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Letters of a Mussoorie Merchant

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About the Authors:Ruskin Bond, well-known as one of India’s best-loved and most prolific writers, has been in residence in Mussoorie for almost half a century now. From his perch in Ivy Cottage, he has written novels, poetry, essays and short-stories which have brought joy to his readers from the simple, uncomplicated things in life, often raising the experience to the sublime. This collection of letters tells story of the hill-station in the days of its infancy.His friend Ganesh Saili too, settled atop a spur in Mullingar, has had the good fortune of living in the hills, and seen the changing facets of the hill-station. For forty years and more, he has researched and trekked the high mountains, capturing in words and film the awe-inspiring beauty of the hills. Numerous periodicals, journals, magazines, films, books and national awards are a testimony to his roots.

:Mauger Fitzhugh Monk was born in the British channel island of Guernsey. Forced to leave England after a financial scandal, he departed for India, where, under an assumed name, he enlisted as a gunner, in the East India Company’s 4th Battalion of Artillery. He served there as a soldier but soon made his way up to the Himalayan hill station of Mussoorie, which had then only recently been established, and took up work there; initially as a teacher. He augmented his teaching work with various commercial undertakings, the failure of which, pushed him to the edge of bankruptcy. After an extremely eventful career in Mussoorie, he finally decided to return to England, but sadly died suddenly in 1849, at Meerut. He recorded the details of his extraordinary life in India, in a long series of letters, written to his father and other family members in England, between 1828 and 1849. They record his army life, in the late 1830’s, and then go on to give a fascinating, and previously unknown insight, into everyday life in Mussoorie and Landour, during the 1840’s. The collection is an invaluable resource for all who are interested in the social life of 19th century British India, and in discovering new aspects of the history of Mussoorie in its very earliest days.

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