De/siring India: Representations through British & French Eyes (1584–1857)

ICSSR-Sponsored International Conference organised by the Department of English, Chandernagore College, Hooghly in collaboration with Institut de Chandernagor


De/siring India: Representations through British and French Eyes (1584 – 1857)

18 January – 19 January 2016


18 January 2016

10 – 10.30: Registration (Charu Chandra Roy Memorial Hall, 1st Floor)

10.30 – 11.20: Inaugural Session

11.20 – 12.05: Keynote Address – Dr. Ian Magedera, Department of Modern Languages and Culture, University of Liverpool

‘Shall I compare thee to…’, Encountering and Countering Power in European Representations of India 1728 to 1857

12.05 – 12.15: Discussion and tea

Business Session 1 (Charu Chandra Roy Memorial Hall, 1st Floor)

Chair: Dr. Niranjan Goswami, Department of English, Chandernagore College

12.15 – 12.45: Prof. Rila Mukherjee, Department of History, University of Hyderabad


Knowing India in Sixteenth Century Europe

12.45 – 1.15: Prof. Nilanjan Chakrabarti, Dept. of English & Other Modern European Languages

Visva-Bharati – European Expansion and French Travel Narratives of seventeenth and eighteenth centuries on India

1.15 – 1.30: Discussion

Parallel Business Session (Geography Conference Room, 3rd Floor)

Chair: Prof. Supriya Chaudhuri (Emerita), Department of English, Jadavpur University

12.25 – 12.55: Prof. John Hutnyk, Social Research and Cultural Studies, National Chiao Tung University, Taiwan

Marx reading despatches from India

12.55 – 1.15: Ms. Janani Kalyani Venkataraman, Department of French, The English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad

Sati resolved –representation of Indian widows in French plays in the 18th and early 19th century

1.15 – 1.30: Discussion

1.30 – 2.30: LUNCH

Business Session 2 (Charu Chandra Roy Memorial Hall, 1st Floor)


Chair: Prof. Jayati Gupta, Tagore National Fellow for Cultural Research


2.30 – 3.00: Prof. Supriya Chaudhuri (Emerita), Department of English, Jadavpur University

Desiring Bengal: Trade, culture, and the first English traveller to eastern India

3.00 – 3.30: Dr. Anna Becker, Department of History, University of Basel, Switzerland

The Mughal Regime and Female Bodies in 17th Century English Political Thought

3.30 – 3.45: Discussion

Parallel Business Session (Geography Conference Room, 3rd Floor)

Chair: Dr. Arpita Chattoraj Mukhopadhyay, Department of English, Burdwan University

2.30 – 2.50:Mr. Ariktam Chatterjee, Department of English, Govt. General Degree College, Singur, Ph.D. Scholar, Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta


Hindu Pantheon in London and a deported Sacred Thread: Instances problematising representation of India in the memoirs of British Baptist Missionaries


2.50 – 3.10: Dr. Swati Dasgupta, French Section, Dept. of Germanic & Romance Studies, University of Delhi

Women in the Indian Revolt of 1857

3.10 – 3.30: Dr. Sudipta Chakraborty, Department of English, Sreegopal Banerjee College, Hooghly

Crime and Empire: Colonial Imaginings and the Thuggee in Early Nineteenth Century British India

3.30 – 3.40: Discussion

3.40 – 4.10: Visit to the Exhibition at Institut de Chandernagor and Coffee

19 January 2016

10.30 – 11.00: Registration and Tea

Business Session 3 (Charu Chandra Roy Memorial Hall, 1st Floor)

Chair: Prof. John Hutnyk, Social Research and Cultural Studies, National Chiao Tung University, Taiwan

11.00 – 11.30: Prof. Jayati Gupta, Tagore National Fellow for Cultural Research


The Travels and Travails of Indigo in Bengal: Anglo-French Rivalry in the early Nineteenth

Century Context


11.30 – 12.00: Dr. Romita Ray, Department of Art and Music Histories, Syracuse University, USA


Canton to Calcutta? Tea and Eighteenth-Century Encounters in the Colonial Metropolis

12.00 – 12.20: Dr. Niranjan Goswami, Department of English, Chandernagore College

Diamonds, Spices and Brahmins: Locating Culture in Tavernier’s Narrative of Desire

12.20 – 12.50: Dr. Jyoti Mohan, Department of History and Geography, Morgan State University, USA – L’Inde historique

12.50 – 1.05: Discussion

Parallel Business Session (Geography Conference Room, 3rd Floor)

Chair: Prof. Rila Mukherjee, Department of History, University of Hyderabad

11.00 – 11.30: Dr. Abhijit Gupta, Department of English, Jadavpur University
A Case of Identity: Madame Grand of Chandernagore

11.30 – 11.50: Ms. Rita Chatterjee, Department of English, Maharani Kasiswari College, Kolkata, PhD Scholar, Centre for Studies in Social Sciences

Blurred boundaries and travelling identities: a reading of Eliza Fay’s original letters from   India: containing a narrative of a journey through Egypt   and the author’s imprisonment at Calicut by Hyder Ali (1779-1815).

11.50 – 12.10: Ms. Michelle Karunakaran, MPhil/PhD Scholar, English, JNU, Delhi

Voltaire on Indian philosophy: early chapter in the history of French Orientalism

12.10 – 12.40: Prof. Richard Wrigley, Department of History of Art, University of Nottingham, UK

Promenade and perception: on the status of flânerie in 18th- and 19th-century writing on India

12.40 – 1.05: Discussion

1.05 – 2.00: LUNCH

Business Session 4 (Charu Chandra Roy Memorial Hall, 1st Floor)

Chair: Prof. Richard Wrigley, Department of History of Art, University of Nottingham, UK

2.00 – 2.20: Dr. Abin Chakraborty, Department of English, Chandernagore College

“Crack mee this nut, all ye Papall charitie vaunters”: Reading the Narratives and Letters of Thomas Coryat

2.20 – 2.40: Mr. Pinaki De, Department of English, Raja Peary Mohan College, Uttarpara

Tints and Tones: (Dis)orienting Oriental Scenery

2.40 – 3.00: Ms. Soumya Goswamy, Department of History, Chandernagore College

Colonial writings and the agenda of understanding Indian classical music


3.00 – 3.15: Coffee

3.15 – 4.00: Valedictory and Vote of Thanks (Charu Chandra Roy Memorial Hall, 1st Floor)


Population Malthus (‘The hour of vulgar economy had struck’)

Haileybury-College-Terrace1Interested in the beginnings of the East India College at Haileybury and the first Prof of History and Politics… the dodgy Reverend himself Thomas Robert ‘Pop’ Malthus.

I need to check again, but from the family tree it looks to me like he married his cousin. And his father had married his cousin. Which maybe makes you wonder why he was so in favour of population control.

yep – a little scrabbling around the library and the internet and we find, that Grandfather Sydenham Malthus, was born at Northolt in Middlesex about 1678. He married Anne Dalton and had a son and three daughters:

1. Daniel (see below)

2. Anne, wife of Humphrey Hackshaw. No issue

3. Katherine, married George Eckersall in 1745. They had a son, John Eckersall who married his cousin Katherine Wathen (see below), and their daughter, Harriet Eckersall, born in 1777, was to marry her cousin once removed, the Rev. Thomas Robert Malthus.

4. Elizabeth, who married at St.Mary at Hill, London on 19th March 1750 Samuel Wathen. They had a daughter, Katherine Wathen, baptized at St.Botolphs, Bishopsgate, London on 8th February 1753. She married her cousin John Eckersall as noted, had a daughter, Harriet.


So, the first son, Daniel, married his second cousin Henrietta Catherine in 1753. She was the elder daughter of Daniel Graham

The elder son of Daniel and Henrietta, also called Sydenham Malthus, was born c 1754. He married his cousin Mariana Georgina, widow of William Leigh Symes of Esher in Surrey in 1798, she was the daughter of the THOMAS RYVES, by his 2nd wife Anna Maria, younger daughter of Daniel Graham.

The younger son was Thomas Robert. He marries Harriet.

Roots web sums this up with what I can’t but hear as a certain, erm, tone:

Rev. Thomas Robert Malthus is said to have had a hare-lip and speech impediment. He was a celebrated economist and author of the controversial work ‘Political Economy’ which warns of the dangers of population growth. He married (at Claverton Church in Somerset on 12th April 1804) his cousin once removed Harriet daughter of John Eckersall by Katherine daughter of Samuel Wathen

Just refresh yourself by looking back above for Eckersall and Wathem in the entries for the daughters 3 & 4 of grandfather Sydenham Malthus and Anne Dalton.

Keeping it in the family. How to draw the tree?

And to trace out all Marx’s references to this purveyor of ‘vulgar economy’ Capital Ch.24

Quid pro Quo – Subversive Festival, Zagreb (2nd vid)

Screen Shot 2014-10-26 at 14.39.22

My third talk in a series of three on capital was at the Subversive Festival in Zagreb. The second talk is here (Translating Capital in Context) and it makes sense to see the second talk first [the first one in Rijeka was not recorded, but was based on my text on Citizen Kane], not least because it will help explain why the conceit in this third talk has Marx relocated to India, which of course he was always deeply interested in, but he never went, only picking up bits of info, and some myths – eg the horror stories of Jagannath etc – from his wide-ranging and varied reading. I think it is justified to deploy Marx to Calcutta, at least in fantasy, though its true not even Engels took his father’s advice to go to Calcutta to start in business. The old boys were European bound, but this did not mean they did not seek out the revolution elsewhere.

What also should be mentioned (the parts here are – great job – edited and slightly reordered, and the opening by Bernard missed) is that in this talk I set out to look at three different moments. 1) the arrival of Clive in Calcutta after the ‘sham scandal’ of the Black Hole in 1756; 2) the first all-India war of Independence, the so-called ‘mutiny’ 100 years later and; 3) the quid pro quo return of originary capital to the site of the East India Company shipyard in London in present times, under the aegis of the Farrell’s development of Convoys’ Wharf, Deptford, for Hutchinson Whampoa.

I am slowly writing this out as a long, too long, chapter, so this version is pretty schematic, but you will get the drift of new work. Thanks for stopping by. Thanks also to the crew at Subversive, especially Karolina Hrga, and Bernard Koludrović who was chair.


“Marx writing on India is key to understanding Capital. My argument is that we can make sense of Marx today by examining his theoretical and journalistic work together, each informed by an emergent anthropology, by historical hermeneutics, by a critique of political economy and by attention to a global political contest that mattered more than philosophy. Marx reading history, already against the grain and without being able to make actual alliances, is nevertheless seeking allies in a revolutionary cause. Is it possible to observe Marx coming round to realise, after the shaping experience of the 1848-1852 European uprisings, the possibilities for the many different workers of the world to unite? I consider the sources Marx finds available, what he reads, and how his writing practice parses critical support as habitual politics, and how far subcontinental events, themes and allegories are a presence in the key moves of his masterwork Capital almost as if India were a refocused bromide for Europe, just as slavery is for wages. I will take up four cases – the ‘founding’ of Calcutta by Job Charnock (disputed); the story of Clive sacking Chandernagore and going on to defeat Suraj-ud-duala at Palashi/Plassey in 1757 in retaliation for the ‘Black Hole’ (did it exist?); Disraeli verbosely saying nothing about the so-called Indian ‘mutiny’ 1857 (‘the East as a career’); and the question of legalizing Opium in China and the advent of Matheson-Jardine Company after the East India Company comes to an end (‘quid pro quo’). All of this brings us back to the realities of global investment and regeneration in Europe today, as international capital returns to the port of London to redevelop the old East India Company shipyards in Deptford.”

15/5/2014, 21h, Cinema Europa, Zagreb, Croatia
John Hutnyk: Quid pro quo: the East as a career
7th Subversive festival: “Power and Freedom in the Time of Control”
Moderator: Bernard Koludrović

Danish colonial ties


Some maritime gems in the library yesterday… ”Serampore had a certain importance to the illicit Anglo-Danish trade thanks to its facilities for anonymity and customs easements’ (Feldbaek 1969:199). Indeed, Feldbaek suggests that because of English East India Company restrictions, some 80-90% of goods sent from Bengal to Copenhagen were not consumed in Copenhagen, but moved along in various ways to London as the goods were shipped by English and Anglo-Indian traders working under Danish flags. In the late 18th century he suggests Serampore was more important than Tranquebar for the Asiatic trade (p232). This is in large part remittances because ‘by far the most part of the Anglo-Indian fortunes had to be sent to England through the foreign European companies (Feldbaek 1969:27) and banned ‘country trade’ by English EIC officials had been ‘driven underground and forced to seek cover of foreign European flags’ (Feldbaek 1969:11).

The East as a Career – talk 22.5.2014

  • Logo Universität Hamburg

  • Institut für Volkskunde / Kulturanthropologie

  • 16. Mai 2014 | Studium und Lehre

    Do. 22.5. | Kollaboratives Forschen mit John Hutnyk

    John Hutnyk, London: “The East as a career: Marx Writing Capital and the Value of Bengal.”

    Um 18.15 Uhr in Raum 220


David Sunderland Financing the Raj

Quite a start for this book, keen to know more (but need to find a copy I can afford):

Sunderland David Screen Shot 2014-04-12 at 09.58.23

Reviewed here:

> Citation: Sumit Guha. Review of Sunderland, David, _Financing the
> Raj: the City of London and Colonial India, 1858-1940_. H-Empire,
> H-Net Reviews. April, 2014.
> URL: