The State During the British Raj

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

Ilhan Niaz


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 India’s and Pakistan’s 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 the 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.


Author Description

Ilhan Niaz is the author of several books including Old World Empires: Cultures of Power and Governance in Eurasia (New York: Routledge, 2014; South Asia edition by OUP), The Culture of Power and Governance of Pakistan, 1947–2008 (OUP, 2010), and An Inquiry into the Culture of Power of the Subcontinent (Islamabad: Alhamra, 2006). His work has been published in leading international academic 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. He also occasionally contributes articles and reviews to leading national news publications. The Culture of Power and Governance of Pakistan was awarded the Best Non‐Fiction Book of 2010 at the Karachi Literature Festival and has also received the Higher Education Commission (HEC) of Pakistan 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 national award for Best Book Publication in Social Sciences, 2013–14. Niaz is also the recipient of the Kodikara Award for 2013 (RCSS, Colombo).

Additional Information

Additional Information

ISBN 9780199408535
Weight in kg No
Rights World
Year of Publication August 2019
Binding Hardback
Pages 328 pages
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