Land and Local Kingship in Eighteenth-Century Bengal

By: John R. McLane

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This book examines the politics and culture of landholding in eastern India. Professor McLane explores the dual and sometimes conflicting roles of the zamindars, the landed chiefs, in eighteenth-century western Bengal during the decline of the Mughal empire and the rise of the British hegemony. He focuses on zamindari rent extraction, techniques of coercion, and the meaning of gift-giving and gift-receiving. He shows how the zamindars kept alive the rituals, patronage, and other traditions of normative Hindu kingship for their subjects in the villages while they extracted revenue from the peasantry and intermediate gentry for the government of the Mughals and then the English East India Company. He argues that the increased commercialization and efforts to maximize land revenues imposed severe strains on the paternalistic and gift-oriented culture of Bengal’s huge landlords. This analysis is illustrated with a case study of Bengal’s most important and controversial zamindari, the Burdwan raj. Contents List of tables; Preface and acknowledgments; List of abbreviations; Select glossary; Map of southwest Bengal; Part I. Bengal: 1. Introduction; 2. Nazims of Bengal and the large zamindars; 3. Collecting rents and revenues; 4. Coercion; 5. Political gifts and patronage; Part II. Burdwan: 6. Meghal Burdwan and the rise of the Burdwan raj; 7. Burdwan’s expansion; 8. The Maratha invasions, 1742–1751; 9. Zamindars and the transition to Company rule; 10. The famine of 1770; 11. Revenue farming, 1771–1777; 12. Zamindari family politics; the Burdwan raj, 1770–1775; 13. The politics of Burdwan family debt and marriages, 1775–1778; 14. Testing the limits, 1778–1790; 15. Burdwan under the decennial and permanent settlements; 16. Patnis and the elusive quest for independence and security; 17. Conclusion; Bibliography; Index. Printed Pages: 371.

Title: Land and Local Kingship in Eighteenth-Century Bengal

Author Name: John R. McLane

Categories: India, History, Culture, and Politics,

Edition: First Edition

Publisher: Cambridge, UK, Cambridge University Press: 2002

ISBN: 0521410746

ISBN 13: 9780521410748

Binding: Hard Cover

Book Condition: New

Jacket Condition: New

Seller ID: 024098

Keywords: Bengal Kingship