ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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An Indigo Story

Indigo Plantations and Science in Colonial India by Prakash Kumar (New Delhi: Cambridge University Press), 2013; pp 334, Rs 995.

An intriguing and detailed story awaits the reader in Prakash Kumar’s Indigo Plantations and Science in Colonial India. As a narrative, the major thread to follow is that the production of indigo, Indigoferum tinctorium (today Indigofera tinctoria), in colonial Bengal (the predominant locus of discussion) is not to be considered as either derived solely from earlier practices in the country, be they from the west, north or south of the country, or as an experimental transplant from the West Indies, but as the result of complex interactions between colonial policies (including imitation with inflection among European potentates) and local practice.

Quoting from Blair Kling’s The Blue Mutiny: The Indigo Disturbances in Bengal (1966), he places the point in relief,

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