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Empire in the HillsSimla, Darjeeling, Ootacamund, and Mount Abu, 1820-1920$
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Queeny Pradhan

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780199463558

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199463558.001.0001

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Acquiring the Station

Acquiring the Station

Political Dynamics*

(p.62) 3 Acquiring the Station
Empire in the Hills

Queeny Pradhan

Oxford University Press

This chapter questions the notion of hill stations as uninhabited spaces prior to the arrival of the British. The acquisition was not a ‘natural’ takeover—an impression conveyed in the official records to legitimize the British entry. It concentrates on the protracted, and at times tense, treaty negotiations and conflicts in the takeover. Right up to the twentieth century, there are references to the contestations over the demarcation of spaces. All the hill station sites were under different proprietorships, a fact completely sidelined in the colonial descriptions. Additionally, this chapter examines the strategies for inducting local inhabitants into the labour pool. Though labour remains largely invisible in the dominant spaces of the hill stations, their induction to create the built environment is necessary. However, these strategies of induction are contested.

Keywords:   Treaties, invention, exodus, Kanchenjunga, snowy range, map, viceregal tours, sovereignty, gun salute

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