reader acquainted with the heroic traditions as well as the daily lives of the representatives of those ancient Rajput houses at the present day."
It took LouisTheophille Marie Rousslet (1845-1929), the celebrated author of this book, nearly six years to complete researching on the book. He estabilished his reputation with it, though his fame also rests on his being a first rate photographer and pioneer of the darkroom. His photographs now command high prices. His other book L'Inde: Phorographics de Lous Rousseler 18651868 (Museee Goupil-Bordeaux (1992) is widely acclaimed.
India, at the present day, is a subject so closely interesting to this country, that the title of this work is, in itself, almost sufficient to introduce it, and ensure its welcome.
M. Rousselet, the accomplished French author, has done good service to our own countrymen and women. Although nearly every family sends out a relation or friend to spend some of the best years of life in that vast region, still it cannot be said that any considerable knowledge of those lands is at all widely diffused. Few European travellers have sufficient leisure for prolonged investigation; the opportunities of official residents are usually greatly curtailed by the pressure of business, and a great deal of Indian travel is for the most part performed as quickly as possible at the call of duty.
The French author has presented to the reader the connected result of a six years' study of the architectural monuments, religious beliefs and symbols dating back to the earliest history, works of art, systems of civilisation, and progress, in an easy style calculated to fix the attention of the lightest as well as of the more serious reader. The circumstance of the traveller having but very slight national connection with the country explored, is of itself an advantage, as he brings a fresh mind and independent ideas to bear upon his subject, free from any pre-conceived bias or prejudice. He describes his impressions exactly as he experienced them, and one cannot wonder that his prevailing sentiment was one of enthusiastic admiration of what he saw.
The title of the work indicates the chief object of the author. He was comparatively indifferent to the India of railways, hotels, and telegraphs. He was bent on visiting the courts and countries ruled by native princes, great and small, of all ranks and all creeds, and to see for himself what are the modes of life and conditions of civilisation among the stately chieftains of native India. With this view he visited the kingdoms of the principal Mahratta and Mahometan sovereigns Scindia, Holkar, the Guicowar, the late Queen of Bhopal, and of the Nizam, and has graphically recorded his experiences, while some of his most vivid descriptions are devoted to the romantic history and achievements of the ancestors of the Rajahs of Central India. He makes his reader acquainted with the heroic traditions as well as the daily lives of the representatives of those ancient Rajpoot houses at the present day.
Those who are already familiar with the subjects of this work will find pleasure in recalling to memory the scenes and objects so well described, while the reader who has no personal acquaintance with a country as yet scarcely touched by railways or even metalled roads, may, by the aid of a multitude of excellent illustrations, accompany the lively French traveller in imagination on his Indian journey. The engravings speak for themselves, and will probably give a better idea of what there is to see in the Native States of India than has ever been given before. The descriptions of court life and scenes at Baroda will have special interest at the present time: these will probably, in their reality, never be seen gain.
This work deals with many subjects, many people of totally different creeds and habits, as well as with the condition of the country past and present; but there is not a word in it that could offend, and it is recommended with confidence to the Indian as well as the English reader.
The Inhabitants of Bombay
Excursions in the Bombay Harbour
The Konkan and the Ghauts
The Western Deccan
The Northern Konkan
The King’s Pleasures-The Environs of Baroda
The Country of the Bheels
The Court of the Maharana of Oudeypoor
Festivities at Oudeypoor
The Province of Ajmere
Poshkur and Kishengurh
Ambir and Lake Sambir
Jeypore to Ulwur
From Ulwrur to Agra
The Imperial Durbar at Agra
The Kingdom of Bhurtpore
The Ruins of fattehpore
The State of Dholepore
The Court of Scindia
State of Duttiah
The Provision of Jhansi
State of Chutterpore
State of Punnah
From Punnah to Rewah
The Valley of the Tons
Goundwana-Province of Dumoh and Saugor
The Valley of Bhilsa
From Sanchi to Bhopal
The Court of Bhopal
The Court of the Begum
From Agra to Delhi
My Plain of Delhi
The Punjab and the Himalayas
The Land of Aoudh
From Cawnpore to Benares
Vocabulary of Indian Terms
Your email address will not be published *
Send as free online greeting card
Email a Friend