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C A Bruce : Father Of Indian Tea



Charles Alaxender Bruce was born on 11 January ,1793. Very few people have heard of this man who is conidered the father of the Indian Tea Industry.
    The tea Industry dates back to early 17th Century and was first introduced into Europe by the Dutch East India Company,but it was not until 1664 that
a  small quantity was carried to England as a present for his Majesty by the East India Company from China.   Mr C.C.Bruce is one of the six brothers of The
Bruce family , who is a colourful character and after fighting the Napoleonic War, become a prisoner and suffered the ignominy of being kept hostage on
board a ship while the Isle Of France was taken
    He,however , arrived in Assam in 1923 when the Burmese war broke out and offered his services so to the governor - general .His brother ,Mr Robert Bruce
also arrived in Assam during the same time with a large assortment of goods for disposal. The country was occured by the Burmese and While visiting Rongpore,
the capital , Robert struck an acquaintance with the Singhpho Chief. Her soon discovered that the tea plant was growing on the hills and made an agreement with
chief to furnish him some plants of seeds. In 1824 his brother Mr Co Bruce was appointed to the command of a division of gunboats and went upto the sudiya
.After the war was over and having made an agreement with the chief ,some plants were procured and were frowarded to Mr David Scot who in turn sent it to the
Superintendent of the BOtanical Garden at Calcutta.
    In the 1832 ,Lord William Bentinck deputed Captain Jenkins to reporet commercial viability of the tea plantation at the instance of Mr. Bruce .In 1835 the tea Committee
was set up and after strenous effort submitted its report in 1936.
    Bruce with his vast knowledge of local terrain and its people and the different mode of preparation employed the natives gathered during his earlier visits and studies
made on the tea  plant,contributed invaluable information .Two years later Mr. Gorden was appointed as secretary to study and  to introduce tea in organised form.
    Since some doubts were still raised about the existence of the real tea plants in Assam ,Mr.Gorden procedded in 1834 ,in the "Water Witch" to China with the sole
purpose of obtaining the tea seeds and plants.After reaching Macau in July 1834 ,he went with Reverend Gutslaff to fulfill of his mission.
    the Governor-General appointed Mr. C A Bruce to establish tea nurseries in upper Assam.
    In 1839 ,Assam Company was founded in England and Charles was inducted and later became the superintendent .
     Chareles Bruce died on 23rd April ,1871 and was intumed in Tezpur Cemetry (Behind Tezpur Municipal Market  in Sonitpur district of Assam) and even today his
grave lies there.The tombstone was removed and preserved in a Tea Estate for safe keeping.
 

(This article is taken from Assam Tribune - by Basanta Kr. Goswami)