Madras Presidency or the Presidency of Fort St George was an administrative subdivision of British India. At its greatest extent, the presidency included most of southern India, including the whole of the Indian states of Odisha, Kerala, Karnataka and the Union Territory of Lakshadweep. The island of Ceylon was also for a time a part of it. First published in 1913, The Mysore Presidency deals with the geography, history, anthropology, administration, industry, produce, chief towns and villages, etc., of this presidency. The author was lent willing help of several friends in this stupendous work. Special mention may be made of S. Gamble of Indian Forest Department on flora and fauna and E.B. Havellon on Architecture. It is part of a series commissioned by the Government of British India on the various presidencies in India.
Edgar Thurston (1885-1935) studied medicine at King's College, London. He was medical officer in Kent Country Lunatic Asylum and later curator of the museum at King's College before coming to India to join the Madras Museum in 1885. He has authored several books on Indology including pearl, fishery, coins, ivory carving of southern India, various tribes of southern India, among others.
THE casual visitor to India, who limits his observations of the country to the all-too-short cool season, is so impressed by the contrast between Indian life and that with which he has been previously acquainted that he seldom realises the great local diversity of language and ethnology. This local variety, however, receives expression even in the forms of administration ; for the success of the British rule in India is largely due to the fact that the early administrators adopted the local systems of government and moulded them gradually according to the lessons of experience. And this was because the British occupation was that of a trading company of which the present Government of India is a lineal descendant-a fact too often apparently overlooked in the modern administration of the country.
The recent enlargement of the functions of the Local Governments, and more complete management of local affairs, with the formation of Executive, and extension of the Legislative, Councils, all tend to direct more intensely the people's thoughts to the affairs of their own provinces. It is hoped that these Provincial Geographies will in some way reflect this growing tendency to develop special provincial atmospheres, and with this object in view endeavours have been made to select as authors those who, besides having an accurate and detailed knowledge of each area treated, are able to give a broad view of its features with a personal touch that is beyond the power of the mere compiler.
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