Chapter

City Artisans, Merchants, and Urban Administration

Nandita Prasad Sahai

in Politics of Patronage and Protest

Published in print June 2006 | ISBN: 9780195678963
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199081660 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195678963.003.0005
City Artisans, Merchants, and Urban Administration

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This chapter describes urban morphology and artisanal settlement in caste colonies (muhallas)—which ensured the emergence of strong ties and biradari or brotherhood solidarity—during the early decades of Maharaja Vijai Singh’s reign. How such patterns of settlement helped artisans to mobilize as a community and bargain with the state as tax-payers or as wage earners are also discussed. The chapter also describes how, to increase the sense of their izzat (honour), the Rathor thakurs of the different cities of Marwar made it a priority to support artists and artisans. The state appointed a senior person as mehatars who acted as representatives of his caste. The author concludes by describing contours of the paternalist discourse of legitimation in the Jodhpur state. State interactions with artisans show a relatively solicitous approach in the early years of Vijai Singh’s reign. Artisanal responses to elite transgressions were constrained within the parameters of elite hegemony, yet watchful for points to exert pressure and seize advantage.

Keywords: urban morphology; Marwar; caste settlements; Rathor thakurs; Vijai Singh; Jodhpur state; mehatars; biradari; Marwari artisans

Chapter.  16118 words. 

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