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Map of British Expenssion North India

Internet Archive
Ahmad Shah Bahadur 1748–54
Stacked Wooden Logs


The Map has shown that India in the eighteenth century was a
dynamic, though conflict-ridden, society. During the years 1680-
1 750 the waning of the Mughal hegemony had allowed the lower ranks
of India’s ‘hierarchy of kings’ to achieve greater autonomy. Following
the strengthening of regional centres of power the typical Islamic
system of farming out the state’s revenues extended in the north and
spread to areas of central and south India where it had made little
impact before. Military entrepreneurs farmed revenue, engaged in
local agricultural trade, and tried to build up holdings of zamindari
land in the countryside. The magnates’ great households were usually
closely linked to merchant houses of Hindu or Jain origin. These firms
were essential to political dominion. They could mobilise large re-
serves of liquid capital at times other than the harvest period because
merchants alone participated in all-India chains of trade and credit.
Busy. markets for agricultural produce and for rights and offices con-
tinued to develop in the villages and fixed bazaars of areas which had
survived or prospered in the political flux.
These actors - the petty kings, the revenue and military entrepre-
neurs, the great bankers and the warrior peasant lords of the villages —
all represented forms of indigenous capitalism. All derived wealth
from commodity trade; all speculated in money profit. The revenue
farmers and rural lords were dependent on trade and the operation of
rural markets because peasants had to sell their produce in order to pay
rent in silver rupees. However isolated they were, even the rural
Hindu lords needed cash to buy cannon, muskets, elephants and other
badges of power and status.

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Very good information.

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Shah Sharaf Barlas


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