Chronicling a Publishing House
Suguna Ramanathan
EMPIRES OF THE MIND: A HISTORY OF THE OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS IN INDIA UNDER THE RAJ by Rimi B. Chatterji Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 2006, 450 pp., 795
June 2006, volume 30, No 6

Reading this extremely well researched and lucidly written study took me back to the 1950s in what was then Bombay when small volumes bound in dark blue, the World’s Classics, were there to be bought, and one wondered in one’s ignorance whether the motto on the crest was to be read downwards (Dominus illuminatio mea) or across (Dommina nustio illumea!). Thacker’s Bookshop was just across the road from Elphinstone College, and Taraporevala’s down Hornby Road, darker, mustier, but full of treasures. Hours of pleasurable browsing. Hours too of study. Who would have thought that H.G, Rawlinson, whose history of India was our school textbook, and Vincent Smith, who was recommended reading, would figure so largely in this study? I had no idea then that they had any existence outside the examination for which I was preparing myself. This is a very impressive volume and not only because it generated nostalgia waves in this reader.

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