Steamboats On The Ganges
Henry T Bernstein
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Territorial Rights
Orient BlackSwan
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Current events and contemporary problems in Indian society are stimulating interest in every phase of India’s history. In the process the trend among scholars and students has shifted from a mere chronology of events—dynasties, invasions, the lives of the rulers and organization of administrative units. History of India’s pre-modern science and technical personnel, the emergence of technical personnel, scientific and technical institutions and the human consequences of modernization are increasingly coming under serious scholastic attention. Seafaring and warfaring were the two needs which induced percolation of modern techniques from the eighteenth century Britain to India, and the areas of application of technology expanded to other spheres of life in subsequent years. Hence a sketch of Ganges navigation in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries gives some evidence on how modernization in India began. Without making any qualitative judgement on the nature of the process, the author describes lucidly why the need was felt for more efficient technology in river travel, who were the participants, what problems they faced in their respective fields of work and lastly, what was the outcome. Steamboats on the Ganges brings out the popular participation in the history of India’s modernization.

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