TECHNOLOGY AND THE RAJ: Western Technology and Technical Transfers to India 1700-1947


ISBN 9789350027790
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ISBN 9789350027790


…science and technology in relation to colonialism has been the site of a contestation for a long time. However, that history has entered historiography only recently…Now Deepak Kumar’s monograph on science under the Raj and a companion volume edited by him and MacLeod provide an opportunity to assess the state of the art in this area of study. -The Hindu, 21 January 1996

…focus on the premier colonial possession of the greatest of the imperial powers, underscore the importance of the rather recent, but growing, emphasis on the technological and scientific dimensions of the encounter between the expansive nation-states of western Europe and all other human societies. -Technology and Culture, Vol. 38, No. 2, April 1997

The volume constitutes a useful benchmark and indicator for the state of the art in the history and sociology of technology in colonial India.

-The Journal of Asian Studies, Vol. 56, No. 3, August 1997

The history of technology is no longer a story of machines and processes, nuts and bolts. Technologies do not appear or operate in a vacuum but have a socio-economic and cultural context. This volume explores, in this framework, the relationship between technology and colonialism in British India. The contributors maintain that there was a close connection between commercial interests, technological changes, and the government policies from the earliest years of British presence in India. Three key issues are examined in depth by the contributors; practices shaping and constraining technology transfer and technological and engineering education; the emerging patterns in transportation and communication; and the principles arising in the struggle for technological sovereignty before India achieved independence.

This volume will interest historians and economists, particularly those studying colonialism, the history of science and technology, and economic history.

Roy MacLeodis an Emeritus Professor of Modern History at the University of Sydney. He has had a long career as an historian of science, diplomacy, and empire, and has held visiting appointments at academic institutions around the world. He has taught and published extensively on the history of science and government in 19th century Britain, India, North America, and Australia, on the geopolitics of science and warfare, and on the role of science and technology in the expansion of Europe. He was a founder of the journalSocial Studies of Science, and is recently President of the Pacific Circle, founded in 1985 for comparative studies of science and technology across the Indo-Pacific.

Deepak Kumarhas published on science, state and society in colonial India for more than four decades. He began his teaching career at Kurukshetra University in 1976, served as Scientist at the CSIR-NISTADS, taught at several universities within India and abroad, and retired as Professor of History of Science and Education from Jawaharlal Nehru University in 2017. Along with seven co-edited books on technology, medicine, agriculture, environment, and education, he is also known for hisScience and the Raj: A Study of British India(2nded., OUP, Delhi 2006),The Trishanku Nation: Memory, Self and Society in Contemporary India(OUP, Delhi, 2016), andAatam Khabar: Sanskriti, Samaj aur Hum(in Hindi, Aakar Books, Delhi 2022).

This volume is a re-issue of the original text, with a new Preface by Suvobrata Sarkar of Rabindra Bharati University, Kolkata.


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