During the first half of the nineteenth century the British quadrupled the size of their empire in South Asia. This break from pre-British to British South Asia resulted, in part, from superior arms, military organization and economic wealth. This process also relied on a liaison between knowledge and power: studying the lives and lands of would-be subjects usually pre-dated specific imperial expansions. To this end, Edward Patterson Del Hoste travelled to Sindh in 1831.
A member of Henry Pottingers 1831-32 diplomatic mission to Hyderabad and Khyrpoor (now Khairpur), Del Hoste was a surveyor. He not only surveyed the villages and towns that the mission travelled through, but commented extensively on Sindhs human and physical geography. Part of a larger attempt to counteract Russian imperialism by opening the Indus River to free trade, Del Hostes surveys and comments were subsequently submitted as two reports to the Bombay Presidency. The main aim of the reports was to help the British establish a more commanding presence in Sindh by expanding their knowledge about the Indus region and those who lived in it.
This new Oxford edition reprints Del Hostes 1932 reports. It differs from previous reprints by using manuscripts to restore original grammar, maps and diagrams. It also supplements the 1832 reports with two subsequent ones by Del Hoste. Submitted to the Bombay Presidency in 1839, these were last reprinted in 1855.