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Patrons, Clients, and EmpireChieftaincy and Over-rule in Asia, Africa, and the Pacific$
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Colin Newbury

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780199257812

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199257812.001.0001

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Reversal of Status

Reversal of Status

(p.27) 2 Reversal of Status
Patrons, Clients, and Empire


Oxford University Press

From 1858, Company action in Bengal transformed, over the following half century, a maritime agency into a land power on the sub continent. The Presidencies of Calcutta, Madras, and Bombay interacted with neighbouring states in ways that resulted in the subordination of their Muslim or Hindu rulers or uneasy co operation. Such relationships were never static, as treaties defining commercial privilege, payment for troops, debt recovery, were made and broken. Assignments of territory by states re-shaped internal boundaries and demarcated territories under Company control and influence. From the mid-18th century, India was imperially partitioned by using clientage to build up a network of Hindu officials and manage land revenue and tribute, and to extend by force and by alliance Company power along the upper Ganges. The symbol of this reversal of roles was the Mughal Emperor's transfer of state finances and external relations to a governor-general of ‘British India’.

Keywords:   Bengal, commercial privilege, alliance, indemnity, reversal of roles, British India

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