India's Scottish heritage remembered in renovation of Calcutta's Raj architecture





In a bid to remind the world of the prominent role that Scots played in laying the foundations of colonial India, the Scottish government has launched a campaign to renovate some of the sub-continent's finest imperial buildings before they decay beyond repair.

The conventional view of Indian colonial life as a quintessentially English experience - all G&Ts, tea and cricket - has long overlooked the fact that Scots were heavily represented in HMG's vast imperial civil service, and as businessmen and architects.

Now, keen to underline its independence from London in foreign affairs, Scotland's new nationalist government plans to reclaim that forgotten heritage in Calcutta, the capital of British India.

Its first target will be helping to restore the rubble-covered grand staircases and peeling walls of once-magnificent buildings like Duff College, named after Alexander Duff, a Scots missionary and pioneering educationalist who arrived in Calcutta in 1830 after being shipwrecked twice en route. But Holyrood also hopes to remind Indians of the role that Scots played in educating and inspiring some of the sub-continent's leading independence campaigners.

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