Title

Indian Political Representations in Britain during the Transition to Colonialism

Abstract

During the transition to colonialism, over thirty Indian political missions ventured to London. Representing the interests of Indian royalty directly in British public discourse, these Indian diplomats strove to reshape colonial policies. They also gathered first-hand intelligence, unmediated by Britons, for their Indian audiences; some later Indian diplomats evidently learned from their precursors. Nonetheless, they increasingly struggled against spreading British colonialism, with its expanding surveillance and control over political communication, growing colonial archives, ever more dominant military force, and cultural assertions. Nor did their relatively isolated efforts accumulate into unified Indian policies. The dynamics of these unequal contests reveal how multi-centered, conflicted, and contingent was political intercourse over this period, in Britain and in India. This article analyzes these Indian missions, concentrating on two: one from early in the transition to colonialism when all parties were exploring the nature of such interactions, and the other late in that process when some Indian diplomats and, even more so, the Company's Directors, had learned to deploy more sophisticated tactics against each other. The 1857 conflict, which ended the Company's rule and established British royal authority over India, altered imperial relations with India's ‘princes’ profoundly, ushering in high colonial rule.

Publisher

Cambridge University Press

Publication Date

7-1-2004

Publication Title

Modern Asian Studies

Department

History

Document Type

Article

DOI

10.1017/S0026749X03001161

Language

English

Format

text

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