This book provides readers with a vivid picture of how South Asians were perceived by many in Britain in the mid-nineteenth century, as well as of life in Sindh under the Amirs, rulers of the region at that time. McMurdos description indicates the bias and prejudice of an imperialist viewpoint and the political ramifi cations of such perceptions. At the time of Charles Napiers conquest of Sindh in 1843, the British government launched an adverse propaganda campaign aimed at depicting the Amirs as being incapable of looking aft er their own territories. This account can be counted as a part of this campaign. The book refl ects the broad political canvas of that time and prepares the backdrop for the eventual conquest of Sindh.
Relatively little is known about Captain James McMurdo who, as an army officer in the 1830s, spent time in Sindh carrying out "scientific" investigations into the Indus and the country's irrigation system. His Account of Sind, typical of the reports produced by other individual officers serving in the region at that time in one guise or another, can be classed as part of the a "propaganda campaign" conducted via "the printed word" which had characterised Britain's relationship with Sindh from the early nineteenth century onwards. Such reports were used to justify to the British public the policies behind annexation. In selecting which individual documents to include, which to exclude, and what to edit, the authorities in London presented an interpretation of events that was carefully adjusted to support their case. James McMurdo was also intensely interested in the history of the region. Apart from his official reports, he also published in academic journals linked to societies such as the Geographical Society and the Bombay branch of the Royal Asiatic Society before whom his paper on the History of the Kalhora Dynasty was presented and read in 1844.