cover image: First History Lesson: The World of Tea


First History Lesson: The World of Tea

1 Nov 2023

First History Lessons is a series of books published by the Institute of Development Studies, Kolkata (IDSK). Aiming to simplify and explain important ideas of history, the series has been sponsored by the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung (RLS). The books include illustrations drawn by Ranjit Chitrakar, Sirajudaulla Chitrakar – traditional patachitra artists from West Bengal. This edition was published in November 2023 and elaborates on ‘The World of Tea’. It was written by Supurna Banerjee and Anwesha Sengupta, teachers at IDKS. It has been translated in English from the original Bengali by Arunava Sinha, who teaches at Ashoka University, Sonipat.The 60-page document, designed by Shabnam Yasmin, is divided into 10 sections: So many items, so many stories (Section 1); Tea conquers the world (Section 2); The tea gardens of Bengal and Assam (Section 3); In search of labourers (Section 4); Masters and workers (Section 5); Life in tea gardens (Section 6); Grandma Nirala of Dhumchipara (Section 7); The ledger of tea garden closures (Section 8); Complicated words and concepts (Secton 9); And finally (Section 10). The first chapter focuses on aspects of tea cultivation which began during the British Raj in Assam, Siliguri and Darjeeling. During the British rule, the tea grown in these regions would be shipped to Calcutta through streamers and trains and then exported by sea to European countries. “The tale of tea contains within itself the histories of Bengal and of Assam, of the Indian subcontinent, and of the world,” the book says.The book highlights how the culture of including tea in our routines here in India came from China, travelling through Japan, Korea and Vietnam. From these Asian countries, tea reached Europe via Dutch traders in 1607, where it was consumed primarily by the royalty...
tea tea-cultivation


Supurna Banerjee And Anwesha Sengupta

Published in
Institute of Development Studies Kolkata (IDSK) and Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung, New Delhi

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