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PROOF
TWELVE
Empire and Developmentalism in Colonial India
chandan gowda

The conceptual architecture of development is a powerful intellectual and


political legacy of colonial empires of the nineteenth and early twentieth
centuries. An overwhelming consensus that newly decolonizing societies
embraced the idea of development in the postWorld War II era has resulted
in scant scholarly attention to this historical phenomenon. Harry Trumans
1949 presidential address, which declared the obligation of the Western countries toward the underdeveloped areas of the world, is usually seen as the
originary moment of development discourse (Escobar 1995; Esteva 1992).
Historians have also noted that the British and French used the discourse of
development to legitimize their colonial rule in the 1940s and that it subsequently found official endorsement in decolonizing states (Cooper and
Packard 1997: 7). The intellectual lineage of development as a state-supported
discourse extends further back in time. By reconstructing the conceptual
foundations of the elites development imagination in the state of Mysore in
South India between the late nineteenth century and the end of colonial
rule in the mid-twentieth century, this chapter recuperates a powerful intellectual legacy of nineteenth-century colonialism, which later attracted academic prestige in the guise of modernization theory.1

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND
Two-fi ft hs of the territory of British India consisted of Native or Indian
states whose rulers had formally pledged their loyalty to the colonial power
in return for limited political autonomy in running their administrative

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affairs. Th is colonial strategy of extracting political compliance along with


annual fi nancial and military tributes from local rulers in exchange for
semiautonomy in administering their states is better known as the strategy
of indirect rule (Fisher 1991). Under the scheme of indirect rule, the British
warded off the threat of political rebellion from the native rulers, ensured a
steady revenue supply for themselves, and saved on the costs of administering those states directly.2
After fi ft y years of direct colonial rule between 1831 and 1881, the British
restored a descendant of the previous ruling family as the ruler of the state
and brought Mysore under indirect rule. 3 Mysores territory was the third
largest among the Native States in colonial India. In 1900, its population was
around five million, 90 percent of whom lived in agricultural villages. The
states political elite consisted of the maharaja (monarch), his dewan (prime
minister), and civil servants in charge of administering the eighteen departments; the states decision-making authority was concentrated in them.
The state elite of Mysore initiated numerous programs of economic development within the space of institutional semiautonomy opened up by
indirect colonial rule. The political scientist James Manor notes that the
monarchs and prime ministers of Mysore were heroes in the eyes of nationalists throughout India . . . since they provided evidence of how splendidly
Indians could govern themselves (1978: 13). An analysis of the elites discourse of development in Mysore reveals its intellectual lineage. Further, it
clarifies the centrality of the colonial-imperial context within which development became attractive for the state elite in Mysore.
An exclusive focus on Mysore is not to suggest a Mysorean exceptionalism or the autochthonous origin of its elites discourses. The discursive field
pertaining to development was not uniquely contained within Mysore; in
fact, many of the certitudes in elite thought were part of the discursive traffic
across British India and outside. According to the historian David Ludden
the foundations of Indias development regime were laid between the
early and late nineteenth century (Ludden 1992: 253261; also, Ludden 2005).
The massive knowledge accumulated by the British in the form of land surveys, maps, censuses, ethnographic documentation, and crop, soil, irrigation,
and mineral data formed the basis of standardized instruments of rule and
the centralization of the colonial states administrative functions. Sugata
Bose clarifies that while the techniques for producing macroeconomic
statistical knowledge were in place by the early nineteenth century, the
idiom of nationalist development became manifest only toward the late
nineteenth century (Bose 1998: 4748).4 Nationalist economic thought was

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PROOF

largely the creation of figures such as, among others, Dadabhai Naoroji,
M. G. Ranade, R. C. Dutt, and G. K Gokhale, who had found the economic
thought of Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill, and David Ricardo attractive but
not suited to economic conditions in colonial India (Ganguli 1977: 5685).
The intellectual influence of John Stuart Mill and Herbert Spencer on the
dewans of Mysore has been recorded (Chandrasekhara 1981: 195; Gundappa
[1971] 1997: 15). A few of them were personally associated with nationalist
economic thinkers outside Mysore, including Ranade and Gokhale (Chandrasekhara 1971: 182). 5
The word development surfaces in the Mysore elites political vocabulary in the late nineteenth century with reference to economic matters. In
1881, Dewan Rangacharlu stated: The development of the various industries on which the prosperity of the country is dependent equally demands
our consideration (AOD [18811899] 1914: 7). In 1886, Dewan Seshadri Iyer
noted that the high-ranking nations of his day had considered heavy protection duties not too high a price to pay for the fostering of new industries
and have reaped their reward in the rapid development of their mineral
wealth (AOD [18811899] 1914: 100). In the early twentieth century, development continued to primarily signify a concern with economic issues. In
1918, Dewan Visvesvaraya, who later wrote Planned Economy for India (1936),
a pioneering book on planning in India, observed: Every progressive
nation . . . is aiming to secure for itself better orga ni zation, greater cooperation from its people, improved methods of manufacture, cheap supply
of raw materials and increased enterprise in trade. The developments we
have undertaken in Mysore are in consonance with the trend of this new
thought. . . . We have in a small way educated the people to the importance
of economic development (AOD [19131938] 1938: 48).
Often synonymous with economic development, development was a
subcomponent of a more expansive concept of progress. Th is becomes evident in Dewan Visvesvarayas declaration: Progress, if it is to be sustained,
should be many-sided; but, in the present state of the country, economic
progress with which we are concerned demands our chief attention ([1914b]
1917: 152). However, as we shall see, a seemingly economic concept such as
development was embedded in a conceptual schema pertaining to noneconomic realms.6
My archive consists mainly of the political elites speeches delivered at
the Mysore Representative Assembly (mra), the Mysore Legislative Council (mlc), the Mysore Economic Conference (mec), state exhibitions, and
other institutional fora in Mysore over six decades.7 In restricting focus on
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the elites discourses of development, I have been guided by the methodological strategy Kwame Anthony Appiah uses in his conceptual history of
race in the United States. He explains that the social practice of semantic
deference justified his decision to examine Thomas Jeffersons writings on
race in order to recover the meaning of race in the United States in the late
eighteenth and nineteenth centuries (Appiah 1996: 41). Many technical
terms, Appiah explains, become popular linguistic currency even when their
meanings are not clearly understood by most users. When asked to clarify
the precise meaning of such technical terms, like race in Jeffersons time,
nonspecialists are likely to point to specialists for help (Appiah 1996: 42).
An analogous sociocultural predicament of semantic deference can be presumed to obtain among nonspecialists in Mysore in relation to the discourse of development.
In addition to venues such as the mra, the mlc, and the exhibitions, the
elite frequently delivered speeches at schools and professional associations,
at the inaugural ceremonies of new hospitals, hostels, electric and water facilities, and other infrastructural facilities. On many an occasion, a speaker
would cite from predecessors speeches, rendering an intertextual continuity in the space of development discourse. Collections of these speeches were
published and distributed to various offices and libraries, both inside and
outside Mysore. Also, local newspapers frequently carried excerpts from
them. An examination of the elite speeches and writings on development
across six decades reveals the consistent operation of four key discourses:
neomercantilism, utilitarianism, social evolutionism, and orientalism.8 Despite the frequent interarticulation among these discourses, they are analytically distinguishable. Th is exercise in identifying the chief discursive strands
is not to view them as reified entities. These discourses often reinforced their
self-validity while being in a dynamic relationship with historical processes
and acquiring new valence through new textual affi nities.9

Neomercantilism
Historians have noted the key influence of the neomercantilist writings
of Friedrich List (17891846) on nationalist economic thought in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century India.10 B. N. Ganguli, the economist
and historian, has pointed out that the principal focus of attention of the
nineteenth-century Indian intellectuals was the anti-laisser faire doctrines
of List (1977: 24). Another historian has also observed that the macroeconomics of this period was based less in classical economic theory than in
the ideas of the German Historical School and particularly of Friedrich

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PROOF

List from whose work the economic nationalists drew the basic arguments
for infant industry protection (Datta 1978: 36). Ranade, one of the most
influential among the fi rst generation of nationalist economists in India,
formulated an approach to Indian development along the lines enunciated
by List (Chakravarty 1997: 46).
List, a key neomercantilist, was the fi rst universally read opponent of
free trade in the 19th century (Heckscher 1935: 325). His nation-centered
theory of economic development that was to guide state policy in his native
Germany, which he considered to be backward in relation to Britain, had
found admirers even in post-Restoration Japan (Cumings 1999b: 61). In The
National System of Political Economy published in German in 1841 and in
English in 1856, List had proposed an economic theory that presumed the
economy of a nation-state as its unit of analysis in opposition to Adam
Smiths argument that political or national economy must be replaced by
cosmopolitical or world-wide economy (List [1841] 1904: 98; italics in the
original). He argued that Smiths advocacy of a worldwide laissez-faire
would allow an already dominant economic power such as England to become the most powerful nation in the world, to the detriment of countries
such as France, Germany, and Italy (List [1841] 1904: 103).11 His prescription
that the states in backward countries should actively shield and foster their
infant industries through the imposition of tariffs on imports from industrially advanced countries had tremendous appeal to Indian economic thinkers, who urged the British to espouse a similar obligation toward industry in
India (Gokhale 1962: 335; Ranade 1900: 923).12 Lists model of a protectionist, autarkic national economy was also presupposed in the Mysore elites
model of development.13 An economist at the University of Mysore has recorded the appeal of Lists protectionist ideas in colonial India: The infantindustry argument . . . has been immortalized by Friedrich List. It has gained
so much popularity as to be exalted to the level of an axiom (Balakrishna
1940: 240).14
List presumed colonialism as being a permanent political-economic feature in the world; indeed, for him, the possession of colonies was a sign of a
developed national economy (List [1841] 1904: 142, 145). Although List used
the example of India to demonstrate how Britain had adopted protectionist
policies to safeguard its own cotton and silk manufactories (3436), his
prescription of state-directed industrial development was exclusively for the
civilized countries and not for the barbarous and half-civilised countries
of Central and South America, of Asia and Africa (153). A dubious environmental determinism secured Lists theoretical proposition that restricted
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the option of industrial development and the right to colonize to civilized


countries.15 Despite Lists theoretical endorsement of European colonialism, it is ironic that Indian nationalist economists should fi nd inspiration in
this false prophet (Ganguli 1977: 79). In a good illustration of a creative
editorial relationship that many Indian intellectuals had with Western
thinkers who built theoretical models exclusively for Western countries,
economists such as Ranade, Gokhale, and R. C. Dutt strategically appropriated those parts of Lists theory that were useful for their arguments while
rejecting those they found to be unacceptable.16 Ranade, for instance, argued
that Lists theory of environmental determinism was a contingent, not a transhistorical fact (Ranade 1900: 24). Dutt borrowed from Lists discussion of
the exploitative economic policies of the British in colonial India and moved
on to affi rm, contra List, the capacity of Indians to exercise historical agency
in developing their manufacturing abilities (Dutt [1901] 1970: 208209).
In addition to the basic presumption of a national economy, other mercantilist tenets guided the Mysore elites imagination of development. Chief
among them was a calculated economic orientation toward the population.
The early mercantilists of the seventeenth century harbored a fanatical desire to increase population as that was a source of wealth-generating labor
(Heckscher 1935: 158).17 Although this view lost force consequent to the ascendance of the Malthusian caution toward population increase, rapid technological innovations in the mid-nineteenth century, which suggested an
unlimited capacity to manage the needs of a growing population, tempered
the Malthusian demographic alarmism (Jagirdar 1963: 139). Indeed, an antiMalthusian view of population was an important component of Lists
economic philosophy, which affi rmed the power of machine technology to
sustain demographic expansion (List [1841] 1905: 142).
The Mysore elite also shared this view of population as an important constituent of a nations productive powers. Although they did not favor a large
population,18 they viewed it as an economic asset that could be harnessed to
increase the states wealth. An early instance of this view is found in Dewan
Rangacharlus annual address to the mra in 1882: Now England . . . supplies the greater portion of the world with cloth and other manufactures.
[Th is is] . . . the result of numerous individual men devoting their intelligence to effect small discoveries and improvements from day to day in their
several occupations which in their aggregate produce such marvelous wealth
and general prosperity. What then may not be accomplished if the large
population in this country once entered on a similar career of progress
(AOD [18811889] 1914: 20). In this view, the local population consisted of

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potentially useful individuals, whose contributions in the aggregate would


result in enormous prosperity and wealth for the country. Each individual is
seen as a member of a national community of potential producers with a
significant economic role to perform in aid of the countrys progress. Another illustration of this attitude is also contained in Dewan Visvesvaryas
address to the mec in 1915: Our town-population, which is less than onetenth of the total population, is inadequate for industrial needs and should
be increased to one-fi ft h ([1915a] 1917: 239).
In the early decades of the twentieth century, the elite made explicit
reference to Mysores connectedness with a worldwide system of economic
transactions. The economic consequences of World War I and the Great
Depression had been felt in Mysore too. The elites preference now was for
an economy that would be as self-reliant as possible amidst vulnerability to
international economic trends. Although the mercantilist image of a stateprotected autarkic economy was harder to sustain as an empirical possibility, the state elite continued to imagine the nation as a body of producers and
consumers, whose interests were reconciled in the functioning of a national
economy (Ismail [1933] 1936: 245; Visvesvaraya [1914a] 1917: 205).

Utilitarianism
Eric Stokes has provided a detailed account of the important relation of
utilitarian philosophy to the formation of British colonial policies in India
(Stokes [1959] 1992). Jeremy Bentham and James Mill were key figures in
this historical episode. For them, a government could achieve the key utilitarian objective of maximizing happiness by securing the institution of private property and allowing each individual to pursue his self-interest. An
ideal political system reconciled liberty and security and laid on individual
action no further restraint than was beneficial, whereby happiness would
be . . . maximized (Stokes 1958: 67). Whereas Mill perceived the device of
representative democracy as ensuring a steady check on any possibilities of
despotism in England, he ruled it out as an option for India where oriental
despotism was inherent to its political institutions (Stokes 1958: 68). Since
Mill expected the utilitarian colonial government to successfully transform
a backward civilization such as India, colonial paternalism did not appear a
violation of the utilitarian ideal of minimal government. And a pedagogic
relationship between the colonial state and the colonized was justified on
the grounds that the former better understood the real and long-term interests of the latter (Iyer 1960: 13). In Mysore, the ruler and his bureaucrats
assumed a similar paternalist relationship with the local subjects.
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The utilitarian model of government had appeared to be politically valid


for the Mysore elite all through the nineteenth century. In 1874, Dewan
Rangacharlu had affi rmed: In this utilitarian age, . . . social institutions can
only hope to stand by their capacity to meet the wants of the people ([1874]
1988: 8). The rulers of Mysore in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries had been educated in the principles of utilitarian moral philosophy
(Sastri 1937: 1718). In keeping with classic utilitarianism, which evaluated
the merits of action through the conceptual yardstick of happiness, they
often declared that the objective of their government was to secure the happiness of their subjects. In 1907, for instance, the ruler declared: It shall ever
be my aim and ambition in life to do all that lies in me to promote the progress and the prosperity of my beautiful State, and the happiness of my
beloved people (Wadiyar [1907] 1934: 44).19
In elaborating their moral philosophy, utilitarians deployed the concept
of utility to evaluate the desirable consequences of action, with an aim toward undermining those defi nitions of social purpose which excluded the
interests of the majority of people, or in one sense of all people such as definitions of value in terms of an existing order or in terms of a god (Williams
1983: 327). Th is concept of utility was gradually absorbedwithout its ethical contentacross other domains of thought, such as neoclassical economic models, rational choice theory, and, more generally, a capitalist business ethos (Biervert and Wieland 1993: 93115). Although utilitarianism
surfaced in the elite discourses in its original avatar as moral philosophy, its
instrumental version appeared more frequently. . An orientation toward the
world solely based on considerations of utility is exemplified in concepts
such as waste, efficiency, productivity, and energy, which extended analytical
leverage in the elites calibration of the desired means of economic
development.
The state elite used the concept of waste to identify instances of loss of
economic value.20 A reductionist understanding of the world as solely a resource to be exploited, this perceptual attitude united various issues under
a common metric of value. Peasants who worked only a part of the year,
illiteracy, lack of awareness of the ways of the civilized, improper business
ideals, unconcern with ones healthall of these were seen as so many instances of waste from the vantage point of an economism that presupposed
these matters to be connected with fostering a national economy. The concept of efficiency is integrally linked to the defi nition of waste; indeed, to be
efficient is not to be wasteful. Increasing agricultural and industrial productivity was also a constant concern among the state elite, who frequently

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asserted that increase of industrial production was the main object of the
economic policy of every country (AOD [19131938] 1938: 49). Attesting to
the dominance of concepts from the natural sciences in interpreting socioeconomic institutions, energy also surfaced frequently in the elite articulations of development.21 An attribute perceived to be present in all individuals, it could be channeled into useful activities, that is, activities that
aided in the development of the state.

Orientalism
Essentialist characterizations such as the lazy native, fatalistic peasant, ill
effects of tropical climate on the characters of Indians, and the inherently
despotic nature of Indian rulers served to uphold the backwardness of Indians and the necessity therefore of a colonial civilizing mission.22 The Mysore
state elites interests in development found an anchor in such an orientalist
regime of representation.
Edward Said used the term orientalism to refer to the complex discursive
apparatus that posited an essential ontological difference between societies
of the East and the West or the analogous binary of the Orient and the Occident. Th is discursive apparatus, he argued, was produced and sustained as
a result of the Wests colonial and imperial dominance in the world (Said
1978).23 The discourse of orientalism would be more durable, of course,
when the oriental subjects themselves acknowledged its validity and identified themselves through it.
The historian Ronald Inden has noted that the British utilitarians, the
European Indologists, and the Evangelicals of the nineteenth century were
agreed that India had an other-worldly or spiritual orientation, which meant
that its civilizational essence had a religious basis (Inden 1990: 85).24 Indens
main observation is that the Indological objectification of Hinduism as a religion that privileged the imagination and the passions rather than reason
and the will was ultimately a post-Enlightenment exercise of defining Europe as the home of transcendent Reason (Inden 1990: 89). Indological views
of Hinduism as a religion that had degenerated from the seventh century onward informed nineteenth-century colonial clichs about the stagnant and
unchanging nature of India (Inden 1990: 117122). Further, as Michael Adas
has argued, scientific and technological progress came to be perceived as a
sign of civilizational and racial superiority in the late nineteenth century: By
the last decades of the nineteenth century, British colonizerswhether missionaries, explorers, or government officialstended to measure evolutionary distance in terms of technological development (1989: 310).
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From the vantage point of these orientalist discourses, the political, economic, and cultural institutions of Mysore appeared a deviation from their
counterparts in the occidentalized Westif the West was modern, scientific, efficient, energetic, and progressive, then Mysore was traditional, nonscientific, inefficient, unenergetic, and backward. The state elite frequently
alluded to Europe as the home of modern civilization while viewing India as
a decadent, religiously oriented civilization. Addressing students at the Maharanis Girl School in 1883, Dewan Seshadri Iyer conveyed a robust optimism on the transformations under way in India: The old Aryan civilization of the east, after centuries of decay and degeneration, now shows signs
of healthy revival by contact with the more modern civilization of the west
(cited in Chandrasekhara 1981: 104). Two decades later, Sri Kantirava NarasimharajaWadiyar, the monarchs brother, reminisced about his recently
concluded visit to Europe: the high state of civilization, and the steady and
ready state of progress the West maintains, as compared with the lethargy
and conservatism of the East, cannot but produce a most striking impression upon the mind of any visitor from our land ([1913] 1942: 30). Dewan
Visvesvaraya deplored the other worldly orientation of Hindus, which did
not provide favorable grounds for a relationship of command to existing resources, unlike the secular, materialist orientation to the world seen to exist
in Western countries (Visvesvaraya [1913b] 1917: 63). More than two decades
later, Dewan Mirza Ismail would remark that Europe had been the creator
of modern civilization ([1936] 1942: 39).
The Mysore elites acceptance of the spurious orientalist claims was selective. For instance, their visions of development did not engage with representations of Indians as cunning and deceitful. A probable reason for this
avoidance, in addition to the paramount consideration of self-respect, is
that these did not seem meaningful variables for explaining economic backwardness in Mysore. However, the elite concurred that the local subjects
were indisposed toward industrial discipline and valorized the importance
of modern technology.25
The power of orientalism can also be seen in the symbolic significance of
Japan for the elite. Japan was an inspiration for the Mysore state elite as it
had proved that an Eastern society could achieve progress. The editor of a
Mysore weekly noted: Japan is an oriental country which has marched forward with the West, and a country which has done it within the shortest
space of time. . . . Mysore may not be Japan but it has nothing to lose by
envying Japan, studying Japan and by following Japan! (Josyer 1930: 47).
Japan was objectified as a country that had disproved myths about the

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backwardness of Eastern societies. Invocations of its success by almost


every dewan of Mysore were therefore often a rhetorical prelude for proclaiming Mysores potential capacity for success (Banerji [1925] 1926: 1158
1159; Urs [1917] 1953: 189190). The perceived commonality between the two
societies was their location in the Orient. 26
In formulating development programs, the state elite accepted the validity of the orientalist stereotypes about Indians but believed that their moral
and political responsibility consisted in overcoming them. Th is political imperative became evident in the Dewan Rangacharlus speech in 1882, which
signaled the importance of the founding of mra for refuting a common orientalist allegation: The universal satisfaction with which it [the news of the
mras founding] has been received throughout Southern India, and I believe, in other parts of India . . . refutes the assumption often made that they
are not yet prepared for self-government (AOD [18811899] 1914: 11). In
1922, another dewan declared that an electric power installation built by
local engineers proved the illegitimacy of the orientalist charge of the inefficiency of Indians (Banerji [1922] 1926: 323).
European modernity subscribed to a perception of the world that was locally grounded in a way that implied its universality and concealed its particularism (Bauman 1992: 12). Such a possibility did not obtain in Mysore, where
the state elites espousal of the universalist ideal of economic progress was
unaccompanied by the concealment of local particularism. In fact, orientalist
discourses heightened the visibility of the local particulars as so many obstacles for achieving economic modernity. In the elites attempts of overcoming
the perceived cultural obstacles and developing Mysore, their relationship
with their fellow Mysoreans mirrored the colonizers relationship with themselves and shared the tutelary impulses of the colonial civilizing mission.

Social Evolutionism
The mode of historical consciousness that embeds the elites development
thought in Mysore corresponded to the discourse of social evolutionism. 27
Though, unlike the historical models associated with figures such as Comte
or Marx, which purported to have discovered invariant laws of sociohistorical evolution, the elite shared only a broad theoretical conviction that development involved the inevitable and desirable transition of agrarian societies
to industrial ones.
In 1882, Dewan Rangacharlu conveyed that the state was most anxious
to rouse the people toward industrial enterprise and progress (AOD
[18811899] 1914: 20). Th irty-one years later, Dewan Visvesvaraya asserted:
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If we want to know in what direction to move, we must compare ourselves


with, and be guided by the experience of, progressive countries ([1913b]
1917: 63). In 1941, a distinguished Mysore intellectual identified three phases
in the states modern political history: Bureaucracy (18311881), Consolidation and Development (18811922) and Popu lar Awakening (post-1922)
(Gundappa [1941] 1998: 448449). Analogizing these historical phases, respectively, to the sprouting of a bud and its subsequent transformation into
a flower and then a fruit, he explained that these three steps were innate
to a countrys history (Gundappa [1941] 1998: 449). He considered a social
evolutionist conception of time to be a countrys svabhava, a Sanskrit term
designating an essential or intrinsic nature.
The elites evolutionist thought frequently found metaphorical analogues
for progress and backwardness in select images of Western and non-Western
societies. In their comparativist orientation, which underlined the deficiency
of local institutions, numerous local features were held up for comparison
with those presumed to exist in the West: the native doctors in Mysore were
secretive while those in the West openly discussed their fi ndings; the local
peasants did not keep proper accounts of expenditure while their counterparts in the West did; the local landholding patterns were fragmentary and
irregularly shaped unlike those in the West; the per capita newspaper consumption was higher in the West; and so on.
The elites certitudes of social evolutionism were embodied in powerful
binarisms such as tradition versus modernity, the religious versus the secular, and agriculture versus industry. In each of these binaries, the latter term
was valorized at the expense of the former term. The devalorization of the
reified categories of tradition, religion, and agriculture, each of which appeared to work to the detriment of creating a modern society in Mysore,
occurred from the smug conviction in a unilinear historical evolution.
Among their many acts of historical reification, the British orientalist
discourses had located the causes of Indias backwardness in the unchanging nature of its tradition. Also, the image of a changeless, self-regulating
Indian village, which was a repository of obstacles to modern civilization,
anchored discussions of rural India among the colonial officials and the state
elite alike. Louis Dumont, the social anthropologist, attributed the idea of
a village as a self-contained political and economic unit to Thomas Munro,
the early nineteenth-century British colonial administrator. Munro depicted
the village as a kind of little republic, that is, a self-contained social structural entity, with an internal division of labor and political arrangement that
persevered, since the age of Menu [sic],28 amidst the shift ing vicissitudes

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in macropolitical regimes (Dumont 1966: 71). Henry Maines influential


works, Ancient Law and Village Communities in the East and West, also emphasized heavily the communitarian aspects of Indian villages, disavowing
the importance of caste or political forces outside the village. Maines
writings, Dumont argues, have to be contextualized in relation to his own
conviction that Indian villages were the counterpart of Teutonic villages
and to the hegemony of social evolutionist thought in nineteenth-century
Eu rope. 29
The state elite, too, objectified tradition and villages as historically
unchanging entities that proved a hindrance for their attempts at bringing
economic development to Mysore. Speaking at the mra in 1882, Dewan
Rangacharlu said: When all the world around is working marvelous progress, the 200 millions of people in the country cannot much longer continue
in their long sleep, simply following the traditions of their ancestors of 2,000
years ago (AOD [18811899] 1914: 20). Th ree decades later, Dewan Visvesvaraya claimed that the peasant had to be weaned from the powerful
influence of tradition, indifference to change and belief in fatalism, as that
would make him show more activity, which was better for the country
([1913a] 1917: 91). In 1931, Dewan Mirza Ismail stressed the need to depart
from traditional ruts in which [India] moved through centuries of time
and partake in the comforts of modern civilization (Ismail [1931] 1936: 67).
In the elites evolutionist vision of development, agriculture was a sector
sure to become marginal in the future. An economy dominated by agriculture seemed a profound imperfection. Ranade had sharply stated: The sole
dependence on Agriculture has been the weak point of all Asiatic civilization ([1890] 1990: 296). The chronopolitics underlying the elites view of
agriculture becomes obvious in Dewan Visvesvarayas words: Occupation
and production in the country are chiefly confi ned to the most primitive of
professions in the world, viz., agriculture ([1915b] 1917: 296). The Department of Agricultures 1926 Report on the Progress of Agriculture in Mysore
(rpa) declared its main concern to be that of raising the condition of the
Mysore village in the fullness of time, to the level of the urban life of
England or America (rpa 1926: 144).
The state elite perceived a commonality between Mysore and the Western world on a deracinated plane of temporal progress. In this social evolutionist orientation, civilizational differences were temporal in nature, and as
such they could be reconciled in history. A senior bureaucrat clarified this
orientation: Villages are the stronghold of conservatism all the world over
and ours are no exception to the rule (Rao 1915: 52). In his Reconstructing
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India, Dewan Visvesvaraya wrote: The Indian peasant is not essentially different from his fellow in other lands (1920: 175). A temporal conception of
civilizational difference enabled this self-universalizing gesture. However,
on the plane of orientalist discourse, which posited an essential ontological
difference between the Occident and the Orient, the elite indulged in acts of
self-particularization. The numerous occasions in which they felt that the
local subjects were fatalistic and other-worldly oriented illustrate this
self-particularizing tendency. The elites representations of a collective selfimage of a backward people departicularized local cultural differences in
favor of a unified, abstract subject of development, denying any contradictions between their interests in development and those of the nonelite.

DEVELOPMENT AND THE REALM OF THE SOCIAL


In the elites vision of development, the field of the economy as a space for
state intervention was purified of the realm of the social. 30 Dewan Visvesvaraya, for instance, clarified that though progress was many sided, economic progress demanded the states chief attention ([1914b] 1917: 152).
In 1926, Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV, the ruler of Mysore, pointed out that
the historic past mattered for any reconstruction of our social, political or
religious polity ([1926] 1934: 253; emphasis added). The omission of the
economy from the list of domains that could be reconstructed only with
the aid of the historic past is significant; it was perceived as separate from
the social, political, and religious realms. Further, the economy was reified
as an acultural domain unavailable as a space of intervention for traditional knowledge. Th is separation of the realm of the social from the economic and the areas of activity gathered under the former are explained in
Dewan Visvesvarayas address to the mra in 1918:

All the activities not deliberately classed as administrative or economic may be said to fall under civic and social. Their object is, as
the name implies, to train the citizens to become good citizens and
good members of society. It is proposed, by means of a special organization, to spread among the people of the country a knowledge of literature, art, culture, manners and morals; to inculcate habits of discipline, orderliness, loyalty to the Sovereign, love of country and spirit
of ser vice; to reform social customs and practices by raising the status
of women, improving marriage customs and elevating the backward
and the depressed classes; to create opportunities to every one

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according to his station in life, to bring up healthy families, to live in


clean and sanitary dwellings and to help in building up well-planned
and beautiful villages and towns; and generally to enable the nonofficial public to co-operate with Government and with one another
in the general uplift of the masses of the population in all parts of the
State. (AOD [19131938]1938: 49)

Issues of caste and gender, among others, were perceived to belong to the
realm of the social.
Clearly, the elite saw little value in Indian culture from their viewpoint of
economic development. As the naturalized model of a modern economy
was located within the coordinates of industrial standards of efficiency and
discipline, the habits of Mysoreans appeared an unhelpful attribute, a problem. Tradition and Religion, which appeared as obstacles in the elites
envisioning of economic development, signified positive content in relation
to putatively social issues, such as language, spirituality, and so on. Indeed,
there was enormous self-pride among the elite in past literary and spiritual
achievements. However, even positive articulations of the components of
the social could not sidestep the power of the development discourse. The
need to combine the best of the West and the best of the East was a frequent
response in Mysore (Wadiyar [1921] 1934: 192).

The Cohabitation of Discrepant Discourses


The discourse of development occasionally became translated into the terms
of locally prevalent Indian philosophical discourses. A historian in Mysore
noted that the concept of good government was a happy translation of
the ancient dharma [moral duty] of rulers (Sastri 1937: 16). Exemplifying an
anachronistic historical method, he retrofitted to the past a concept that had
emerged from a different spatiotemporal formation; in asserting the historical primacy and originality of good government within the traditions of
dharma, he conferred on an older concept new referential content and assimilated it to a new discursive register. 31 The two discourses rest on different conceptions of self and community. Whereas the discourse of development presumed a secular, atomistic conception of the individual self, the
discourse of dharma posited a distinctly nonsecular, nonindividuated conception of the self. The latters conception of the self often presumes the presence of divine agency in human activities. The two models of the self and its
orientation to the world are therefore at sharp variance with each other. In
the political arena, for example, the copresence of the two discrepant kinds of
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discourse is obvious. One set of justificatory bases of the maharajas authority lay in Indian philosophical discourses of Raja Dharma (kings moral
duty), which saw his rule as possessing a sacral quality (Richards 1998: 2).
Discourses on kingship in South Asia drew from Hindu, Islamic, Jaina, and
other philosophical traditions, which had varying ontologies of political authority. However, even this heterogeneity, according to historian J. F. Richards,
will permit us to identify a numinous or sacral quality, however defi ned in
conceptions of kingly authority. Another shared point of view was that kings
are somehow necessary for the protection of the people through the maintenance of the moral order or dharma (Heesterman 1998: 14).
A second set of justificatory bases for Mysores ruler drew from the discourse of political democracy, whereby he staked his claim to authority in
the name of the people. Powerful accusations of oriental despotism imposed great pressures on the ruler to demonstrate his ability to be otherwise, which meant discharging the necessary functions of a modern representative government. 32
The state elites embrace of the discourse of representative government is
announced in the order announcing the formation of the mra in 1881, which
stated that the interests of the Government are identical with those of the people
(Rao 1891: 106; emphasis in the original). Again, the maharaja asserted in an
address to the mlc: The happiness of the people is both the happiness and
the vindication of the Government (Wadiyar [1924] 1934: 232).
The rulers message to the mlc in 1939 affi rmed the importance for the
state to espouse both the Indian and Western political philosophies: I pray
that you may succeed in evolving a scheme that will blend Western ideas of
progress with our own traditions of Satya [Truth] and Dharma [Morality]
(cited in Srikantaiya 1941: 193). Th is note powerfully illustrates the rulers
inability to be indifferent to the Western ideas of progress alongside which
the Indian ideals of Satya and Dharma had to coexist. The latter could provide only an ethical orientation to the world, whereas the former were accompanied by instrumental knowledge, whose value for building a modern
economy was all too evident. Th is chapter has focused mainly on Western
ideas of progress, toward which the state elite could not exercise the liberty
of being indifferent.

A Note on Caste and Gender


Although issues of caste inequal ity were mostly viewed as social and not
economic issues, 33 the need to ameliorate the social and economic conditions of lower castes found institutional expression in 1918 when the state

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decided to grant members of backward and depressed castes preferential allotment in state employment and educational institutions. Women
were not represented in the Mysore state bureaucracy. They were allowed to
vote and contest the mra and mlc elections only in 1927. In 1939, the Second Committee on Constitutional Reforms reserved eleven seats for women
in these legislative fora. Although the issue of women figured prominently
with respect to the age of marriage, that was perceived to be a social and not
an economic issue. The levels of fervor seen in the elite attempts at developing the economy, however, are not similarly present with respect to the reform of institutional practices related to caste discrimination, child marriage, or widow remarriage. Their caution in this regard derived from both a
pragmatic interest of not antagonizing local power structures and a social
conservatism. For instance, during the mra discussions on the desirability
of introducing a penal measure to discourage child marriage in Mysore in
1932, Dewan Mirza Ismail favored state nonintervention in a manner characteristic of his predecessors (Ismail [1932] 1936: 125). His adoption of a
gradualist and incrementalist approach to the issue of social reform is in
stark contrast to his zeal for adopting Western economic practices to hasten
local economic progress. For our purposes of isolating the elements constituting the development thought of the Mysore elite, it is sufficient to note that the
institution of caste became another object for the states technical intervention in the form of reserving positions in state employment and in educational
institutions. The power of the state to define the valid modes of official address on the subject of caste justice is also crucial to note. In 1920, a delegation
of the untouchable castes submitted a petition to Dewan Kantaraj Urs,
claiming state assistance for their betterment. Their discursive strategies
of self-presentation and seeking state redress reflect the power of the statevalidated discourses of history and modern development: We are an ancient
community with a civilization, philosophy and history of which we reasonably feel proud. We are confident also that our social condition will automatically improve with the improvement of our economic condition. Our foremost need is educationmore educationuniversal education (cited in Urs
[1920] 1953: 276277). Demands for social justice in relation to caste inequity
came to be expressed within the terms of the states development discourse.

Discourse Interrupted
The political elites self-location within the pa rameters of development discourse indicates the latters power in only one conversational sphere, albeit
a powerful one backed by state power. The discourse of development prolif356 Historical Studies of Colonialism & Empire

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erated in theoretical and nontheoretical forms: newspaper reports, school


curricula, jokes, metaphors, caricatures, gossip, tall-tales, and other constituents of the fabric of everyday conversations in various social spheres. The
oppositions and skepticism it elicited in these spheres do not permit us to
view its social career in Mysore as being unambiguously triumphant. For
instance, an anonymous article in a local newspaper chided the state for not
curbing the flow of people into the cities, which had denuded the villages
of its inhabitants:
A bold peasantry, their countrys pride,
When once destroyd, can never be supplied.
So sang Goldsmith a hundred years ago, and what was true in his day,
is equally true in the present time. (Anonymous 1921)

Although official discourses displayed conviction in the need for bringing


Mysore within the ambit of industrial modernity, t instances of dissent and
skepticism did surface within them. For example, official discussions occasionally expressed apprehension about the negative consequences of increasing industrialization on rural realities in Mysore. However, such occasional
caution did not destabilize the authority of the discourse of development.
The violence and tragedy of colonial intellectual politics becomes obvious in the Mysore political elites visions of their backwardness and development. In the context of powerful colonial accusations of civilizational
weakness, the elites view of their moral-political competence came to rest
on a sociohistorical ontology embedded in the discursive infrastructure of
colonialism. Seduced by the conceptual armor of colonial empire, the elite
concept of development vacillated between a self-universalizing and selfparticularizing gesture, where the terms of the universal and the par ticu lar
were themselves founded on dominant European discourses. These modes
of elite self-identification not only occasioned pathos but also summoned
the grounds of political agency. Their epic claims of self-failure and selfuplift, directed both to an imagined West and a home audience in Mysore
and elsewhere in colonial India, extended justificatory premises for the
states development interventions from above.
Under conditions of political semiautonomy that enabled the elite to
function as ethical actors, they endorsed a model of development that had
emerged from European intellectual formations. Th is instance of knowledge seduction involved a nonreflexivity about the conceptual foundations
of development discourse. Gandhi and saints such as Ramakrishna

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Paramahamsa, Ramana Maharishi, and Narayana Guru, to name a few who


lived during the period of Mysores indirect rule, elaborated conceptions of
the self and community that sidestepped the protocols of colonial knowledge. 34 Th is chapter has strived to affi rm the ethical importance of
knowledge reflexivity for a politics of liberation. Interventions that seek to
achieve freedom need to work with a heightened understanding of, and
wakefulness to, the ethical, political, and epistemic specificities of the moralcultural universes they wish to work in and not seek anchor in destructive a
priori models of development masquerading as universal science.

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Timeline of British imperialism in India and modern Mysore

the british in india


1619

The East India Company (eic) obtains permission from


Jahangir, the Mughal emperor, to trade in India.

16191757

The eic expands its trading interests in India. The cities of


Bombay, Madras, and Calcutta emerge as major commercial
centers.

1757

The eic win the Battle of Plassey and take political control
over Bengal. With a clear ambition toward the political
subjugation of India, which consisted of many independent
and vassal states, the eic vanquished or subjugated most of its
political rivals in the subcontinent by the mid-nineteenth
century.

1857

A series of armed rebellions against the British break out all


over North India. The British termed this episode the Sepoy
Mutiny while the Indian nationalists later referred to it as the
First War of Indian Independence.

1858

Following the subjugation of the armed rebellions, Queen


Victoria abolishes the eic and brings India under the Imperial
Crown.

1885

The Indian National Congress (inc) is founded to provide an


organ izational front for the nationalist struggle against
colonial rule.

1920

Mahatma Gandhi launches the Non-Co-operation


Movement.

1942

The inc launches the Quit India Movement.

1947

British rule ends in India, and the subcontinent is vivisected, in Gandhis words, into India and
Pakistan.

mysore
17661769

First Anglo-Mysore War. Hyder Ali, the ruler of Mysore,


successfully defeats the combined military attack of the

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British, the rulers of Western India, and the neighboring


kingdom of Hyderabad.

17801784 Second Anglo-Mysore War. Tipu Sultan, Hyder Alis son,


counters another attack by the same group of allies. Without a
clear victor, the Treaty of Mangalore, which preserves the
status quo prior to the war, is drawn.
17891792

Th ird-Anglo-Mysore War. A defeated Tipu Sultan signs the


Treaty of Srirangapatnam, which results in the loss of half of
Mysores territory to the British and its local allies.

1799

Fourth Anglo-Mysore War. With the support of its allies, the


British kill Tipu Sultan and overcome their most formidable
obstacle to colonial expansion in southern India. They install
Krishnaraja Wadiyar III, a member of the erstwhile Wadiyar
dynasty, as ruler of Mysore.

1831

The British defeat a militant rebellion at Nagar and assume


direct political control over Mysore, which lasts until 1881.

1881

Mysore is brought under Indirect Rule again, and a member


from the Wadiyar family is made the maharaja of Mysore.

19021940 During the political tenure of Maharaja Sri Krishnaraja


Wadiyar IV and the spirited prime ministers such as Sir M.
Visvesvaraya and Sir Mirza Ismail, Krishnarajasagar Dam
(19111932), the fi rst hydro-electric project in India, and major
institutions such as Mysore Bank (1913), Mysore University
(1916), and Mysore Chamber of Commerce (1916) come into
being.
1947

Mysore joins the newly independent Indian Union.

NOTES
Th is chapter draws from my dissertation (Gowda 2007). Research for this chapter
was supported by grants from the American Institute of Indian Studies; National
Science Foundation Grant SES-0326942; and the Rackham Graduate School, International Institute, and the Department of Sociology at the University of Michigan. I would like to express gratitude to the following individuals for their valuable
comments on this chapter: Jeffery Paige, George Steinmetz, Sumathi Ramaswamy,
Lee Schlesinger, Julia Adams, and Ou-Byung Chae.
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1. For a discussion of the ideas of development among the Latin American elite in
the nineteenth century, see Baud (1995) and Gootenberg (1993).
2. The Indian states have not received sufficient attention from historians of South
Asia possibly due to the organization of the colonial official archive itself, which has
documented British India more extensively than the Indian States. The absence of
anticolonial nationalist movements in the Indian states is another possible reason.
3. During British direct rule, the various chief commissioners, who were in
charge of administering Mysore, introduced apparatuses of modern bureaucracy.
Although British political control was resented, the state elite viewed the introduction of bureaucracy as a positive contribution (Rangacharlu 1874: 9). These historical details and the practice of colonial rule are explained in more detail in chapter 2
of my dissertation (Gowda 2007).
4. The nationalist movement that emerged in British India did not elicit broadbased support in Mysore until the late 1930s. The discourses of development found
in Mysore, therefore, do not neatly overlap with those of Indian economic nationalism. Th is chapter does not elaborate the implications of this tension for reasons for
space. Contrary acts of national identification with India and Mysore are found
in official discourses in Mysore. Mysore was sometimes referred to as a nation
and Indians from outside the state were occasionally referred to as foreigners and
aliens. In the early twentieth century, however, the Mysore elite and the educated
nonelite viewed themselves as belonging to the larger national-political entity of
India. For instance, the Maharaja affi rmed at the Mysore Legislative Council: We,
in Mysore, form, as it were, a nation within a nation (Wadiyar [1924] 1934: 231).
5. Explicit acknowledg ment of intellectual affi liation with economic nationalists
in the writings of the Mysore state elite is rare. The most plausible reason for this
has to be the power of the colonial political arrangements within which Mysore
was situated. The states formal assent to function without any antagonism toward
the British colonial interests made it difficult for the political elite to be openly
criticalunlike the economic nationalists in British Indiaof the colonial mechanisms that thwarted their political freedom.
6. Occasionally, development was taken to be synonymous with the multidimensional concept of progress. The rulers inaugural address at the reconstituted Mysore Legislative Council in 1924 is illustrative in this regard: The ceremony which
I am performing to-day is thus a step in a continuous and well-ordered process of
development, which has been going on for forty years (Wadiyar [1924] 1934: 232).
7. Founded in 1881, the mra was a purely deliberative body without powers of
legislation, which consisted of state-nominated agriculturists and landlords. The
mlc, which was formed in 1907 as a body with limited powers of legislation, consisted of state nominated members. The mec was founded in 1911 to function as a
forum for entrepreneurial individuals to discuss issues related to economic progress in Mysore.
8. The influential theories of modernization elaborated by sociologists such as
Daniel Lerner, Alex Inkeles, and David McLellan in the 1960s and 1970s are a codified amalgam of these four discourses.

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9. For instance, although Mysore wanted to become econom ical ly self-reliant as


early as 1881, this interest was conceptually repositioned within the politics of the
swadeshi movement in subsequent decades. Emerging in the province of Bengal in
1905, with the aim of making India econom ical ly self-reliant, the swadeshi movement demanded boycotting the consumption of imported articles in favor of locally produced ones. Although the term swadeshi did not come into official use
immediately in 1905 in Mysore, the states discourse of economic self-reliance interarticulated with that of swadeshi. In 1933, Dewan Mirza Ismail claimed that Mysore had promoted swadeshi seven years before the term came into use: It is now
forty-five years since the State of Mysore began to promote Swadeshi enterprises
through the means of this Exhibition ([1933] 1936: 241242).
10. Influential in Western Eu rope between the sixteenth and the late eighteenth
centuries, the economic doctrine of mercantilism corresponded to the emergence
and consolidation of the nation-state model in Eu rope. Briefly stated, it advocated
measures to secure the economic and political interests of the nation-state at a time
of frequent wars. In order to meet the rising expenditure on civil administration
and military needs, mercantilists favored the acquisition of precious metals, like
gold, as they were readily accepted for economic transactions. Th is objective could
be best achieved by encouraging exports and discouraging imports through protective tariffs. The publication of Adam Smiths The Wealth of Nations and its widespread success undermined the theoretical appeal of mercantilism. Smiths model
of the universal economy did not favor the imposition of artificial obstacles to protect a nations interests.
11. A historian has noted that List played an important role in recasting the spatial assumptions of classical economic paradigms [which] conceived the division of
labor and markets as abstract configurations with no specific spatial extension
(Goswami 2004: 216).
12. Urging the British to impose a duty on sugar imported from Java, which
posed a serious competition to the sugar industry in India, G. K. Gokhale, the
famous nationalist politician and economist, said: Sir, the great German economist, List, points out in one place what happens when a country like India comes
into the vortex of universal competition. He says that when a country, industrially
backward, . . . comes into the vortex of universal competitioncompetition with
countries which use steam and machinery and the latest researches of science in
their productionthe fi rst effect is to sweep off local industries, and the country is
thrust back on agriculture. . . . I certainly would strongly advocate that the Government of India should follow this advice of List (1962: 335).
13. I am referring only to the elites objectification of the image of a national
economy. The British had imposed many imperial restrictions in Mysore. For example, the British had an exclusive right over excise duties on salt (AOD [1881
1899] 1914: 2). Also, they assumed control over the postal system in 1886 (AOD
[18811899] 1914: 61).
14. For a brief elaboration of Lists infant industry argument and its influence on
development economics, see Shafaeddin (2005: 42 61).
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15. List proposed a twofold classification of countries based on their location


either in the torrid zone or the temperate zone, wherein the countries in the
former category were naturally situated to specialize in agriculture and those in the
latter were well positioned to develop their manufacturing potential. Further, the
mental and social development and the political power, which would accrue to
the countries of the temperate zone would enable them to develop colonial relations with the countries of inferior civilization in the torrid zone.
16. Another instance of such a strategic discursive appropriation occurred with
John Stuart Mills ideas of liberty and representative democracy, which were immensely popu lar among educated Indians in colonial India: In his essay, On Liberty, John Stuart Mill had carefully stated that its doctrines were only meant to
apply to those countries which were sufficiently advanced in civilization to be capable of settling their affairs by rational discussion. . . . But although he himself refused to apply the teachings of Liberty or Representative Government to India, a
few Radical Liberals and a growing body of educated Indians made no such limitations (Stokes 1959: 298; also Mehta 1999: 97106).
17. In his influential essay on governmentality, Foucault (1991) singled out the
state interest in population as marking a shift from the pastoral model of exercising
power to a governmental one in Western Eu rope. I have not engaged the discussions of colonial governmentality here as they recenter the state; Foucaults key
observation that governmentality was both individualizing and totalizing aimed
precisely to decenter the state and reveal the workings of power in nonstate spheres,
such as the consolidation of statistics, demography, and medical science, among
others, as scientific disciplines. In colonized societies like Mysore, the state worked
with this knowledge without corresponding institutional reinforcements from
civil society, so to speak.
18. With the assistance of the Rockefel ler Foundation, Mysore became the fi rst
state in India to carry out a birth control experiment in 1927.
19. It is likely that the utilitarian concept of happiness resonated with older political discourses concerning a rulers responsibility for the well-being of his subjects. Still, the fact that British tutors had educated the rulers of Mysore in the
theory and practice of government, the reading of modern history and science
[and] the principles of jurisprudence and methods of revenue administration (Srikantaiya 1941: 184) affords strong grounds for seeing the invocations of happiness
as more properly belonging to the discursive order of utilitarianism.
20. The concept of waste itself has an old intellectual lineage. The concept was important for utilitarians including Jeremy Bentham and John Locke. Waste provided
a conceptual anchor for Lockes argument against the law of entropy, which held that
the materials of nature could be transformed only from usable to nonusable state.
Locke claimed that everything in nature was waste until man took hold of it and
transformed it into usable forms, [and] that the world and history were progressing
from chaos to order (Stokes 1995: 125). Waste broadly came to be seen as the antithesis of the quality of being productive in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth
centuries. Adam Smith used the term to refer to uncultivated land, for example.

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21. Philip Mirowskis (1989) study shows the conceptual intimacy between economics and physics.
22. British orientalism in colonial India was not a straightforward enterprise of
producing inferior representations of Indians. Indeed, the officials of the East India
Company, influenced by the universal humanism of the eighteenth-century philosophes, identified a glorious tradition in ancient India. Scholars such as William Jones
and officials including Warren Hastings expressed deep admiration for the literary
and other artistic achievements in classical India (Hutchins 1967; Kopf 1969: 2242;
Metcalf 1994: 915). It has to be remembered that such romantic projections of the
Indian past jostled with the theses of oriental despotism and the historical degeneration of Indians (Metcalf 1994: 15). The romantic attitude waned with the growing
prominence of scientific racism and evangelical zeal in England in the mid-nineteenth
century.
23. It has been remarked that Saids argument gives overwhelming agency to the
Western societies in their powers of defi ning the Orient. How did the Orient respond
to its representation by the West? There is no single answer to this question. While
the Mysore political elite, for example, accepted the historical validity of many orientalist claims about Indian history and society, some of the most important saints in
India in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, such as Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and Ramana Maharshi, stayed outside the intellectual gambit of orientalism.
24. As these scholars also perceived caste to be a central institution in India,
Hinduism was privileged over Islam or other religions as a site for deeper investigation into the foundations of Indian civilization. The inapplicability of the Semitic
concept of religion in the South Asian context has long been noted with a view to
guard against objectifications of a monolithic Hinduism.
25. In addition to its use as a means of transport and communication, Dewan
Rangacharlu favored the building of local railways also to train up Natives in the
working of Railways and of the engines and machinery connected with them; and
thereby also diff use the practice of handling machinery amongst the people (AOD
[18811899] 1914: 17).
26. In 1916 and 1919, Mysore sent two official delegations to Japan to learn about
its administrative and economic policies (Banerji [1923] 1926: 690). In addition to
periodic visits by students of Mysore, members of a Merchants Deputation from
Mysore also visited Japan in 19161917. The Mysore Economic Conference, a state
orga nization founded in 1913 to promote local economic investment was modeled
on the Japa nese Investigation Commission (Hettne 1978). The Village Improvement Scheme, a major scheme that aimed at making the local peasants productive
and compiling extensive statistical knowledge about rural society in Mysore was
also modeled on a parallel Japa nese scheme.
27. It is well known that eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Eu ropean conceptions of progress were marked by the telos of industrial modernity. The notion of
history as a progressive, linear sequence of events in time is the contribution of
Christian eschatology, which viewed history as a series of events testifying to the
continuous perfectibility of humans (Lwith 1949: 182190). Th inkers of the French
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Enlightenment, such as Voltaire, Condorcet, and Comte, detached the concept of


historical progress from its theological moorings and rendered it secular (Lwith
1949: 60114).
28. The time of Manu is used to mean ancient times. Manu is often considered
to be the author of Manusmriti, one of the eighteen Dharmashastras, which are
texts of moral codes composed somewhere between 200 bc and 200 ad. But scholarly opinion considers the authorship to be a misattribution to a nonex istent figure
and recognizes the Manusmriti to be the joint work of many writers.
29. It is well known that Marx developed his idea of primitive communism based
on Maines book, Village Communities in the East and West. Dumont argues that
Maines criticisms of the utilitarian concept of human agency, based on his observations on Indian village life, had an influence on Talcott Parsons as well.
30. Karl Polanyi and Louis Dumont have pointed out that the economy as a
realm independent of the political and religious fields is an invention of capitalist
literature.
31. Indeed, this is the dilemma marking appropriations of the past by professional historians, who seek to understand diverse places and times through methodological devices belonging to the order of post-Enlightenment secular rationality. One of the most compelling arguments against the universality of Enlightenment
thought has been made through an unmasking of the monopolistic authority of
modern historiography to explain and interpret any and all pasts (Chakrabarty
1992; Nandy 1983, 1995).
32. In The Native Princes of India, published in 1875, C. U. Aitchison, a British official, complained that the governments of Indian states were: personal Governments, where the preponderance of good over evil depends less on opportunity
than on the character of the Chiefs and their Ministers. Perhaps in another generation . . . the doctrine that the King exists for the people will no longer sound strange
in the ears of the Native princes (quoted in Sastri 1932: 211).
33. Occasionally, the state elite saw caste purely in terms of an economism: as we
saw earlier, Dewan Visvesvaraya considered caste disputes a waste of mental energy. In appealing to the members of the mra for the necessity of state aid for the
uplift of the untouchable castes, Sir Kantaraj Urs said: I submit that, apart from
bare considerations of humanity, it is a great economic loss to the State that such a
large body of our fellow-subjects should be left in such a helpless condition (AOD
[19131938] 1938: 80).
34. The works of the phi losopher Ramachandra Gandhi illuminate the political
relevance of these figures. See, for example, Gandhi (1984, 2005).

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