Communication and Colonialism in Eastern India: Bihar, 1760s-1880s' departs from the dominant scholarship in South Asian history that focuses narrowly on railways, and instead argues that any discussion of railway-generated changes needs to see such changes, at least up to the 1880s, as situated amidst existing patterns and networks of circulation within which roads and ferries were crucial. The volume also offers a detailed exploration of early colonial policies on road building and ferry improvement - an area that has hitherto remained unexplored.Just as the new development of steam technology required and necessitated 'lateral growth' alongside the older technologies, so too were trade linkages marked by the interconnectedness of local and supra-local ties in which the world of peddlers intersected with that of native merchants and capitalist sahibs. This volume contends that the history of colonial communication is not a story of 'displacement' alone - either of one means by another or of one group by another - but also of realignment. Combining the understanding of production of knowledge about routes with the ways the practice of surveying and mapping led to territorial construction of the national space of India, this book reinterprets the 'colonial state-space' as constituting a series of layered components, both of 'inherited spaces and networks' from pre-colonial times and of the processes of objectification that colonial rule initiated.The aim of this volume is to contribute to the 'history of social spaces', a new field of study in which neither cultural nor economic discourse is overridden by the other. This is achieved via a micro-historical study of local circulatory regimes, together with an exploration of colonial and imperial cultural discourses on communications.
Communication and Colonialism in Eastern India