Prologue War and Society in Eighteenth-century India

C. A. Bayly

in Rulers, Townsmen and Bazaars

Third edition

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780198077466
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199081110 | DOI:

Series: Oxford India Perennials Series

Prologue War and Society in Eighteenth-century India

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This chapter presents some preliminary hypotheses about the effects of war and political change on north Indian society during the eighteenth century, focusing on the movement of resources — capital, labour and skills — across the landscape. It provides commentaries on some common generalisations and assumptions about Indian peasant economy and considers links between the state, commerce and agrarian society. The chapter explains how the three links in the political economy — agrarian patronage, elite consumption and the nexus between revenue and trade — created a flexible and adaptable set of relationships which were capable of sharp geographical realignment. This chapter has outlined some links between state and society which made the commercial economy and agricultural production responsive to political change.

Keywords: political change; peasant economy; agrarian patronage; elite consumption; political economy; revenue; trade; commercial economy; agricultural production

Chapter.  17676 words. 

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