Partha Chatterjee, Early Modern Absolutism in 18th Century India


Partha Chatterjee, lecturer (male)
  • Partha Chatterjee lecture entitled "Early Modern Absolutism in 18th Century India"
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Now this "early modern" you know this term has now become very common in the writing of South Asian History, it's been circulated by historians such as Sanjay Subrahmanyam, by Sheldon Pollock in the field of literary Studies, by Jack Richards [John Richards] in writing generally about Mughal history altogether so and in fact I would say that the term is now almost routinely used for the Mughal period. Some of you may have noticed there is a recent symposium on modernity in the American Historical review the latest number and Dipesh Chakrabarty has a piece which he calls the "Muddle of Modernity" where he actually criticizes what he thinks is a somewhat loose in using the term "early modern".
He is asking what is the conceptual or theoretical purchase behind this term. And I am broadly in agreement with his criticisms but I think the term actually can be used but with more precisely defined within certain defined parameters with fairly clear theoretical objectives and that's what I will try and describe today.
The early modern must be conceptually distinguished from the Colonial modern in South Asia. The early modern is not necessarily or not yet for historians of South Asia a period. We will use the term here to characterize elements of thought or practice that have been identified as belonging to early modern historical formations in other regions of the world in recognition of the broadly similar and frequently interconnected developments in those places in the 15th through the 18th centuries.
They may be found in different regions of South Asia as innovative elements that question previously held beliefs and practices or recognize their passing because of the unstoppable sway of the new or represent novel ways of comprehending or coping with the unfamiliar. They may arise within different social strata, among elite groups or the literati or among popular classes such as artisans. The crucial historical point would be to distinguish such elements of the early modern from the recognizable components of the colonial modern. The latter may be dated from roughly the early 1830s achieving its fully developed form in the historical period of the Raj.
The reasons are as follows: it is in this period that the Indian economy acquires the form of a characteristically colonial economy. The flow of colonial trade has been reversed from the export from India of textiles and luxuries to the export of primary agricultural products and the import of industrial manufactures from Britain and the structures of colonial agrarian property, revenue credit and commodity exchange are fully in place. We shall remember as Kenneth Pomeranz has shown that the great divergence between a rapidly growing industrial Europe and a stagnant or backward China and India only began from 1800. Politically the British power is established as paramount all over the subcontinent, a violent process of warfare, conquests suppression of rebellion and unequal treaties with its associated consequences in terms of the symbols and practices of sovereignty and law that bring about a profound transformation in the character of government and politics.
In its conception and ambition as Radhika Sinha has shown the East India Company from the time it began to carry out the administration of criminal justice in the late 18th century thought of sovereignty as undivided and not just another imperial laid over the segmented political formation. Intellectually the institutions of colonial education spread from the mid 19th century as the breeding ground of new cultural styles and movements that created the Indian middle classes and shape an entire range of nationalist responses to colonial rule. The colonial modern has a recognized shape as a formation and a period in South Asian history. It also exerts the full weight of its dominance overall discussions of South Asian Modernity over the middle of the 19th century- after the middle of the 19th century.
However this would leave the earlier period of British rule from the middle of the 18th century to the 1820's or so, open to an exploration of historical possibilities of transition not teleologically pre-determined by the ascendancy of the colonial model. This is the principal justification for invoking the idea of the early modern as an agenda for history writing today. Research driven by this idea could use valuable historical resources that suggest the possibility of defining other modernities or to put it more precisely other historical sequences of modernity. The argument that such possibilities have been lost in the graveyard of the past is strictly speaking incorrect because most intellectual and cultural forms of modernity in the world have been imagined and comprehended as discoveries of the past, the very idea of the Renaissance invoked in so many places in the 16th century plays out the notion of rediscovery of the past as indeed do the ideas of reformation and revival.
Moreover within the category of the early modern in South Asia we need to make a further distinction between an absolutist and an anti-absolutist tendency. Both of these tendencies remained alive through the 19th and 20th centuries providing some of the discursive and affective resources of modern nationalisms in South Asia in their colonial as well as postcolonial phases.
An early modern history of Bengal the Siyar al-Muta'akhirin by Ghulam Hussain Tabatabai born around 1727 has been written about by Iqbal Ghani Khan. The work also occupies pride of placing Kumkum Chatterjee's discussion of Indo Persian Historiography in the late 18th century written in 1783-84 by a scholar bureaucrat resident in Murshidabad, the book has been seen as the most articulate defence of the principles of Mughal governance in a period when the Empire was in ruins and the English were firmly entrenched in Eastern India.
Kumkum Chatterjee uses the text to explain the moral world of the Mughal scholar nobles who saw themselves as vigilant protectors of the polity and advisors to Princes. I.G. Khan [Iqbal Ghani Khan] reads it primarily as a contemporary critique of British rule but one uninformed by a true understanding of colonialism. But much more can be said of this remarkable work of history.
Although the English translator of the book a somewhat mysterious man born in Istanbul who called himself Haji Mustafa and used the self-effacing nom-de-plume "Mota manus" translates the title as "Review of Modern Times." Muta'akhirin [Siyar al-Muta'akhirin] probably should not be read as having any conceptual load greater than what recent times would suggest but it is a grand history of the decline of Empire beginning with the death of Aurangzeb in 1707 and ending in 1782.
It is of course no more than a coincidence that Ghulam Hussain [Ghulam Hussain Tabatabai] wrote this book almost exactly at the same time as Edward Gibbon was writing about the Decline and Fall of another empire. In Ghulam Hussain's [Ghulam Hussain Tabatabai] account the decline of Empire takes the form of complete erosion of the authority of the person of the Emperor as the Supreme and sovereign source of Policy and Statecraft. This is the consequence of the succession of unworthy immoral and sometimes imbecile monarchs who come to sit on the throne of Delhi after the death of Aurangzeb. Even though he was a thoroughbred Mughal gentleman Ghulam Hussain [Ghulam Hussain Tabatabai] still does not pay even the ceremonial homage to the Emperor when he evaluates the monarchical characters of Jahandar Shah or Farrukhsiyar or Mohammad Shah, not to speak of those who were put on throne and removed in a matter of days.
When the monarch cannot be dependent on to make policy how is the Empire to survive? If the Empire does not survive how is the security prosperity of the people to be protected? The survival of the State then becomes subject to the profound uncertainties of chance. As far as one knows Mughals did not have any equivalent for the playful Roman Goddess "Fortuna" who was the subject of so much theorizing by historians in Europe from Polybius and Livy to Machiavelli [Niccolo Machiavelli]. But Ghulam Hussain [Ghulam Hussain Tabatabai] cannot but reflect on the element of chance that the absences of the stable legitimacy of the imperial structure could play havoc with the fate of the polity and the lives of the people.
Thus reflecting on the career of Hussain Ali Khan [Syed Hussain Ali Khan Barha], the younger Sayyid brother, he writes I am quoting "In power he seems superior to all Princes of his time nay, to several bold and character in History for having bestowed Kingdoms and crowns and conquered Empires, unfortunately neither his power nor his life lasted any length of time if they had it is highly probable that the times which we have the mortification to behold would not prove so humiliating and so deplorable as they are nor had the honor of Hindustan been thrown to the winds but as the morals of the whole nation required the iron hand of correction it is not surprising that the person and power of that hero should have been only shown to the world. The uncertainties of chance could only be brought under control by prudence, wisdom, and knowledge. The monarch could not be relied upon to provide such wisdom for that had become entirely a matter of chance.
Ghulam Hussain [Ghulam Hussain Tabatabai] places a great responsibility here on the class of Mughal scholar-nobles to defend the empire and guide it through the thicket of uncertainties. For him the heroes of the 18th century are the Sayyid Brothers, specially Hussain Ali Khan [Syed Hussain Ali Khan Barha] and Ali Wardi Khan, Shuja-ud-Daulah and Shitab Rai. None of them legitimate claimants to power, but men whose personal ability, determination. and political skills made them defenders of the polity. Given the modern fact that legitimate successors to the throne could turn out to be disasters for the Empire it was according to Ghulam Hussain [Ghulam Hussain Tabatabai] justified that able and wise men should use the methods of warfare and statecraft to seize the helm of the state. Perhaps his greatest hero was Ali Wardi Khan, yet Ali Wardi came to power by treacherously killing the Nawab Sarfaraz Khan but Ghulam Hussain [Ghulam Hussain Tabatabai] defends Ali Wardi on consequentialist grounds.
I am quoting from Ghulam Hussain [Ghulam Hussain Tabatabai] "upon the whole although on the slaying of his lord and benefactor's son was unquestionably one of the blackest actions that could be committed and one of the most abominable events that could happen yet it cannot be denied that Sarfaraz Khan had no talents for Government and no capacity for business and that had his government lasted but sometime more such a train of evils and such a series of endless confusions would have been the consequence of his incapacity that disorders without number and disturbances without end would have arisen insensibly and would have brought ruin and desolation on these countries and their inhabitants." Although Ghulam Hussain [Ghulam Hussain Tabatabai] is detailed and articulate in his explication of the arts of diplomacy he is also clear about the role of the force in statecraft.
He did not believe that the new laws or practices could be established in the country merely by the power of persuasion quote "and indeed if the promulgation of new principles depended entirely on argument and reason why should the prince of Prophets and chief of messengers have received order to fight from the lord of the creation? He who was confessedly in the most eloquent man of his time whether in Arabia or in Iran." An essential element of the art of controlling the uncertain effects of chance in the Political arena was moral conduct. Although Ghulam Hussain [Ghulam Hussain Tabatabai] maintains the conventional religious forms of piety by asserting the authority of the Quran, he actually seems to adopt a more consequentialist view of political ethics. Thus morally correct behavior he says makes it less likely for enemies to find fault with a ruler, hence he has greater goodwill and support in times of ill fortune.
Immoral conduct on the other hand is more likely to expedite the consequences of ill fortune. Thus, says Ghulam Hussain [Ghulam Hussain Tabatabai], the immoralities and cruelties of the members of Ali Wardi's family hastened the calamities that struck Bengal. Quote "it produced a series of events that proved fatal to that power and dominion which Ali Wardi Khan had been rearing in so much bodily labor and so much toil. It lighted up a blind fire which soon after these two murders commenced emitting smoke and which breaking out in flames at last destroyed in its progresses all that numerous family and extending its ravages far and near, consumed everything in those once happy regions of Bengal."
While Ghulam Hussain [Ghulam Hussain Tabatabai] apparently defends an ethical code established over the long duration of the Mughal State he is clearly most concerned about the uncertainties in applying that code in a world where the certitudes of authority, loyalty, trust, or well established precedent, all of those things on which a stable moral order is built, could not be relied upon anymore. What is ethical politics in such a world? This we might say is the crucial early modern question in Ghulam Hussain's [Ghulam Hussain Tabatabai] history. One of his answers is to say that whereas the duty of self preservation must become paramount in such a world one should not for that reason forget the future consequences of one's present actions. He talks for instance of the noble act of Mirza Amir Beg who after the capture of Calcutta by Siraj-ud-Daulah delivered a number of English women to the Company's ships several miles downstream.
Aamir Beg refused the reward that the English offered him saying that what he has done was only expected from a man of honour. Ghulam Hussain [Ghulam Hussain Tabatabai] then launches into an attack on those Muslims who would lay their hands upon the properties and honour of other people in times of chaos. Quote "self defence only becomes our right by which it is meant that if anyone should attack our life, honour or property and injury is not otherwise to be prevented we have then a right nay we are obliged to repel it by whatever means are in our power this unquestionably is lawful to us but not that out of ambition and covetousness we should on those accounts expose to imminent danger both to ourselves and the people of God." Because ties of loyalty and kinship no longer meant anything it was even more important for a ruler to choose the right officers and advisors. Mir Qasim for instance was an able administrator well understood that the English would not countenance his independence and would try to remove him by force.
He reasoned that to face up to the English battle he would have to adopt their military methods. But he made a great error to choosing Gurgin Khan as his commander. This is the Armenian his real name is Gurugorian became Gurgin Khan because although the Armenian tried to inject European discipline into Mir Qasim's army Gurgin [Gurgin Khan] himself had never seen battle. He turned out to be a reckless general. One of the most memorable and moving stories running through the 4 volumes is the author's account of his relations with his father Syed Hidayat Ali Khan who was a senior nobleman in the Delhi court but estranged from the author's immediate family. Hidayat Ali [Syed Hidayat Ali Khan] became an advisor to the Prince Ali Gauhar later to become Emperor Shah Alam the II [Shah Alam II], in the days following the battle of Plassey [Battle of Plassey] there is an occasion when Ghulam Hussain [Ghulam Hussain Tabatabai] is in the court of Ram Narayan the Governor of Patna and Ali Gauhar [Shah Alam II] is approaching Bengal from Allahabad with the imperial army.
Ghulam Hussain [Ghulam Hussain Tabatabai] is sent by Ram Narayan as his emissary to persuade the Prince to make peace with the English. Ghulam Hussain [Ghulam Hussain Tabatabai] meets his father and argues that since he knew that the Imperial army he was badly led and provisioned it would be prudent of him to persuade Prince Ali Gauhar [Shah Alam II] to make peace or at least for Hidayat Ali [Syed Hidayat Ali Khan] to leave the imperial camp. Hidayat Ali [Syed Hidayat Ali Khan] rejects the suggestion outright saying that the house of Timur has never been fateless to anyone. As events unfold the old Mughal nobleman becomes aware that traditional practices of trust and loyalty had collapsed. Ghulam Hussain [Ghulam Hussain Tabatabai] tries to instruct his father in the new morality of politics but without success. While Ghulam Hussain [Ghulam Hussain Tabatabai] rapidly adapts himself to the new world in which English arms and diplomatic maneuver had become unstoppable, old Hidayat Ali [Syed Hidayat Ali Khan] slowly recedes into retirement, bitterness and oblivion.
Ghulam Hussain's [Ghulam Hussain Tabatabai] understanding of European Political and Military motives was not naive, he well understood the hostilities between the English and the French in Europe and America and how they were being played out in India. What greatly impressed him however was the mutual respect shown by the English and the French towards each other even in their enmity. Thus he speaks admiringly of the courtesy shown to the French general Jean Law after his surrender to the English and the boorishness of the Indian soldiers who were completely unable to appreciate this gesture towards a defeated officer. Ghulam Hussain [Ghulam Hussain Tabatabai] also knew a great deal of the fraction fights within the East India officials [East India Company] in Calcutta although all of his information must have been hearsay. The third volume of the Siyar [Siyar al-Muta'ahirin] contains the frequently discussed passages in which Ghulam Hussain [Ghulam Hussain Tabatabai] summarizes his evaluation of English rule in India, in Bengal.
He was fully convinced that fighting the English with traditional Indian methods of warfare was futile. The large Indian armies were he said like cities in motion: slow, undisciplined, unaccustomed to command. Here was perhaps the greatest technical advantage that the English had one that was recognized by both European and Indian observers. Indeed we know that the East India Company's Directors in London were urging their officials in Bengal as early as 1765 to prevent quote "letting any European officer's soldiers enter into the service the country government and discourage as far as in your power all military improvements among them." They thought that the progress that the natives make in the knowledge of part of war both in Bengal and on the coast of Coromandel is become a very alarming circumstance but Ghulam Hussain [Ghulam Hussain Tabatabai] went a step further in suggesting that this military superiority of the English was the result of the many new sciences that the English had acquired.
He mentions Mohammad Hussain Fazl who had travelled to England and returned to Murshidabad but unfortunately he says no one there was interested in the new knowledge he had brought back. Needless to say this echoes the observation of another earlier visitor to England, I write about him earlier so let me skip over this. Nevertheless Ghulam Hussain [Ghulam Hussain Tabatabai] notes given the fateless characters of the times, the English were deeply suspicious of Indians, they were intent on assuming direct management of the affairs of State and without the assistance of the Indians but the result was likely to be unfortunate. The English would not have a sufficient knowledge of the country and its practices and could even be misled by ill chosen and malevolent Indians. Thus while English institutions were often admirable their greatest defect was that the English themselves did not converse with Indians and were thus secluded and isolated from the people they ruled.
Ghulam Hussain [Ghulam Hussain Tabatabai] noticed a significant contradiction in the English political institutions as he saw them in Calcutta. Clive he says had absolute power. No Governor had ever had such power in India, this was the key to his rapid success but soon the council in Calcutta was divided into parties and factions and the process of decision making by consultation and vote with directions being sought from London became so slow that the business of government was completely stalled making it impossible for ordinary people to get remedies. Interestingly Ghulam Hussain [Ghulam Hussain Tabatabai] gives an admiring account of Hyder Ali as a ruler who had acquired absolute power and was training his troops in European methods of warfare. One can see here not only a characteristic early modern moment where the collapse of Empire and of older forms of political virtue leads to a surge for a new defence of the State but also the modality of that new Statecraft which is strongly absolutist [absolutism] indicating a preference for decisive leadership in the face of an unstable and uncertain political world.
If this is one side of Ghulam Hussain's [Ghulam Hussain Tabatabai] political theory the surge for a wise, valorous, knowledgeable and strategically adept Prince with absolute powers, even if that Prince is devoid of any traditional legitimacy who will defend the State as the pre-condition for peace and order and for the security and the prosperity of the people, there is also a contradictory side. This appears as a defense of old fashioned Mughal principles but already contains the germ of something else. In the third volume of the Siyar [Siyar al-Muta'ahirin], Ghulam Hussain [Ghulam Hussain Tabatabai] outlines a theory of government for India. He talks of the natural conditions that make India a country where the comforts and riches of life are easy to acquire. This he says makes the goal of Government simply the maintenance of the conditions of the ease and prosperity of the inhabitants. All governments in India have been premised on conquest but all of the conquerors had been absorbed into the established structures of rules and institutions.
Even the dogmatic Aurangzeb did not meddle with these established practices. After his death even when the monarchs were personally worthless, the institutions carried on as before. There is a hint here of something like an ancient constitution that Ghulam Hussain [Ghulam Hussain Tabatabai] believed lay at the core of Government in India regardless of dynasties and regimes. The difficulty with the English as he saw it was that they were either ignorant of these established rules or paid scant respect to them. As a result the people could not get the protections and benefits that they expected from Government. Interestingly, if Ghulam Hussain [Ghulam Hussain Tabatabai] was here defending a Mughal political tradition it is not the theory of imperial sovereignty that he was defending but rather the function of Government in looking after the people. It was in looking after the people that Ghulam Hussain [Ghulam Hussain Tabatabai] found the English to be failing.
The contradiction between a desire for a new Absolutist State [absolutism] and a respect for the ancient constitution also surfaces in Ghulam Hussain's [Ghulam Hussain Tabatabai] deep suspicion and disapproval of the class of Zamindars. Historians have seen in the rise of Zamindars and other intermediaries in the 18th century a major structural change in the social formations in many regions of India. Ghulam Hussain [Ghulam Hussain Tabatabai] sees them as clear threats to the viability of the empire and as constant danger to both nobility and peasants. The centralizing impetus in him would curb the autonomy and power of the Zamindars, he is thus critical of the English for not realizing this. On the other hand the English appeared to recognize the power of the Zamindars because they had traditional authority over the localities. Ghulam Hussain [Ghulam Hussain Tabatabai] of course talks about the wealth that the English were carrying back with them from India.
In some ways this made them like Nadir Shah of the Abdalis. I.G. Khan [Iqbal Ghani Khan] makes much of this as the first of Indian analysis of the economic drain introduced by British colonial rule. The drain of course here consisted of the presents demanded by the company officials [East India Company] from Indians who sought their protection or favours. Ghulam Hussain [Ghulam Hussain Tabatabai] is entirely right in identifying this as a corrupt practice of Government and it was already being criticized as such in Britain. On the other hand I.G. Khan's [Iqbal Ghani Khan] criticism of Ghulam Hussain [Ghulam Hussain Tabatabai] as someone who failed to perceive the true nature of colonialism seems hugely anachronistic. It is doubtful that the colonial economy of the mid 19th century was even conceivable in the 1780's, rather Ghulam Hussain [Ghulam Hussain Tabatabai] seems extremely perceptive in identifying the political elements of English rule that already made the new rulers of Eastern India radically different from all previous rulers. They did not know and were making few efforts to learn the languages of the country. They had abandoned the age old practice of granting audiences and making themselves directly approachable to their subjects.
Their new judicial procedures were slow, cumbersome and largely incomprehensible to the people. They preferred to import all the necessaries and luxuries of their life from their own country thus depriving local producers of the patronage of their rulers and also making permanent the gulf between the rulers and their subjects. In short Ghulam Hussain [Ghulam Hussain Tabatabai] clearly saw within two decades of the foundation of British rule in India that unlike earlier conquerors these rulers would not adapt themselves to the customs of the country but on the contrary try to change local practices to suit their own interests. This is the most significant aspect of Ghulam Hussain's [Ghulam Hussain Tabatabai] evaluation of the first two decades of British rule. His understanding of the potentially radical nature of the changes that the English were introducing in the institutions of law, sovereignty and Government.
Ghulam Hussain [Ghulam Hussain Tabatabai] certainly did not regard the English as one more Indian player in a game whose rules had been framed by Indians as some recent British historians would have us believe, on the contrary the absolutist principles he appeared to be endorsing as a response to the situation that had emerged in India in the late 18th century could suggest contrary to his own declared allegiances the possibility of direct resistances to British power. The remaining section deals with Tipu Sultan as an early modern absolutist monarch. A great deal of what is claimed on the subject of the house of Mysore, Hyder Ali and Tipu [Tipu Sultan] is either myth or conjecture, what we do know with relative certainty is that Hyder [Hyder Ali] was the son of a soldier of fortune who although resolving, I am quoting from one of the chronicles "resolving not to remain like foxes lurking in the holes and corners of obscurity went through many vicissitudes in life". Hyder's [Hyder Ali] childhood was spent in circumstances that were quite humble and he did not get any education.
Entering the Mysore army as a cavalry officer he soon formed his own core of men armed with flintlocks and bayonets backed by European gunners. Involving himself in the politics of the Wadiyar court of Mysore Hyder [Hyder Ali] eventually displaced the Nanjaraj the Prime Minister, made the Raja a prisoner in his own palace and took over power in 1761. He expanded the territories of the Mysore state by subjugating a series of local chiefs in the Kannada and the Tamil regions; he came into confrontation with the British in the 1767 to 1769 the war [First Anglo-Mysore War] ending with the British suing for peace. The first time they would do so with an Indian power, reason was Hyder's [Hyder Ali] superior cavalry which paralysed the British army on a hilly terrain. His soldiers too were a new breed; "I never saw black troops behave so bravely as Hyder's" [Hyder Ali] wrote a captain of the company's army, "all his foot were led on by Europeans, by the late 1770's he had a sizeable army with about 28000 horses, 55000 foot and a number of rocket-men and a few Atish and a few hundred French soldiers.
Even though according to Bussy one of his French officers Hyder [Hyder Ali] was contemptuous of these French soldiers because of their shameful cupidity. He appreciated their value in his confrontation with the British. Hyder [Hyder Ali] put together a confederacy with the Marathas [Maratha] and the Nizam of Hyderabad to challenge the rising British power in Southern India. In 1780 he defeated a British force under the command of Colonel Baillie [William Baillie] at Pollilur [Battle of Pollilur] at seized Arcot. A French officer in Hyder's [Hyder Ali] army wrote quote "there is not in India an example of a similar defeat of British army" but the British managed to break up the confederacy and defeat Hyder's [Hyder Ali] forces in three battles in 1781. Hyder's [Hyder Ali] genius for which as we have seen he earned the admiration of Ghulam Hussain [Ghulam Hussain Tabatabai] lay in his skillful adoption of European military tactics in order to stand up to the apparently unstoppable ascendancy of the British.
In his role as ruler however Hyder [Hyder Ali] was doubtless an autocrat but he did not innovate preferring instead to leave intact the existing institutions of governance in the territories he conquered. The only significant element of economic reorganization he introduced was the attempt to collect land taxes directly from the cultivator rather than through local feudatories. When Hyder [Hyder Ali] died in 1782 his son Tipu [Tipu Sultan] was a young man in his early 30's who had already made a reputation as a General of great courage and ability. Trained by French officers he had led his troops to victory against a British contingent on the banks of the river Coleroon in 1782. Succeeding his father Tipu [Tipu Sultan] first made peace with the British in 1784 but after declaring himself Padshah he sent out diplomatic missions to secure political alliances with the Sultan of Turkey and with France.
His letter to Sultan Abdul Hamid of Turkey [Abdul Hamid I] shows that Tipu [Tipu Sultan] had a perfectly clear idea of the historical threat posed by the British power in India. Quote "as a result of the revolution of fortunes and chances of events the Timurid Empire in Hindustan [Mughal] has become very weak since long and no powerful and resolute scion of the family has sat on the throne for sometime past." Consequently villainous Christians who were in the ports of India in the garb of traders and intent upon creating trouble and chaos were the connivance of some of the commanders who were unmindful of their duty and were engrossed with falsehood brought under their domination the vast territories of Bengal and half of the territories of the Deccan. They let loose floods of tyranny over the masses of the people in general and then began attacking the honour of the people followers of Islam in particular.
In his mission to Louis the 16th [Louis XVI] he asked for 10,000 French troops to fight the English in India, he also suggested that
the French monarch called quote "out of his ancient regard for some persons skilled in every art especially canon founders, ship builders, manufacturers of China ware, glass and mirror makers, engineers, mechanics, gold plating experts etc." Neither of these missions were successful but Tipu's [Tipu Sultan] enmity with the British grew rapidly when he attacked Travancore a British ally in 1789 it led to war with the East India Government company. For 2 years Tipu [Tipu Sultan] held his own against the British forces until Lord Cornwallis laid siege to Tipu's capital. Hostilities were ended in 1792 but the treaty of Seringapatam, in which Tipu [Tipu Sultan] surrendered half his territories, paid 30 million rupees, and handed over 2 of his sons Abdul Haliq aged 8 and Moizuddin aged 5 as hostages to the British.
Tipu [Tipu Sultan] however continued his efforts to seek military help against the British from the revolutionary Government in France, he proposed to quote "the Sardars of the French nation" that there be friendship between the "Hodadad Sarkar" and the nation of the Sarkar and the French nation" and that the 10000 French soldiers and 30000 "habshi" or negro soldiers along with ships of war be sent to India. Quote "happy moment" I am quoting from a letter from Tipu's [Tipu Sultan] letter "happy moment the time has come when I can deposit in the bosom of my friends the hatred which I bare against these oppressors of the human race. You will assist me in a short time, if you will assist me in a short time not an Englishmen shall remain in India, you have the power and the means of affecting it by your free Negros with these new citizens much dreaded by the English join to your troops of the like we will purge India of these cursed villains." Generals representing the directory corresponded with 'Sitoyon Tipu Sultan' promising friendship but with no specific military assistance.
Napoleon Bonaparte wrote to quote "our greatest friend Tipu Saheb" [Tipu Sultan] from Cairo quote this is Napoleons letter "You have already been informed of my arrival from the borders of the Red Sea with an innumerable and invincible army full of the desire of delivering you from the iron yoke of England. I eagerly embrace this opportunity of testifying to you the desire I have of being informed by you by the way of Muscat and Mopar as to your political situation, I would even wish you could send some intelligent person to Suez or Cairo possessing your confidence with whom I may confirm." The letter never reached Tipu [Tipu Sultan], because it was intercepted by British agents in Jeddah. Most historians agree that they were little serious intention among the French Generals of the time to launch a campaign across the Indian Ocean but for Richard Wellesley the Governor General the intercepted letters became a godsend.
He had already drawn up his plans for invading Tipu's [Tipu Sultan] territories now he had his reason. Emphasizing the alarming possibility that Napoleon's forces in Egypt might proceed towards India and join up with their ally in Mysore Wellesley [Richard Wellesley] stormed Tipu's [Tipu Sultan] capital at Seringapatam in 1799. Fighting alongside his troops Tipu [Tipu Sultan] was killed in the battle. Irfan Habib has recently elaborated the argument that Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan were modernizing rulers. Hyder's [Hyder Ali] modernizing efforts were largely confined Habib [Irfan Habib] says to introducing European techniques and discipline into his army. In this he was something of a pioneer his example being followed by several other Indian rulers such as the Nizam of Hyderabad, the Maratha general Mahadji Scindia and later Ranjit Singh of Punjab.
Tipu's [Tipu Sultan] efforts on modernization were more comprehensive even though Habib [Irfan Habib] notes his intellectual horizons quoting "his intellectual horizons remain restricted to the old inherited learnings. There is no evidence that Tipu [Tipu Sultan] had any conception of the new theoretical sciences or enlightened philosophy if the West. Thus despite his many modernizing projects concludes Habib Tipu [Tipu Sultan] and his Mysore was still far away from a real opening to modern civilization". We have argued above however that is simple characterization about his regime as modernizing does not get us far enough. We need to make finer distinctions within the category of the modern in order to locate the tendency more precisely in historical time as well as evaluate the discursive resources the tendency created for future use. Burton Stein has made the argument for regarding Tipu Sultan's regime in Mysore as a case of military fiscalism the form of centralized revenue organization of the national state that emerged in early modern western Europe principally as an instrument for conducting wars against foreign powers.
It involved in the main the elimination of tribute paying petty lordships and their replacement by State officials collecting taxes' directly from producers. The system that Tipu [Tipu Sultan] introduced in the territories of the Mysore State insisted on the responsibility of village headman to keep up full production on village lands and maintain complete records. It required collectors to give separate receipts to each cultivator for each installment of the land tax which had to be collected in cash; it encouraged cultivation on waste lands and introduction of commercial crops such as sugarcane, sericulture and timber for military and commercial use. It brought revenue-free lands owned by religious establishments into a regime of full revenue collection. It encouraged revenue officials to themselves engage in trade and to bring barren lands into cultivation it initiated irrigation works under State auspices, it established gun foundries and saltpeter factories under State ownership.
On the commercial side his system introduced State trading in valuable commodities such as sandal wood, silk, spices, coconut, rice, sulfur and elephants. It set up State own Kothis [kothi] or trading houses enabling on the western coast as far as far north as Kutch and in Madras, Pondicherry, Hyderabad and Muscat. These trading houses were to be run by trained officials operating with capital advanced by the State. The Sultan himself was to exercise close supervision upon the activities of these Kothis [kothi]. Following these examples of the European mercantilist powers [mercantilism] he sought to impose a State monopoly on foreign trade, prohibiting private traders from importing any foreign commodities except horses, elephants, mules, camels and guns and banning all trade contacts with Madras the seat of British power in South India. In fact he virtually imposed a blockade on all trades between Mysore and the British.
He also tried to obtain from the Ottoman Sultan lease rights or izara in the port of Busra so that he could like the European powers establish trading factories and dock his ships there during the rainy season in India. In exchange he was prepared to offer similar rights to Ottoman traders in one of his ports on the western coast. Finally the central treasury provided funding for the construction of sea going merchant and naval vessels. It is clear that Tipu's [Tipu Sultan] efforts at economic reorganization were prompted by a conscious understanding of the sources of European dominance. As he explained to his ambassadors, "the Christian officials who dominate the world have been able to do so only because of their mastery in trade and industry. The good kings of Islam could promote their religion only by paying attention to these factors."
In addition one must mention the remarkable political fact that on being rebuffed by the Imperial court in Delhi Tipu [Tipu Sultan] began to use the title Padshah for himself, mint coins on his own without mentioning the Mughal Emperor, send embassies to the Sultan of Turkey and the king of France and thus claimed the status of sovereign. His neighbouring rulers such as the Nizam of Hyderabad or the Maratha Peshwas [Peshwa] would grant him nothing more than a grudging address of Nawab. The court of Shah Alam the II [Shah Alam II] insisted that he could get only a rank subordinate to the Nizam who was the viceroy of all of southern India but Tipu [Tipu Sultan] claimed to have founded a Sultanate "Khudadad" a kingdom given by God. It is said that Tipu [Tipu Sultan] sought and obtained from the Ottoman Sultan Selim [Selim III] is the latter's capacity as Caliph confirmation of his claim sovereignty over the kingdom of Mysore but there appears to be no record of such a document and Irfan Habib argues that Tipu [Tipu Sultan] considered the Sultan of Turkey as an equal and not an superior.
Interestingly the same Embassy that went to Turkey was expected to continue its journey in France and Britain and Tipu [Tipu Sultan] instructed his envoys to complain to the King of the English about their atrocities and oppression that were being committed in India by the men of his nation and demanded the return of the fort of Tiruchirapalli that had been treacherously taken from the Mysore ruler by the English in collusion with the ally Mohammad Ali [Mohammad Ali Khan Wallajah] whom he called the Amin or revenue collector of the Karnataka. This was the Nawab of Arcot [Mohammad Ali Khan Wallajah], all of this evidence suggests that Tipu [Tipu Sultan] represented probably the strongest example of the early modern idea who we have already encountered in Ghulam Hussain [Ghulam Hussain Tabatabai] of legitimacy deriving not necessarily from lineage or recognition but from the sheer personal ability of a monarch to hold effective power and sustain the polity.
Absolutist monarchies always have this strongly decisionist [decisionism] character where sovereignty lies precisely in the personal power of the monarch to make decisions without regard for traditional rules or precedent and without being bound by any ancient constitution. For that is the power that is required to preserve the State, Carl Schmitt has pointed out that this decisionist [decisionism] character of absolutist sovereignty derives from the mythology of the omnipotent god as in Hobbes' Leviathan [Thomas Hobbes], this insight provides us with an angle to consider Tipu's [Tipu Sultan] repeated invocation of his faith in Islam. Tipu [Tipu Sultan] minted coins not in his own name but by declaring God as the all powerful sovereign, Muhammad as his prophet and Hyder ie. Ali [Hyder Ali] as the hero of Islam.
This as Irfan Habib has pointed out gives to his rein an aura of his religious militancy that was entirely absent in Mughal imperial politics in the 18th century. The attempt to explain Tipu's [Tipu Sultan] many actions in relation to Muslims, Hindus and Christians in terms of a consistent ideology has led to much confusion with some accusing him of being a hateful fanatic and others claiming that he made numerous grants to Hindu temples and promoted Hindu officials to senior positions in his Government. It is possible however to argue that in the strategic aspects of his Politics Tipu [Tipu Sultan] was not a Zealot at all but entirely pragmatic dealing with Christians and Hindus both within and outside his kingdom according to the dictates of policy. On the claim to legitimacy of his personal authority and the sovereign foundation of his State however he needed to assert with the fullest force of conviction the claim that his was a Kingdom given by God himself to further the cause of Islam and that there were no limits to his absolute authority except those that God might choose to impose on him.
This was a new almost revolutionary political claim unknown in the traditional culture of Mughal politics. Tipu [Tipu Sultan] was also far more interventionist in the reform of social practices than other Indian rulers whether Hindu or Muslim. He banned the consumption of liquor and intoxicants in his kingdom; he banned prostitution and employment of female slaves in domestic service. He tried to stop polyandry in Malabar and Coorg, he decreed that Malabar women could not go outside their homes without covering the upper half of their bodies. He stopped human sacrifice at the Kali temple in Mysore. In order to control wasteful expenses on festivities he ordered that a village should not spend more than 1% of its wealth on charities and festivals. The distinctness of the Mysore regime in late 19th century India was very much noticed by British officials of the East India Company.
Indeed their perception of Hyder [Hyder Ali] and Tipu [Tipu Sultan] as fearsome and formidable enemies was undoubtedly shaped by the idea that they were quite unlike other Indian rulers and more like ambitious and energetic rulers in the European world, in the western world. In his analysis of Tipu's [Tipu Sultan] regime Burton Stein acknowledged Tipu's [Tipu Sultan] success in intensifying the penetration of money and markets into the Mysore economy and in simultaneously bringing economic institutions under greater State control through Fiscal methods and State trading. But Stein [Burton Stein] argued that the Political shell of patrimonial Sultanism that Tipu [Tipu Sultan] continued to hold was incompatible with the new tendencies he sought to promote. Before Stein [Burton Stein], Ashok Sen had compared Tipu's [Tipu Sultan] regime with the absolute monarchies of Europe operating in accordance with the political economic foundations.
Interestingly because of their focus in State formations and thus on the long term structural conditions or historical transitions none of these historians regarded the contingent outcomes of the military confrontation between Tipu [Tipu Sultan] and the British as significant in determining the fate of Military fiscalism or mercantile absolutism [mercantilism] in India. On the contrary Stein made a strong argument that the military fiscalist [military fiscalism] methods introduced by Tipu [Tipu Sultan] were in fact continued under the administration of the East India Company in the 19th century. While Sen suggested that absolutist methods [absolutism] relying solely on the State bureaucracy to bring about a social transformation were bound to fail if autonomous productive initiatives did not emerge from civil society. This argument cannot be left hanging at the point it had reached in the mid 1980's.
More can be and needs to be said today about the absolutist [absolutism] early modern in South Asian history. In particular if we can get rid of the idea easier today than it was 25 years ago that historical transitions to modernity everywhere must follow some familiar trajectories already witnessed in Europe or North America that military fiscalism or mercantile absolutism must for instance lead to an English style industrial revolution then we would be better able to appreciate the continued relevance both discursive and affective of the absolutist early modern in the colonial and postcolonial history of South Asia. Specifically we can list the following elements of the absolutist early modern tendency in 18th century India which are relevant in evaluating historical potentialities of change in the so called Orient before European dominance and with it the forms of colonial modernity became resisted.
These are elements that allow for a comparative discussion of regimes such as Mohammad Ali's Egypt, Ottoman Turkey in the period of reforms and not least Japan after the Meiji Restoration. First in the context of the search by European powers for aggressive commercial expansion and territorial conquests in the East, the absolutist early modern tendency shows a new and greatly heightened awareness of the question of State sovereignty. Rulers who may be said to represent this tendency were more conscious than others before them of the need to assert against foreign challenges. Their sovereign jurisdiction over their territories, fortifications and economic resources. Second, such rulers became conversant with a new way of comparing their powers with that of others of observing the sources of the superiority of others and of trying to emulate them in order to match their powers.
Third, they identified novel ways of deploying the means of power through new techniques of discipline especially in the sphere of military technologies and manpower. Fourth, in order to strengthen their military and fiscal resources these rulers began to use their sovereign powers of the State to intervene in and change political, social and economic institutions sometimes in radical ways. They produce states that were not only autocratic but also absolutist and interventionist. Finally the absolutist early modern tendency responded to the new historical conditions of uncertainty and instability not by reasserting a conservative dogma of dynastic legitimacy but rather by emphasizing the personal qualities of effective and decisive leadership displayed by the Prince. In this sense the absolutist element in this early modern tendency was not an element of conservative restoration but potentially revolutionary. I will stop here because probably I don't have very much time for discussion but I am happy to answer your questions. Thank You.
Ayesha Jalal: Thank you Professor, for the fascinating paper. I just wonder though I am of course in agreement with much of what you say but I do have a slight difficulty with the term absolutism as it is being utilised I mean we all sort of have been to believe that at least the Mughal State and many of the polities that follow were far less absolutist than have been perceived by orientalist scholarship but more importantly listening to you suggest that Tipu's polity was different. I think the Mughals did have claims to universal sovereignty and the notion of ...that the ruler is actually a slave of God and therefore is responsible ultimately to God and the importance of Adl- justice I think it was important for the Mughals as well.
My question is really the contrast that you very rightly draw between the Indian versions of early modern that you talk about and the colonial state, I mean to what extent is this a product of a move away from personalized sovereignty to an impersonalized sovereignty which becomes a defining feature of the modern State and while I am sympathetic to again to the early modern concept I wonder whether there isn't something that we need to consider, I mean I do think that the British brought about something qualitatively different and I am completely in agreement with you but what about the modernizing impulses of the state.
You mentioned Radhika's [Radhika Singha] work and I think what struck me about Radhika's [Radhika Singha] work was precisely the notion that she brings in the distinction between the civilizing mission and the imperatives of the modern State, so would you say that there is something about impersonalized sovereignty you referred to Mohammad Ali's Egypt, the Ottomans that we need to further sort of need to figure, there's lots of questions here so I apologize but I do think that in terms of this absolutist idea [absolutism] and the distinction you draw with the Mughals [Mughal] I am not so sure that it was absent in the Mughals and then of course the distinction you draw with the colonial State as well and what about the modernizing state?
Chatterjee [Partha Chatterjee]: You see there are two points there, actually separate, they may be related. One is the invocation of God in order to justify or even shore up a certain legitimacy of the imperial authority, now the important thing that characterises Tipu's [Tipu Sultan] invocation of God is that he has no traditional legitimacy at all. You see this is what's really characteristic, in the case of the Mughals [Mughal] once the Empire is established there is authority I mean there is a dynasty, there are rules of succession, right and you are claiming that the same throne, the same Timurid succession and so on continuing and there is God above who as it were blessing all this. In the case of Tipu [Tipu Sultan] there is something very radically new. There is no such thing in the case of Tipu [Tipu Sultan].
Tipu [Tipu Sultan] or at least Hyder [Hyder Ali] has completely seized power right seized power through violent means and yet Tipu [Tipu Sultan] has been constantly rebuffed by what is regarded as The Padshah, right, and the imperial court. Tipu [Tipu Sultan] asserts I am Padshah and in order to do this he says I am Padshah because God has made me Padshah, now this is a very different claim that he's making and this is what I am suggesting is important about this kind of absolutism because in the act the only point that we can observe this in the late 18th century is of course this moment of formation because this does'nt lead anywhere as we know I mean Tipu [Tipu Sultan] is defeated and killed there is no attempt of quite that kind in the 19th century once British power is established all over the subcontinent so whether this kind of absolutism might have led to a more impersonal form of State sovereignty which was absolutist but not necessarily dependent on a person well that's an open question we just have no way of verifying that historically.
In the moment of formation it has to be personal, it is almost suggesting that I am special I have a special power and authority and so on which others don't have you see and that's what he is claiming and he is claiming it by saying that this government is given by Khuda himself.
Kris Manjapra: Professor Chatterjee [Partha Chatterjee], I was so fascinated by your discussion of absolutism, the phenomenon that you describe makes sense to me. I have a question about the interpretation of this phenomenon on absolutism particularly in terms of the relationship between absolutism and a concept that you have done so much define in your work, I would say which is autonomy and I wondered in listening to your lecture whether there is some of you slipping backwards to the modern period to the early modern in which one is reading almost a project, one is to looking for subjectivities autonomous subjectivities in the early modern period and seeing this category of a kind of early modern autonomy or sovereignty you used, you also used that term within the category of the absolutist.
The other possibility the other way of interpreting this would be to say that perhaps absolutism was actually not about the autonomy of the individual or the sovereignty of the individual but was about exactly the opposite, I mean taking some of the material which you have you presented. It was about responsibility, sincerity, it was the responsibility, the ultimate responsibility to God openness in terms of this alliance building . In fact being as non autonomous as possible as a subject and is that in fact the distinction of the early modern and the modern but were actually dealing with a kind of absolutism that was far away from the kind of cultural autonomy that we see invented perhaps at the end of the 19th century.
Chatterjee [Partha Chatterjee]: Don't forget I introduced the talk by saying that there were two kinds of two tendencies of the early modern that I was wanting to discuss, one was the absolutist [absolutism] and the other was the anti-absolutist and what you are describing which is more about the autonomy of the subject would characterise the anti-absolutist very much more so that would be precisely the kind of early liberal idea of the rights of the subject as against an absolute power. Ok, so therefore questions about freedom of expression, the right of free speech, the right of the rule of Law, the right of trial by jury those kinds of rights you know the sort of 18th century rights the kind of rights that characterise something like the American Revolution ok. That's much more characteristic of the early modern anti absolutist tendancy.
What I am calling absolutist is far more said centred on the State itself, the powers of the State itself and it's as I said the background the historical background to this is a perceived threat to the very stability and existence of the State. It's in the context of a perception that the State itself is crumbling right but there is nobody in authority that you cannot make decisions and at least these are the elites who believe that if the State cannot make decisions then the lives and properties of ordinary people cannot be protected. Right, it's the State's responsibility to protect them and the State cannot function so you know so that's where it's therefore as I said it's this whole argument about chance, uncertainty, how do you act in a situation where there is no well established precedent that everybody can fall back upon because all of those things have broken down, right so what do you need, you need somebody who can act decisively on behalf of the rest, ok and that produces precisely this absolutist sovereign.
It's not very unlike a kind of Hobbesian response [Thomas Hobbes]. It is really that kind of response, it is to say that you need a sort of a Leviathan-like institution in order to produce order and security and that's what Tipu [Tipu Sultan] is additionally of course, he is also far more aware, I mean Ghulam Hussain [Ghulam Hussain Tabatabai] wasn't as aware as Tipu [Tipu Sultan] was. Tipu [Tipu Sultan] is far more aware of what he thinks as a threat of the English as represented by the British because he actually does think that the British unless stopped by the Military means would in fact conquer all of India in fact wasn't wrong. So, that's where if you come back to this question of autonomous subjectivities I would say the kind of subjectivities that you are looking for is more characteristic of the anti absolutist tradition right which does emerge and this would be one of the arguments that I am making in two following chapters in this book that the early 19th century is a period when you do have the possibility of something like what in America would be called a Creole revolution
an assertion of a new kind of republican [republicanism] idea of an assertion by citizens, citizenship, a body of citizens not everybody I mean this is not democratic in the modern sense but citizens of property and standing and culture and education but importantly, both consisting of both European settlers, the mixed blood Eurasians and elite Indians. All three would make a claim for being regarded as rights-bearing citizens. And this is very characteristic in the period both in Calcutta and in Bombay in the early 19th century. My argument is that this tendency too is actually stopped once it gets a full blown colonial modernity put in place. This is stopped. This does not lead any where.
Chris Taylor, PHD: I am a Phd candidate in Boston University in Anthropology and working on Islamic charity and the social welfare state in India. I am very curious what the early modern absolutist can do with the absolutism and you mention this briefly obviously especially in the British historiography Tipu Sultan is a military ruler and you mentioned... but I want to hear more about giving back to the people which is what you mentioned as another defining feature of absolutism. And you did say preserving order and security but what order and security is that just sort of preventing British invasion and some sort of "Indian way of life" or Malabar way of life or is there something more that is provided through that order or I am also wondering, you went into obviously with even more intangible benefits to the population although all the ones you mentioned were honestly more sort of Sharia law type of interventions, banning alcohol and veiling women and you might not say that it was sort of the way of the social benefit of the population.
In the same way that we expect the model ...we expect that to be the primary characteristic of the modern state and even though you mentioned Carl Schmitt decisionism. Usually that decisionism doesn't lead to sort of the entitlements and the rights that we expect. Collective rights that we expect. Schmitt [Carl Schmitt] of course wrote about it leading to Nazi absolutism. So what would you say?
Chatterjee [Partha Chatterjee]: What you are really asking for is more explanation of what I think is the relevance of digging out of all of this stuff from 18th century history. Does it matter? And I think it does matter. Because as I have said this without explaining them that both discursively in terms of resources, in terms of certain kinds of arguments, examples so therefore discursively as well as impurely affective terms what does Tipu Sultan represent in South Asia today.
I think it does matter. Two things are particularly relevant in terms of the early modern absolutism as I have defined it . One is the role of the state sovereignty. How does the sovereignty matter in the conception of some kind of nationalist modernity. Right? And it seems to me there is something that is introduced by Tipu [Tipu Sultan] which was thought to be denied by colonial modernity. You see, colonial modernity particularly the utilitarian [utilitarianism] variety of colonial modernity, James Mill said this very, very explicitly. He said what does it matter what the color of the skin of the ruler is, what matters is how the country is governed. Right? That's what matters. What does it matter what their names are. Now that is one kind of argument to say that it doesn't matter who the sovereign is, the question is to be judged by what the results are.
Now there is something about nationalist modernity which challenges this idea and explicitly challenges this idea and you see this by the early 20th century there are nationalists who say.. well, British rule is unacceptable not because... you know, the question of not whether or not India is well governed or badly governed is irrelevant. Right? British rule is unacceptable because it is British. Now, this is a very different conception. Right? Because the idea of sovereignty here is now one where the claim is sovereignty can only reside in the people of the country. It cannot reside anywhere else and sovereignty is not to be justified or evaluated by the results of acts of government. Its prior as it was the foundation. Now this is something that modern nationalism would claim. What I am suggesting is that in making that claim there is a prior historical example that it is reviving and it is reviving of course affectively by all of the historical memory that let's say a ruler like Tipu Sultan might invoke including all the recent, you know, the romanticization of it etc etc.
All that is part of it. Tipu Sultan is grand romance particularly for.. he was probably the only one who actually died in battle resisting the British. Right? None of the other Indian rulers did at the time. So that, all of that is part of this. So though the second one, apart from just the fact of sovereignty and the way it resides, the role of the state in creating the conditions in which there might be prosperity in the lives of the people. Including by the end of the 19th century the question becomes posed as how is poverty to be removed? Right? And the way that very very strong argument is made that poverty can only be removed if there is coherent state action. You need the state to act. Right? And the colonial state will not act. You need a sovereign state. A sovereign national state to act. Now in a sense that is an idea which you already have there. I think in both of these senses this early modern absolutist is a resource which lies suppressed but is revived and used by 20th century nationalisms.
Ayesha Jalal: Thank you Professor. And I think just in response to you as well I do think what the person is saying about the notions of the obligations of the rulers to the ruled, I mean there is a very live debate in the press as late as nineteenth century. Indians are complaining about the British because they have conceptions of the old regimes, the old conceptions of rulership where the rulers did things which the new rulers don't do. I think it's worth looking at and that's there at the late nineteenth century, the press and publications mark it. So there is a very clear sense that something new has happened and the idea of rulership has changed. Thank you very much.
Partha Chatterjee: Thank you, I wish we had a little more time.