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HIS282Y1 (12)
Ritu Birla (12)
Lecture

fixing and stagnation

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Department
History
Course
HIS282Y1
Professor
Ritu Birla
Semester
Fall

Description
st October 31 Fixing and its double meaning- cementing, gluing, preserving vs. improvement. In some way this is a lense in which to study colonial government, it wants to fix indian society because when things are fixed and not moving they are easier to govern. At the same time there is the idea of improving a savaged civilization, part of the moral claims of the empire. They are in a kind of conflict because one type of thinking is that traditions are being given back and preserved, looking backwards into the ancient past of India. They see what Hindu law is and the jurisprudence, a backward looking way. It is also a very selective process because also in some way they are inventing what the traditions are, going through tons of information and selecting which one to use. The other side of it is a forward looking project, the one of improving. A project of benevolence which is a major part of the colonial project, making the promise of helping but is it a gesture of help or power? The making of nd st Hindu law is the 2 example, the 1 one is the law of property, the introduction of private property in Bengal and elsewhere. Hindu and Muslim law is a project of new east-India company, a performance of non-interference, an important way in which colonial governance emerges. Is it non-interference though? The ism of Hindu culture is a modern phenomenon though as in the ancient times one united religion didn’t exist. The use of Brahmins to pick out the most important parts already makes it a selective process and then the choice of what to use makes it even more so. There is a very developed tradition of common law in Britain, that we have to observe and respect practices and customs should be respected, but also that they can change over time. What happens in India is that these customs and practices are transferred during governing this society that is totally and completely new. It is understood as ancient an unchanging which allows them to create a master script of what indigenous traditions are, but like all manuals they bear a distant relation to what reality actually is. We need to look at economic material practices coercion but at the same time local allies with the colonial authorities, many indigenous folk of different kind, so it is beyond a simplistic colonial victim binary idea. We also have to look at resistance in spite of alliances. The question then is how is resistance studied, in a place where people act out resistance in ways that are different from what we expect? For example under what conditions is mob violence a political vs. a criminal act. The economy 1757 is the battle of placi, by 1793 British permanently in Bengal and use the revenue to buy Indian luxury goods, starting the process of China and tea. Until 1810 Indian revenues are used to invest in Indian products. The revenue of Bengal is 3 mill. Pounds in 1957 but by the 1820 its 22 mill. Besides the triangular trade you also have about 6 million pounds sent back to Britain in the form of home charges and bullion. These were charges required of colonial subjects for being governed. During the 1810 we see the rise of free trade ideas, with the impact of Smith particularly and therefore a growing criticism of the East-India company which is a monopoly, an old form of trade. The idea is that it should be broken so that other private manufacturers can sell in the east which leads to the charter act, ending the company’s monopoly in India. At the same time it is still the government so it has control of who enters india. The East-India company was coming more under the control of Britain though, especially after the two acts that followed. So it can’t really oppose trade in India but it is still on the ground controlling it. After the 1850s India becomes a market for British goods. By 1820s Chinese tea replaces India
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