Spying for the Raj: The Pundits and the Mapping of the Himalaya

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9780750942003: Spying for the Raj: The Pundits and the Mapping of the Himalaya
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In the 1860s, Captain Thomas Montgomerie trained natives to be surveyors, and had them explore the region covertly. These men, known as pundits, were disguised as lamas (holy men). This book talks about these servants of the Raj who managed to map the Himalayas and Tibet, helping the British to consolidate their rule in the Indian sub-continent.

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Synopsis:

A pundit (or pandit) is a Hindu Brahmin who has memorised a substantial portion of the Hindu scriptures. In the second half of the nineteenth century, however, the term was used to denote native surveyors, who explored regions to the north of India for the British Raj. The British initially sent army officers to map these countries, but the task was fraught with danger. In the 1860s, Captain Thomas Montgomerie realised that the solution was to train natives from Indian border states to be surveyors, and have them explore the region covertly. These men, known as pundits, were disguised as traders or lamas (holy men). This is the first book devoted to these servants of the Raj who managed to map the Himalayas, Tibet and surrounding areas with remarkable precision, thereby helping the British to consolidate their rule in the Indian sub-continent.

About the Author:

JULES STEWART is a freelance journalist, formerly with Reuters. He is the author of The Khyber Rifles and lives in London.

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9780750942010: Spying for the Raj

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