To save content items to your account,
please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.
If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account.
Find out more about saving content to .
To save content items to your Kindle, first ensure firstname.lastname@example.org
is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings
on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part
of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about saving to your Kindle.
Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations.
‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi.
‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
Although historians have long recognized the important role that Indians played in the English East India Companys operations, the focus has usually been on the mechanics of direct rule in British India. Yet, the expertise of Indian cultural intermediaries was arguably even more important, as well as more contested, in the context of the Companys growing political influence over nominally independent Indian kingdoms. Focusing on the relationship between Residents and their Indian head secretaries (or munshis), this chapter considers how these relationships were conceptualized and debated by British officials, and reflects on the practical consequences of these relationships for the munshis involved. The tensions surrounding the role of the munshi in Residency business exemplify some of the practical dilemmas posed by the developing system of indirect rule in India, where the Resident had to decide how much responsibility to delegate to Indian experts better versed in courtly norms and practices, while at the same time maintaining his own image of authority and control. Although the Resident–munshi relationship was in many respects mutually beneficial, these relationships nevertheless spawned anxieties about transparency and accountability within the Company itself, as well as exciting resentments at court. Both Residents and munshis were required to negotiate between two political and institutional cultures, but it was the munshi who seems to have borne the brunt of the risks associated with this intermediary position.
As kayasths, the protagonists of this story were part of a community of archetypical professionals, who served various Indo-Islamic and even colonial regimes in India. This chapter examines the notion of professionalisation, reflecting on the conflicting aspirations of this landed martial family, for whom martial Rajputs offered the most immediate and attractive social and cultural model. This chapter examines a family history, re-written several times, in different scripts, through the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries; family trees in multiple scripts; and a petition presented to colonial authorities in the early twentieth century, all of which members of the family used in trying to explain and justify the origins of their wealth and status. The chapter also looks at other specialists, who enabled and structured such claims, such as Islamic judges (qazis), Muslim and non-Muslim scribes (munshis), and specialist traders, connecting what is known of the social location and professional orientation of each group with the functions they evidently performed in the story of this family.
Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this to your organisation's collection.