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The Other EmpireMetropolis, India and Progress in the Colonial Imagination$
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John Marriott

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780719060182

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719060182.001.0001

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(p.221) Conclusion
The Other Empire

John Marriott

Manchester University Press

This chapter provides a conclusion on the series of measures applied by British observers to accumulate knowledge about India. The internal coherence and integrity of evangelical narratives and the common objective of mission work to provide spiritual salvation to heathen populations created strong homologies. The emphasis on spiritual rather than political or material salvation, particularly, when confronted by constituencies that seemed impervious to their influence, did not override social or cultural differences, but did engender a degree of stability and continuity at times of profound political change. Travel writings were less coherent. They drew contradictorily and differentially upon longer traditions to produce epistemologically insecure visions of both metropolis and colony. Overarching both genres—and arguably the field of knowledge production as a whole—were narratives of progress. It was these that at times of political unease and perceived crisis in the information order engendered racialized and totalizing visions, which eventually rendered obsolete the projects of travellers and evangelicals to create knowledge of India.

Keywords:   heathen populations, political change, travel writings, epistemology, material salvation, spiritual salvation, political salvation

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