Tea – Legend, Life and Livelihood of India

written by Anjula August 18, 2007

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Come, oh come, yea tea thirsty

Restless ones; the kettle boils,

Bubbles, and sings, musically.

Rabindranath Tagore (as quoted in Tea: Legend, Life and Livelihood of India)

Tea is such a part of India’s culture, it’s hard to imagine daily life without it. As scientific research continues to establish the beneficial qualities of tea, it’s popularity continues to soar. The history of tea in the country of India is as fascinating as is the tea industry’s important role in the socio-economic life of the people.

Thanks to Tea: Legend, Life and Livelihood of India, the history now comes alive. Written by poet, economist and travel writer Gautam Prasad Baroowah, this superb and lavish coffee table book is definitely one of the most ambitious projects to date.

Having spent the better part of his life in the tea industry, Baroowah said he came up with a book focusing on the industry, which is extremely misunderstood despite its enormous contribution to the country’s economy and livelihood. The book provides an inside look at the industry, while also offering an analysis into the strengths and weaknesses of the leading tea-producing regions of the country.

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Beautifully illustrated with photographs taken by talented travel photographer, writer and book designer Dushyant Parasher, the book features pictures of the lush green tea gardens of Assam, Niligiri Hills, Darjeeling and Kangra in Himachal Pradesh. This breathtaking title comes complete with archival pictures that have come to define the tea industry, along with prints of beautiful artifacts associated with the tea drinking ceremony.

The book mainly focuses on the tea scene in Assam. Divided into seven chapters starting with “Discovering Tea” to its evolution to “Flavour and Taste” and “A Health Drink” and the closing “Chronology” which traces the lovely brew from ancient China to today’s tea auction centers and marketing in the country.

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However, it has not been an easy upward journey, as India’s tea industry faces competition from newer markets and a fall in demand by some traditional markets abroad. The Tea Board, along with industry leaders have been trying to tackle these problems so that the country can retain the premier position it so enjoyed in centuries past. Be sure and check out the chapter “Tea-the Future,” which provides keen observations that are thoughtful and well researched.

The book’s Guwahati-based publisher, LBS Publication in Red River, joined forces with Cool Grove Press in North America to do the international marketing.

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