The State During the British Raj: Imperial Governance in South Asia 1700-1947

ISBN : 9780199408535

Ilhan Niaz
328 Pages
160 x 238 mm
Pub date
Aug 2020
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This book explores institutional development in British India which encompassed both the modernization of existing practices and arrangements (such as the bureaucracy and the military) and the importation of alien practices (such as the rule of law, representation, and mass politics). During the nearly two centuries of British political and military domination of South Asia, the institutional basis for Indias and Pakistans colonial democracies was laid. For varied reasons, South Asian elites have been reluctant to engage with the history of British India as a state that was very much the successor of the Timurid (Mughal) Empire and the precursor to the republics of contemporary South Asia. This study argues in favour of re-engagement with the processes of institutional development in South Asia and the manner in which the arbitrarily run estates of the pre-British Indian periods were gradually converted into form, and to a limited extent, imbued with the substance, of a modern constitutional state as a direct result of British rule. Given that the crisis of governance in South Asia arises in part from the inability of Indian and Pakistani elites to operate the institutional frameworks bequeathed to them and reform them further, it is hoped that this study will provide historical context to discussions about crises of governance in South Asia.


1. The Rise and Fall of the House of Timur and the Struggle for Timurid Imperial Succession
2. The British Indian State and the Emergence of Civilian Supremacy
3. Civilian Meritocracy and the Higher Bureaucracy in British India
4. The Peace of the Realm: Law and Order and the British Empire in India
5. Representation and the Raj: The Origins and Development of South Asian Colonial Democracy
6. The Raj and the Sovereign Law in India

About the author: 

Ilhan Niaz is the author of several books including Old World Empires: Cultures of Power and Governance in Eurasia The Culture of Power and Governance of Pakistan, 1947-2008 , and An Inquiry into the Culture of Power of the Subcontinent. His work has been published in journals including The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, Asian Affairs, Asian Profile, The New Zealand Journal of Asian Studies, South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies, and The Journal of South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies. The Culture of Power and Governance of Pakistan was awarded best non-fiction book of 2010 at the Karachi Literature Festival and has also received the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan (HEC) Award for best book in social sciences, arts, and humanities for 2010. Old World Empires: Cultures of Power and Governance in Eurasia received the HEC award for best book in social sciences for 2013-14. Niaz is also the recipient of the Kodikara Award for 2013 (RCSS, Colombo).

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