The Merchant Family

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

The Merchant Family

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This chapter investigates the behaviour and perceptions of the merchant family in north India during the early colonial period. It traces the emergence of some of the key elements which came to make up the middle classes of north India in the later nineteenth century and provides an account of the connection between India's colonial and pre-colonial history. It examines how far the legal and administrative systems erected by the British impinged on the moral community of the merchants and highlights the strains between different elements of the intermediate classes which were reflected in explosions of communal violence and conflicts with the colonial authorities. The reorganisation of tolls, bazaars duties and urban taxation by the colonial authorities posed another subtle threat to merchant status since it overturned local indemnities and privileges.

Keywords: merchant family; middle classes; communal violence; legal system; administrative system; tolls; bazaars duties; urban taxation

Chapter.  11429 words. 

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