The Mirror of British Merchandise and Hindustani Pictorial News was a Hindustani weekly magazine published in India with a specific focus on news and photo stories complimentary to British rule in India. Its cover, in its representation of Britain’s colonial relationship with India, is reflective of the attitudes of the 1890s. The cover features in the foreground the figure of Britannia, the female embodiment of the British nation, surveying the scene, flanked by a lion. In the background the Mughal splendour of the Taj Mahal invokes India’s Islamic rulers, who were displaced by the British. In the foreground an elephant laden with goods is steered by a rider while in the background, goods are loaded onto steamships, setting sail for Britain. This scene unfolds against the backdrop of the sun, shimmering with golden light across the sea. Indeed, the British empire was known at the time as ‘the Empire on which the sun never sets’.
The magazine featured articles on notable Indian figures and photographic reports on their visits, pursuits and activities, often in Britain. Its main focus was on the promotion of trade between Britain and India, highlighting consumer goods, often at the higher end of the market. Very much a propaganda organ, it extoled the virtues of Britain’s colonial involvement in India.