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Like the Great Wall of China, but alive
February 18, 2003 11:03 AM   Subscribe

The Great Hedge of India was over 1500 miles long in the mid-1800s, manned by 12,000 guards (for tax purposes), and totally forgotten until an Englishman spent three years tracking its history. A fascinating travel / history / detective story.
posted by LeLiLo (16 comments total)

 
"A fascinating travel / history / detective story."

Sounds cool. Where would I find info about that? Your link is just an advert for a book.
posted by y6y6y6 at 11:08 AM on February 18, 2003


There's more at that site than just an ad, but it seems like the book has most of the information available anywhere.

It reminded me of an older, more light-hearted book called Tuva or Bust, where somebody gets obsessed with finding out about something (in this case an immense hedge, in that case a country) that's been forgotten by time.

A modern vision quest, in a way. I'd like to go quest somewhere myself, but I can't seem to manage to get away from this computer, take off my Spock outfit, and get a life.
posted by LeLiLo at 11:31 AM on February 18, 2003


Link is farked for me. There's some verbiage about the book at Amazon.
posted by goethean at 12:02 PM on February 18, 2003


The maps are cool ...
posted by Wulfgar! at 1:54 PM on February 18, 2003


hehe: bush.
posted by steef at 2:34 PM on February 18, 2003


This is a fascinating story, primarily because the historical facts have seemingly been so completely forgotten. Every google hit on "great hedge" or "customs hedge" leads to an article by or about Moxham and/or his book. Thus, the lack of supporting links for the post, I suppose. The book does appear to be an entirely factual account, though - there are a few reviews that give more detail and background information, and usually point out how this is all forgotten history, uncovered by Moxham in his book. Here's an interesting one.

Thanks for bringing this up, lelilo.
posted by yhbc at 2:52 PM on February 18, 2003


Anyone interested in South Asian culture might want to check out tonight's NOVA: Lost Treasures of Tibet.
posted by homunculus at 2:55 PM on February 18, 2003


"Thanks for bringing this up, lelilo."

Bringing up what???!!! It's a link to a picture of a book. This isn't even a post. It's a link to a picture of a book, which the poster says is about something interesting.

This is interesting but nothing interesting about it exists on the web??? Then why is it posted at Metafilter? Are we ALL suppose to go buy the book, read it, and then come back here and comment? Are we all suppose to do a Google search and then report back that we found zilch? What are we suppose to talk about? The nice cover art? lelilo's Spock outfit? Some show on NOVA?
posted by y6y6y6 at 3:13 PM on February 18, 2003


Not fair, y6. There's more than the picture on that page, as you know perfectly well. The linked map page, for instance, is fascinating. It's a bit thin for a post, true, but that's because (as y2karl points out) there's nothing else out there, and it's well worth posting as is.
posted by languagehat at 4:05 PM on February 18, 2003


It's a link to a picture of a book. This isn't even a post. It's a link to a picture of a book, which the poster says is about something interesting.

There's a little more on the website. Not too much on the specific quest for the hedge, or info about it, but the nutrition role of salt, an overview of the book, etc. It's enough to give you an idea about some things that you may never have considered before.


This is interesting but nothing interesting about it exists on the web??? Then why is it posted at Metafilter? Are we ALL suppose to go buy the book

The commentary is obviously somewhat limited, but this is easily the most interesting thing I've seen on the web in weeks (concerns/commentary/discussion about real world events aside, and some people seem to really dislike seeing that stuff here).

Anyone here read Orson Scott Card's "Shadow Puppets"? Not his best work by far, but it was interesting how he brought what effects a large landmark (in this case, a long "wall" -- really a mound -- of stones in India) and what it means can have on a population/culture. I'm wondering if this is similar.
posted by namespan at 4:06 PM on February 18, 2003


another link to a page with a picture of a book. (thanks, lelilo. i read posts about books before anything.)
posted by steef at 6:16 PM on February 18, 2003


well I for one appreciate the link to a picture of a book (and subsequent supporting material...)

had a bunch of barnesnnoble* gift cards to burn (souvenir of massive collection of hotel reward points when I was a code-slave last year, don'cha know) so I was actually inspired to buy a copy of moxham's book (not to mention one of the mary lou lord EPs that I've been eyeing...)

to return in kind: this also made it into my order. was happy to note that it does include the original chinese text alongside each translation.

*yeah normally I wouldn't buy from the evil bastids, but hey it was free...
posted by dorian at 7:02 PM on February 18, 2003


Thanks for bringing this up, lelilo. . . . it's well worth posting as is.

I appreciate the support, yhbc and languagehat. This was indeed an unusual post primarily because there is no information available, except in the guy's book.

this is easily the most interesting thing I've seen on the web in weeks

It's amazing. A giant hedge of thorns, up to 14' high, up to 12' thick, covering an distance greater than, say, from New York City to New Orleans. And nobody even remembers it! I figured if a 40-mile aqueduct was worth posting, this certainly made the grade.

y6 (cubed) does have a point though, it's like I expected everyone to run out and read the book, then meet back here for a discussion group. A better post might have explained how the author, in his words, "had been looking for a folly, a harmless piece of English eccentricity." The hedge, and the Salt Tax it represented, "was in reality a monstrosity, a terrible instrument of British repression." Gandhi's Salt March in 1930, in fact, in opposition to the tax, was a key to his fight for winning Indian independence.

By denying salt to the Indian people, especially in such a hot climate, the British weakened or killed millions. Should we have a basic right to the necessities of life, tax-free? It's a question that once again is here for many people, when corporations are starting to control the world's water.

p.s. Anyone interested in South Asian culture might want to check out tonight's NOVA: Lost Treasures of Tibet.

By coincidence, homunculus, my good friend Ned (he lives down the road) filmed that show. He also did much of the filming for the show a few years ago about finding Mallory's body on Mt. Everest.
posted by LeLiLo at 7:34 AM on February 19, 2003


lelilo: Please give Ned my heartiest congratulations. I watched that show last night, and it was great, largely due to the gorgeous photography. I won't soon forget those red buildings against the mountains, and the amazing transitions from ruined paintings to restored versions. Great stuff... and I heard about it right here on MetaFilter!
posted by languagehat at 8:50 AM on February 19, 2003


Hear, hear! My compliments to Ned, the show was great. The effect of the restoration on the artwork was amazing, it's really incredible what those guys can do.
posted by homunculus at 10:12 AM on February 19, 2003


A bit belatedly here, but I'd like to add my thanks to lelilo for the Hedge of India link... this is what I come to Mefi hoping to find, discoveries from corners of the web where I haven't yet ventured.
posted by jokeefe at 1:13 PM on February 21, 2003


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