Country Life

The art of transgression

IN 1698, the East India Company bought three villages in Bengal as a base for its trading operation. They grew to form the city of Calcutta—an anglicised version of ‘Kalikata’— named after the Hindu deity Kali, with a temple nearby.

As the goddess of destruction, Kali seems an odd choice of patron deity for the seat of British power in India, but Company officers paid little attention to a religion they regarded as primitive. One exception was Maj-Gen Charles Stuart

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