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By Sugata Bose

On December 26, 2004, titanic tsunami waves destroyed groups round the Indian Ocean, from Indonesia to Kenya. past the bad loss of life toll, this wall of water introduced a telling reminder of the interconnectedness of the various international locations at the ocean rim, and the insignificance of nationwide obstacles. 100 Horizons takes us to those seashores, in a super reinterpretation of ways tradition constructed and background used to be made on the peak of the British raj. among 1850 and 1950, the Indian Ocean teemed with humans, commodities, and concepts: pilgrims and armies, trade and exertions, the politics of Mahatma Gandhi and the poetry of Rabindranath Tagore have been all associated in magnificent methods. Sugata Bose reveals in those complex social and financial webs proof of the interdependence of the peoples of the lands past the horizon, from the center East to East Africa to Southeast Asia. In following this narrative, we find that our traditional methods of history--through the lens of nationalism or globalization--are no longer enough. The nationwide perfect didn't easily cave in to inevitable globalization within the overdue 20th century, as is frequently meant; Bose finds in its place the important significance of an intermediate historic house, the place interregional geographic entities just like the Indian Ocean rim foster nationalist identities and objectives but at the same time facilitate interplay between groups. 100 Horizons merges data and fantasy, background and poetry, in a impressive reconstruction of the way a region's tradition, financial system, politics, and mind's eye are woven jointly in time and position. (20060721)

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Extra resources for A Hundred Horizons: The Indian Ocean in the Age of Global Empire

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46 Indeed, the sea of the Indian and Chinese merchants, bankers, and financiers effectively extended from East Africa to Southeast Asia. Yet the fact that none of the Asian intermediary capitalists except the Sassoons could enter London’s financial world suggests that there were some glass ceilings in the capitalist architecture. Psychological obstacles were certainly as important as material barriers. The nineteenth-century movement of indentured labor monitored by the British colonial state to the Caribbean across the Atlantic and to Fiji in the middle of the Pacific may have been part of a connected economic system along with migration to plantations in different parts of the Indian Ocean arena.

18 A scion of a ruling family of the region made a spirited scholarly attempt to debunk what he saw as “the myth” of Arab piracy in the Gulf by delving into a range of primary sources from the early nineteenth century. ” The Portuguese had pioneered this transformation, which merely was taken to its logical conclusion when the English East India Company became involved. Prior to the European challenge, Indian rulers had not typically claimed sovereignty over the seas. 21 The struggle for supremacy between these foreign and indigenous “pirates” remained unresolved until the English East India Company scored a decisive victory, both military and discursive, in the early decades of the nineteenth century.

To construct my narrative of interregional links across the Arabian Sea, I examine under a microscope a primary product—pearls—that had to be extracted from the seabed and then introduce the tasting of a spice—cloves—that was grown on the tiny islands of Zanzibar and Pemba. For the flows across the Bay of Bengal a plantation product—rubber—cultivated on the Malay peninsula and rice grown on the great Irrawaddy delta are my commodities of choice. Work on the plantations was almost invariably done by migrant laborers while capital was supplied on the rice frontiers by Indian and Chinese intermediaries.

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