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6 - Kinship, Gender, and Dynastic Dramas

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 March 2023

Callie Wilkinson
Affiliation:
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
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Summary

In a hereditary monarchy, kinship mattered; yet, royal family members are too often relegated to the background in contemporary scholarship on the princely states. This chapter shows that royal family members could muster significant social, political, cultural, and economic capital in support of their various personal and political projects, and often figured prominently in the records as the Resident’s greatest allies, or greatest foes. Residents developed a range of strategies for co-opting or side-lining younger brothers, uncles, and nephews, who, despite being useful informants, were also destabilizing forces in regional politics, and a drain on the Company’s time and resources. Women played an even more important role at court, one that has been obscured in previous accounts of the Residencies. This chapter shows not only how the Resident sought to mobilize royal women for his purposes, but also how royal women themselves laid a claim on the Resident’s services through the idiom of kinship and protection, often with significant consequences for the Resident’s political strategy at court. Rather than simplifying their job, the Residents need to work through royal families in fact introduced significant complications.

Type
Chapter
Information
Empire of Influence
The East India Company and the Making of Indirect Rule
, pp. 209 - 244
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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