Bureaucratic Culture in Early Colonial India: District Officials, Armed Forces, and Personal Interest under the East India Company, 1760-1830, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Bureaucratic Culture in Early Colonial India

District Officials, Armed Forces, and Personal Interest under the East India Company, 1760-1830, 1st Edition

By James Lees

Routledge India

194 pages | 3 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2019-07-04
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This book looks at how the fledgling British East India Company state of the 1760s developed into the mature Anglo-Indian empire of the 19th century. It investigates the bureaucratic culture of early Company administrators, primarily at the district level, and the influence of that culture on the nature and scope of colonial government in India. Drawing on a host of archival material and secondary sources, James Lees details the power relationship between local officials and their superiors at Fort William in Calcutta, and examines the wider implications of that relationship for Indian society.

The book brings to the fore the manner in which the Company’s roots in India were established despite its limited military resources and lack of governmental experience. It underlines how the early colonial polity was shaped by European administrators’ attitudes towards personal and corporate reputation, financial gain, and military governance.

A thoughtful intervention in understanding the impact of the Company’s government on Indian society, this volume will be of interest to researchers working within South Asian studies, British studies, administrative history, military history, and the history of colonialism.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction 2. The Company State after 1765 3. ‘The Essence of the State Itself’: Reputation and the Company’s Government 4. ‘A Gendarmerie of Last Resort’? The Roles of Armed Force, 1760–1820 5. Rangpur District, 1770–c. 1800 6. Chittagong District, 1760–c. 1800 7. The Company State in the 1820s 8. Conclusion

About the Author

James Lees is a Research Advisor at Karlstad University in Sweden. He holds an MA and a PhD in Imperial and South Asian History from King’s College London. Dr Lees’s research has examined power relations and bureaucratic culture among the European civil servants of the East India Company state in the 18th and 19th century, with a particular focus on the use of armed force in a colonial context. He has worked in research administration and policy roles at universities and funding bodies, and also taught at universities in the UK and Asia.

About the Series

War and Society in South Asia

The War and Society in South Asia series integrates and interrogates social, cultural and military histories of South Asia. The series explores social and cultural histories of South Asia’s military institutions as well as the impacts of conflict and the military on South Asian societies, polities and economies. The series reflects the varied and rich histories that connect warfare and society in South Asia from the early modern period through the colonial era to the present. By situating the histories of war and society in wider contexts, the series seeks to encourage greater understanding of the multidimensional roles played by warfare, soldiers and military institutions in South Asia’s history.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Asia / India & South Asia
HISTORY / Social History
LAW / Legal History
POLITICAL SCIENCE / History & Theory
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Colonialism & Post-Colonialism
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Regional Studies