Stability and Change in Towns and Cities, 1770–1810

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

Stability and Change in Towns and Cities, 1770–1810

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This chapter considers the stability and change in towns and cities in north India and examines the relationship between political power and flows of revenue and trade which lay at the heart of the new kingdoms. It explains that it was during this period that the dominant urban landholding and trading groups, which were to persist through until the 1930s and 1940s, were able to establish themselves. The chapter suggests that during the later eighteenth century, agricultural labour, capital, and the investment of the political elites were redistributed across the north Indian countryside. This gave some groups like gentry, warriors, and merchants significant social advancement. The local decline in the agriculture of unstable tracts was matched by the expansion of marketing and cultivation on the fringes of tracts. The search for legitimacy within the Mughal polity; the expression of piety within the caste system; and the elite expenditure buoyed up towns and cities.

Keywords: towns; cities; political power; revenue; trade; urban landholding groups; agricultural labour; political elites; investment; elite expenditure

Chapter.  24597 words. 

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