People Of Lahore Circa 1860s

People of Lahore from the Book ""The people of India : a series of photographic illustrations, with descriptive letterpress, of the races and tribes of Hindustan" published London circa 1868-1875 in 8 volumes.

Remarkably comprehensive photographically-illustrated ethnographic study of India. The project was begun on the request of Lord Canning, to possess photographs of native Indian people. Photography was then a fairly new process and Canning, Governor-General of India, initially as a souvenir of his time on the subcontinent. The officers of the British Army were instructed to go out and photograph "interesting subjects," and the results proved so extensive that a decision was made to publish them in the present format. 

The photographs compiled by Watson and Kaye were not the first to be taken of Indian people but the project was organised within the framework of attempts by officials to document the people in a methodical, statistically and ethnographically oriented manner, later expressed by Denzil Ibbetson in his 1883 report on the 1881 census of the Punjab:

"Our ignorance of the customs and beliefs of the people among whom we dwell is surely in some respects a reproach to us; for not only does that ignorance deprive European science of material which it greatly needs, but it also involves a distinct loss of administrative power to ourselves".

 

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