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
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.