India’s ancient connections with the west underwent a sea change with the advent of the “new” Europeans in the Sixteenth century. Formal colonization wreaked havoc, both economic and social. Yet, even in this unequal relationship India did gain. The aim of this book is to focus attention on a major turning point in the history of the Indian subcontinent, which affected the lives of the Indian people in many different ways.
The impact of the west produced far - reaching changes in India. As Jawaharlal Nehru said: “…but it came almost inspite of the British. They succeeded in slowing down the pace to such an extent that even today the transition is far from complete.” Dr. Amita Das traces this fascinating transition, through her own study and through the words of Jawaharlal Nehru, who too was overcome by the interface between European and Indian perceptions and their impact on the Indian society and culture.
The author believes that to understand the present, it is necessary to identify the socio-economic and cultural changes introduced in colonial times. The ideas and institutions brought in by the Raj precipitated a process of transformation and assimilation. The process still continues.
This book should prove useful to everyone interested in understanding the east-west interface in India. Quotations from Nehru’s Autobiography, Glimpse Of World History and Discovery Of India have been included to throw light on Nehru’s own perceptions of the subject.
Dr. Amita Das is Senior Research Officer, Nehru Centre, Bombay. She was educated at Presidency College, Calcutta and Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford. She was a State Government Scholar throughout her college career at Calcutta and received the Calcutta University medal in History for her M.A. she took her D. Phil in Modern History from Oxford University where she was a Common Wealth Scholar. Dr. Das began her teaching career at Calcutta University and was also a UGC senior Research Fellow. She taught briefly at Women’s Christian College, Madras and Sophia College, Bombay before joining Nehru Centre in 1978. She went back to the U.K. on British Council Visitorship in 1985 to study Museums in Britain.
In 1988 she received the Nuffield Foundation Fellowship and went to the Commonwealth Institute, London, as a visiting fellow. In 1989 she became Coordinator of Nehru Centre’s DISCOVERY OF INDIA Permanent Exposition. Amita Das has contributed in two publications- Essays In Indian History (O.U.P 1972), Science and Society (CSIR, New Delhi, 1980), and published research papers in academic journals. She has completed three other research projects for Nehru Centre, namely, A History of Scientific and Technical Education in India Under the British, Women and Science in India, and Bombay Facts and Figures. She is currently working on a History Of Communal Riots in India (1800-1947)