Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The great hedge of India

The story seems relatively unknown; I heard it a few years ago from Kalyan Mukherjea. From the Wikipedia:
"The Inland Customs Line which incorporated the Great Hedge of India (or Indian Salt Hedge[1]) was a customs barrier built by the British across India primarily to collect the salt tax. The customs line was begun while India was under the control of the East India Company but continued into the period of direct British rule. The line had its beginnings in a series of customs houses that were established in Bengal in 1803 to prevent the smuggling of salt to avoid the tax. These customs houses were eventually formed into a continuous barrier that was brought under the control of the Inland Customs Department in 1843..................
Despite its scale, the customs line and associated hedge were not widely known in either Britain or India, the standard histories of the period neglecting to mention them.[32] Roy Moxham, a conservator at the University of London library, wrote a book on the customs line and his search for its remains that was published in 2001."  A review by Dileep Chinchalker who met the author. Now the book "The Great Hedge of India" by Roy Moxhamis translated into Tamil.

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