A Winter in India: Light Impressions of its Cities, Peoples and Customs, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

A Winter in India

Light Impressions of its Cities, Peoples and Customs, 1st Edition

By Archibald B. Spens

Routledge India

295 pages

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A charming travelogue set in the British Raj, A Winter in India presents a fascinating journey across people, customs, languages, cities, monuments, and landscapes. Spens’ thrilling and amusing anecdotes and multifarious experiences — of the rugged Khyber Pass and its tribes, the military history and the Mutiny of 1857 at Kanpur and Lucknow, religion and rituals at Banaras, the grandeur of the "pink" city Jaipur, the seedy opium dens by night and the "Towers of Silence" by day in Mumbai, to a "remembrance of things past" in Agra and Delhi — map the changing contours of British Raj in India. It also depicts the British engagement with India, and offers insights into its emergence as a modern nation.

The new Introduction by Peter Robb locates Spens’ complex and wide-ranging explorations of the "Orient" in a historical context. It discusses the ambivalent outlook of the British towards the "East" at the turn of the century, illustrating Spens’ mix of prejudice and admiration that also typified British attitudes to India, and helps explain the character and influence of imperial rule.

This book will deeply interest readers of modern Indian history, travel literature, South Asian studies, cultural anthropology, ethnography, as well as the general reader.


‘Interesting and relevant … [A Winter in India] sum[s] up a typical British attitude to empire and to India in the early twentieth century. First, … the products of power … secondly, … "duty" and "progress." Third … genuine incomprehension and incompatibility. Finally, … admiration, fascination and affection.’ — Peter Robb

‘[An] entertaining story.’ — The New York Times, 22 February 1914

Table of Contents

Introduction Peter Robb. List of Illustrations. Preface. Port Said and the Suez Canal. Toussoum. Red Sea. Aden. Umballa. Peshawar and Khyber Pass. Lahore. Amritsar. Simla. Patiala. Agra, Fatehpur Sikri and Sikandra. Cawnpore. Lucknow. Benares. Delhi. Gwalior. Jaipur. Amber. Bombay.

About the Author

Archibald B. Spens served as a Captain in the Royal Army Service Corps, 1915–18, and in the 2nd/18th Essex Regiment in 1920. He was made Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1919. Including A Winter in India, he was the author of five books.

Peter Robb was Research Professor of the History of India and is Professor Emeritus at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS ),University of London.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ARCHITECTURE / Study & Teaching
HISTORY / Asia / India & South Asia
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General