Kathleen Blechynden Calcutta Past And Present Edited By N.R.Ray


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When the English arrived in Bengal, in the 17th century, they¬† first settled in Hughly,in the year 1633,nearly 60 years before Calcutta was founded.The Portuguese,who were the earliest European traders in India in modern times, had been in Bengal a hundred years before the English, and it was they who founded the town of Hughly,on the bank of the new course of Ganges.It is said that it was in the early years of their settlement at Hughly that the Portuguese introduced tobacco to the notice of the Emperor Akbar, and that the Indian pipe, the hookah,was invented. Mr H.G.Keene, in his delightful “Handbook to Agra”, has quoted an account of life at the court of Akbar,from an imaginative sketch by Mr.J.W.Sherer,C.S.I.,which was published in 1852,from which the following extract regarding the introduction of tobacco may be taken.When the British recovered Calcutta from Suraj-ud-Dowlah’s forces, in 1757,they found the English portion of the town is a deplorable state of ruin, none of the buildings within and around the Fort having escaped the destructive hands of the Mussulman soldiery.

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