Transition to colonialism
Historians who translate Indian texts had some idea of what India’s past had been,
so we have to see how colonialists envisioned India. Also even though from the 13 th
c. onwards there are united empires, like the Delhi sultanate, there was still a big
diversity in India. This is important when we try to understand how modern India
comes about and this starts in the 18 c.
The intermediary classes are important, revenue farmers, indigenous merchants,
growing landed gentry and the warrior groups, all of them are now important elites.
By the late 18 c. the society is becoming increasingly monetized and
commercialized. So we see not only the Mughal empire benefitting from this Global
trade but also the buying and selling of rights. At the end of the Mughal empire the
zamindar is really given from above, but by the beginning of the 18 c. people are
buying and selling these rights.
The successor states of the 18 c. a whole range of political interests from south
asia, the middle east and Europe. There are political challenges to the Mugals from
outside India, especially central asia- eg Nadir shah
Rohillas are afghan riders that enter India
The different kind of polities that the East India Company has to deal with and how
it did it is quite a story. First of all at the level of the subadaris who have emerged as
separate kingdoms where the governor occupies two important offices, that of the
governor with that of the diwan or subadar manager. Those are Bengal, Akhbar,
Hyderabad and the independent province of Carnatic. These regional states are
dependent on large scale merchants bankers, like the Jagat Seth, indigenous Hindu
merchant bankers. They are able to amass large proprietory rights.
Then there are also warrior states, Maharatas, Sikhs and Punjab. Their rise reflects
popular movements of peasants and pastoralists that are partly directed against the
Muslim aristocray. They use military fiscalism, something that the British pick up on.
It means using your land revenue to finance military for conquering more land,
more revenue etc. They are doing well, it’s a prosperous economy and they aren’t
from the high warrior castes. These are peasants who are doing economically well
and they aspire, they want to act like local kings. Its not only a growth of Hindu
devotionalism but also the development of very high end Brahmincal rituals, in
which authority is practiced through religious rituals, protection of cattle etc. In
addition to the Maharatas there are the Jats and the Sikhs. They are both also
peasant cultivators with a sense of identity tied to the military brotherhood,
especially Sikhism. rd
The 3 form of the successor states are compact local kingdoms, a lot of tiny states
extisting around the big Mughal successor states often as tributaries. They also use
military fisclism, though in a very compact are. They clear land, establish rule,
collect revenue etc. Again Mughal order is being repeated. Mostly they include the
Rajput states in the north-west and also the Telegu speaking warrior clans in the
south (petty tribal kingdoms).
There are also Afghans coming in and creating small petty states around Delhi.
Some of them mimic the grandeur of Mughal ideas. So it’s a kind of mess of political
structures. The final category of the successor