Chapter

The Rise of the Corporations<sup>*</sup>

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: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198077466.003.0018

Series: Oxford India Perennials Series

The Rise of the Corporations*

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This chapter examines the rise of the corporations in India during the eighteenth century, focusing on the organisation and influence of the merchants. It reveals that ‘commercialisation’ actually blocked out the possibility of ‘capitalism’. The growth of a more commercial and bureaucratic style of government had implications for the organisation of groups between the state and agrarian society. The weakening of state power forced the corporations and towns into new defensive organisations which provided the base for a true merchant class. The specific features of such corporations also informed the relations between the elements of the later middle class. It argues that organisation of the pre-colonial Hindu corporation and of the Muslim dargah or qasbah town were a middle stage between the fluid relations of the Mughal court and the organisation of communal politics in the late nineteenth century.

Keywords: corporations; capitalism; qasbah; Mughal court; communal politics; commercialisation; merchant class; middle class; India

Chapter.  15587 words. 

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