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Ritu Birla (12)

Indigenous movements of reform and improvement

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Ritu Birla

th November 14 How the east India company begins to develop an ideology of governing, how does a private, joint stock company begin to legitimize itself as a state? Review The revenue taken from the land that finances the trade is how they enter the state and then the establishment of the law of property which starts an interest in th th profitable agriculture and textiles and then late 18 c and early 19 the triangular tea trade and later the company’s monopoly on indigo and as in 1813 the monopoly is abolished, the east India company is already a government. The resistance to it is th also a major part, existing consistently throughout the 19 c. even as it is being established. Why haven’t historians studied how peasants dealt with the colonial state and its because there has been a template on what politics is, writing petitions etc. so the acts haven’t been recognized as political but rather as disturbances and unlawful acts. th The aim of moral improvement that begins early 19 c. as the colonial state takes on a role as a civilizing power, not just as a profit power. Instead it begins to assume the throne, through the liberal process. What are British ideologies of reform? Then what are the indigenous movements? The English Utalitarians in India text, important for understanding how the Brits begin to articulate a range of reforms. The biggest tension is between improvement, as a liberal project (eg. Case of punishment and prisons, which up to then was always corporal, introduces the idea of rehabilitation and improvement, which is very much modern). The idea is that you can go to far away places and improve savages, part of colonial power is the missionary interest of improvement. The liberals are also interested in improving criminals and working classes at home. On the other hand are the conservatives, people like Edmond Burke, who emphasize the long history and tradition, not losing the past, if improvement is implemented then the past shouldn’t be erased and forgotten. So how the british tension map out in the Indian context? Three strands of ideology begin to legitimize the company: • The doctrine of free trade- pull india out of social and economic stagnation • Utalitarianism- Bentham and Mill, efficiency of government • Evangelicalism- a religious project about direct intervention in indigenous religion but also a project of improvement through God. The relationship between improvement and preservation: In india the tension is between Orientalists and Anglicists- the former being the ones who dig up and read all the ancient Sanskrit and Arabic texts whereas the latter want to reform the whole of society. All of this comes together on the social side but looking at the historiography (the more old fashioned poses them as a contradiction, the orientalists vs the anglicists). Some were arguing that the company Raj was completely different from previous governing whether other would argue that the company had a very orientalist ideology and was therefore a continuity of the past government. The continuity change dichotomy. However the kinds of change are more important than the contradiction, there was a symbiotic relation because the more there is a movement towards change the more there is one toward preservation. Stockes’ argument is that the British invented … He argues that they began to see themselves as innovators after their establishment, whereas before they saw themselves as a continuity of the Mughal empire. The Calcutta supreme c
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