In this 1996 cultural history which considers the transformation of south Indian institutions under British colonial rule in the nineteenth century, Pamela Price focuses on the two former 'little kingdoms' of Ramnad and Sivaganga which came under colonial governance as revenue estates. She demonstrates how rivalries among the royal families and major zamindari temples, and the disintegration of indigenous institutions of rule, contributed to the development of nationalism and identity amongst the people of southern Tamil country. The author also shows how religious symbols and practices going back to the seventeenth century were reformulated and acquired a new significance in the colonial context. Arguing for a reappraisal of the relationship of Hinduism to politics, Price finds that these symbols and practices continue to inform popular expectation of political leadership today.
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Number of pages: 244
Weight: 378 g
Dimensions: 229 x 151 x 15 mm
'Kingship and Political Practice in Colonial India is a solid piece of scholarship. Professor Price is at her best when she treats the litigation of the nineteenth century and its effects on the kingdoms of Ramnad and Sivagangai ... a useful reminder that present day politics in India (or for that matter much of the rest of the world) have deep roots that go directly back to precolonial times.' Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society
'Overall, her book is compelling and original, and will force scholars to examine afresh the nature of south Indian kingship as it is transformed under British colonial rule.' The Journal of Asian Studies
'The strength of Price's book is to consider honour and ritual not as means to a political end, but as independent ends in themselves ... the text is the product of careful research ... Using methodological insights from Weberian sociology and steeped in the anthropology of South Asia, Price has produced a cultural history which argues, contra Dirks, for the continuity and evolution of royal symbols and values under colonial rule and in contemporary south India.' Social Anthropology