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Individual Interests Behind the Institutional Façade: The Dutch East India Company’s Legal Presence in Seventeenth-Century Mughal Bengal

  • Byapti Sur

Abstract

VOC officials as well as the Mughal administrators conducted their trading activities in Bengal under different systems of jurisdiction. They both used local brokers and ordinary villagers who became simultaneously part of the VOC and Mughal jurisdictions. But what happened when conflicts broke out between the Company and the Mughal officials? In which jurisdiction did the brokers then participate and why? This article explores such questions through the study of two legal cases involving the VOC in Bengal. It argues that the institutional binary of the VOC and the Mughal as administrative entities were not stable in the face of personal interests and factional ambitions.

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Copyright

This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is unaltered and is properly cited. The written permission of Cambridge University Press must be obtained for commercial re-use or in order to create a derivative work.

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Footnotes

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Byapti Sur is currently pursuing her PhD in history from Leiden University, the Netherlands. She works with Prof. Jos Gommans and Dr. Lodewijk Wagenaar on VOC dynamics in the Dutch politics of morality and corruption. The author is grateful to Dr. Alicia Schrikker and Dr. Tilottama Mukherjee for reading this paper and providing useful feedback and suggestions. Dr. Sanne Ravensbergen and Dr. Mahmood Kooria have also been very helpful with reading and discussing this article.

Footnotes

References

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Unpublished Primary Sources
National Archives, The Hague (NA):
– Archives of the Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie, the Dutch East India Company (VOC).
– Archives of the Hoge Regering, Batavia (HR).
– Archives of the Van Goens Family.
– Aan. 1e afdeling ARA (Aan.).
– Collectie Hudde (CH).
The Archives of Utrecht, Utrecht (UA).
– Archives of the Huydekoper Family (FH).
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Individual Interests Behind the Institutional Façade: The Dutch East India Company’s Legal Presence in Seventeenth-Century Mughal Bengal

  • Byapti Sur

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