On the Grand Trunk Road: A Journey into South Asia by Steve Coll

By Steve Coll

Bestselling writer Steve Coll is likely one of the preeminent newshounds of the twenty-first century. His final books, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Ghost Wars and New York Times bestseller The Bin Ladens, were praised for his or her artistic perception and complicated but compelling narratives-and have placed him on par with reporters corresponding to the mythical Bob Woodward. Now, for the 1st time ever, the paperback variation of On the Grand Trunk Road is ultimately to be had, revised and up-to-date with new fabric. concentrating on Coll's trips in conflict-ridden India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Afghanistan as a bureau leader for The Washington publish, at the Grand Trunk Road finds a little-seen quarter of the realm the place violence, corruption, and greed have had devastating results on South Asians from all walks of existence.

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In this respect the houses provided a network of personal support which maintained the morale as well as the financial well being of the British in India. Most of the agency houses were located in the major presidencies, and conducted much of their business there. These arterial links with rural and town India were crucially important in cementing the empire by sustaining the efficiency and commitment of scattered British communities. , the reasons for much of their behaviour, and the outlook of Palmer himself, it is essential to grasp this powerful sense of personal intimacy and social obligation which pervaded its relationship with clients.

Most Britons were only too eager to emphasise their essential Britishness, their separateness from, and innate superiority to all things Indian. In buildings and lifestyle, the British sought to recreate the most prestigious aspects of Britain. This was seen in the grandiose classical European palaces of the high ranking Company servants and wealthy agency house merchants. It was also evident in their attempts to emulate the 16 The richest East India merchant leisured lifestyle of the British aristocracy, including the acquisition of armies of liveried servants and elegant homes ostentatiously displaying the finest of European culture and taste.

One reason is that Palmer’s reputation as a ‘gentleman’ among merchants, his celebrated charity and humanity in particular, has inspired a response. There has been a reaction against the hagiography of most contemporary assessments of Palmer’s life. These are in themselves intriguing, especially those written at the time of Palmer’s death in 1836. Given the widespread misery which the bankruptcy of Palmer & Co. caused, one might expect Palmer to have vanished into obscurity. 73 A subscription was raised to pay for a bust of Palmer, which still stands in the Calcutta Town Hall.

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