An American in Shimla

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An American in Shimla

Post  Guest on Fri Nov 30, 2012 5:15 pm

Some 80km north of Shimla -- the former summer capital of the British Raj and now the capital of the north Indian state of Himachal Pradesh -- the small rural community of Thanedar is home to the Pahari, the people of the hills.

The community is also home to the century-old Harmony Hall orchards, a farm that is central to the region’s history of fruitful apple harvests. Samuel Evans Stokes, son of a wealthy American Quaker family and a convert to Hinduism, built the estate in 1912 and – intentionally and strategically – changed local history by importing the first Red Delicious apples from the US in 1916.

Better known in India as Satyanand Stokes, Samuel became part of Mahatma Gandhi’s inner circle. His vision for a sustainable local economy was a benign colonialism that worked, and apples became the area’s primary produce. Today, farming families throughout the foothills of the Himalayas have better health, education and prospects than many other rural communities in India.

In October 2012, Stokes’s descendants and local villagers held five days of centenary celebrations, including traditional free-form, slow and stylised nati dances performed to a combination of percussion and massive horns played by local bazo bands.

http://www.bbc.com/travel/feature/20121127-apple-harvest-in-the-himalayan-foothills

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Re: An American in Shimla

Post  QB on Fri Nov 30, 2012 5:39 pm

nice
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