Bhowmik Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, India pp. For decades after Assam planters began using indentured labor, Kangra plantations continued to produce tea in small batches by hand rolling, often by Chinese laborers imported for that purpose. But I must explain that the Lepchas are migratory in their habits and quit the spot they have been cultivating at the expiration of the third year and take up a new location. Wasteland rules granted ninety-nine-year renewable lease periods and rent-free settlement for large tracts of uncultivated land the 1882 Darjeeling Wasteland Rules specifically granted rent-free tenancy for tea cultivators. The monument strikes pride in Darjeeling residents, as it is a reminder that Darjeeling-not Kathmandu-is the home of the Nepali Sahitiya Sammelan Nepali Literary Society , which was forced to operate outside of Nepal in exile because authors, poets, and artists like Bhanubhakta were persecuted by the Nepali Kingdom for writing in vernacular Nepali, not Sanskrit.
In this chapter, I use the imperial ruins of Darjeeling as material conduits for stories about the development of Darjeeling and its plantations, and as deteriorating reminders of the role Nepalis, British imperialists, and the climate itself continue to play in the life of the place. The Darjeeling distinction is an important critique. The Company hired Robert Fortune as well as George Gordon, an opium trader and Tea Committee member, and Reverend Gutzlaff, a China-based missionary, to secure a continuous supply of labor and botanical matter from China. To sum up, The Darjeeling Distinction is a brilliant and entertaining book to read. Hindus, led by Prithivi Narayan Shah, from the House of Gorkha, conquered and annexed the fertile slopes east of Kathmandu, occupied by Rai, Limbu, Tamang, Gurung, and other Tibeto-Burman-speaking peoples.
In this nuanced ethnography, Sarah Besky narrates the lives of tea workers in Darjeeling. Wars with Nepal 1814-16 and Burma 1824-26 and 1852 quashed powerful and expanding kingdoms in close proximity to Bengal and brought these fertile mountainous lands into the subjugation of the East India Company. It has an important and sober message to impart. The soils, rainfall, and altitude dosupport tea bushes remarkably well. On the ground, however, the space is vacuous, dead, and haunted.
The most iconic of these built environmental perturbations was Chowrasta, where settlers could gaze at Kanchenjunga and take afternoon strolls. The tea industry is closely linked to the growth of this district as it is its main economic activity. Like many British consumers at the time, Campbell believed that the Chinese jāt of tea was superior in flavor and quality to the blacker, maltier teas produced from the Assam jāt. Contemporary Darjeeling has emerged over, around, and within material and lively colonial infrastructures, from Chowrasta to the tea bushes in the valleys below. For women workers, kamān evoked the oppressive aspects of plantation life: the repetitive plucking, pruning, and maintenance of a commodity crop. Under the later rewritings of the Wasteland Rules, property rights to a leasehold became transferable between individuals.
They were not nomadic like the Lepcha or Bhutia of Darjeeling or the Nagas of Upper Assam. Lloyd Botanical Gardens was a space of experimentation and a site for the propagation of commercial plant varieties. . With the development of trade and later Empire in British India, came increased incidences of disease. Today, each Darjeeling tea plantation is still organized around its gudum. To Assam planters, it became clear by the 1850s that the model of producing tea with an imported Chinese labor force was unsustainable.
Nepali Statues on an English Bandstand Out of this wasteland, European settlers carved bungalows, gardens, reservoirs, churches, schools, and all of the other makings for the social reproduction of Britishness. This time, they went in search of a high-altitude respite for convalescing British officials. Whereas, if by working until 3:30 they can finish their task, they will work their hardest to do it and get away. The Darjeeling Distinction challenges fair-trade policy and practice, exposing how trade initiatives often fail to consider the larger environmental, historical, and sociopolitical forces that shape the lives of the people they intended to support. In the bustling Chowk Bazaar, jeeps full of tourists and travelers going to and from Siliguri zip down the Hill Cart Road, running north and south out of town. The Lloyd Botanical Gardens are a veritable Secret Garden, tucked in the middle of the overbuilt bazaar.
The author has done considerable archival work that is evident from her second chapter. This gothic scene evokes a sepia image of bygone verdant vibrancy, when children played amid picnicking families, and colonial botanists propagated exotic plant varieties for capitalist exploitation. Through the gates, the sky opens up to the south-facing downslope of the ridge, and sun shines down through the antique duppi. A gudum is a tea-processing factory and the center of a plantation. They also constructed representations of the people who lived there as pure and worthy of a place in these Himalayan Gardens of Eden.
Chowrasta was once the site of afternoon concerts by the Darjeeling Police Band, a brass ensemble that would entertain British vacationers each afternoon fig. Gardens are ways of disciplining bodies and environments through methodical manual labor and careful taxonomies, both of plants and of people. The Darjeeling Distinction challenges fair-trade policy and practice, exposing how trade initiatives often fail to consider the larger environmental, historical, and sociopolitical forces that shape the lives of the people they intended to support. Once established in Darjeeling, tea managed to thrive. After the East India Company acquired the Darjeeling ridge in 1835, British administrators, fearing that Darjeeling would become another Cherrapunji, settled on the ridge for nine months and took copious notes on the temperatures, rainfall, and other climatic factors. The various permutations of Wasteland Rules in 1859, 1864, 1882, 1898 made tea cultivation a financially lucrative venture. To staff their tea plantations, Superintendent Campbell and British planters in Darjeeling looked toward eastern Nepal and the Gurkha soldiers who had nearly defeated them in the Anglo-Nepal Wars.