Grass in their Mouths: The Upper Doab of India under the Company's Magna Charta, 1793-1830

Scholarship on the pre-Bentinck period of Indian history has taken little notice of the inevitable dilemmas of colonial rule as they became visible in the districts. This book argues that the disdain the eighteenth-century Westminster parliaments expressed both for Indians and the East India Company induced the Bengal civil service to formulate for itself a corporate identity that, because of its distant and self-centered character, prevented it to acquire an executive hold on most levels of the Indian administration. The core of the book consists of superbly-detailed studies of the ways in which, in the Ganges-Jumna doab, villagers, revenue farmers, Indian policemen and revenue officials, bankers and judges struggled to overcome or profit from this feature of the colonial administration.