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By C. A. Bayly

In a penetrating account of the evolution of British intelligence amassing in India, C. A. Bayly indicates how networks of Indian spies, runners and political secretaries have been recruited through the British to safe information regarding their matters. He additionally examines the social and highbrow origins of those informants, and considers how the colonial specialists interpreted and infrequently misinterpreted the knowledge they provided. As Professor Bayly demonstrates, it used to be such misunderstandings which finally contributed to the failure of the British to expect the mutinies of 1857. He argues, notwithstanding, that, even earlier than this, India's complicated platforms of verbal exchange have been not easy the political and highbrow dominance of the eu rulers.

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Extra resources for Empire and Information: Intelligence Gathering and Social Communication in India, 1780-1870

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163 Of course, the social and religious values motivating Indian merchants and the controllers of bazaars were often mysterious to Europeans. They could not straightforwardly be read in terms of classical political economy. Fresh from the experience of abolishing 'restraints to trade' at home, Britons were only too quick to write off Indian social expenditures and the political exchange of gifts as bribery and extortion. They often failed to understand that magnates' shares in the produce of markets, or even the location of traders in 160 Om Prakash, Dutch Trade; Das Gupta, Surat, p.

During the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries government was becoming more paperbound; elites were slowly accumulating serviceable knowledge about the land and people. Other European and Asian states could count on much more detailed agencies of information collection and diffusion at local levels; the strength of the Indian system lay in the way it overlapped with a dense network of communication among ordinary people whose news and views were conveyed in part by letter and text, but which was maintained by a range of informal agents: physicians, mystics, astrologers, midwives and barbers.

Mishra, Banaras in Transition (17381790) (Delhi, 1975), pp. 51, 1445, 148. 2011 18:41:31] cover 179 See below, pp. 7889. C. Nandy, Life and Times of Cantoo Baboo, the Banian of Warren Hastings (Calcutta, 1981), pp. 23469. page_50 Page 51 Indian merchants who helped finance the Awadh tribute. With the outbreak of European and Indian wars after 1776, Warren Hastings made a vigorous attempt to extend the intelligence gathering capacity of the residencies. In 1782, for instance, James Grant, stationed at Hyderabad, attempted a detailed analysis of the kingdoms of the Deccan.

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