A fascinating account of the invention of fingerprinting in colonial India and the story of how the technique was exported back to Victorian England. Opening with the first case in a British criminal court to use the radical new technique of fingerprinting to identify the perpetrators of crime in 1902 this riveting book takes us back to the origins of fingerprinting in India. Despite many books on the subject of fingerprints in general, none have looked closely at the fact that this standard tool of forensic science was born in India during the Raj. As the author points out, with the exception of curry there is not one other instance of something so fundamental to British life being imported fully-formed from the Empire and then being tailored to fit conditions at home. Based on original and hitherto unpublished research imprint of the Raj gives a unique insight into our colonial past and offers a vivid account of this extraordinary and largely ignored story.
Chandak Sengoopta is the Wellcome Research Lecturer at the Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine at the University of Manchester. Originally from Calcutta, where he trained to be a doctor, he subsequently studied the history of science, medicine and technology in the USA and in London. His first academic book, Otto Weininger: Sex, Science, and Self in Imperial Vienna was published by the, University of Chicago Press in 2000. Imprint of the Raj is his first book for the general reader.