Turbulent Delhi

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South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies
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Turbulent Delhi: Religious strife, social tension and political conflicts, 1803-1857 Michael Mann a a Fern University, Hagen Online Publication Date: 01 April 2005

To cite this Article Mann, Michael(2005)'Turbulent Delhi: Religious strife, social tension and political conflicts, 1803-1857',South Asia:

Journal of South Asian Studies,28:1,5 — 34
To link to this Article: DOI: 10.1080/00856400500056061 URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00856400500056061

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South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies, n.s., Vol.XXVIII, no.1, April, 2005

Turbulent Delhi: Religious Strife, Social Tension and Political Conflicts, 1803–18571 Michael Mann
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Fern University, Hagen

Introduction In the history of modern India, resistance movements are often regarded as a rural phenomenon, poor peasants raising their voices and weapons against oppressive landlords.2 At the same time, urban riots are generally portrayed as manifestations of older pre-colonial social tensions, though the colonial record is dotted with instances of well-organised urban resistance against British rule.3 But whether the emphasis is on resistance or rebellion, or on the maintenance of law and order, urban riots are hardly ever related to the political, social and economic tensions that urban environments generate.4 This paper looks into the ‘genotype’ of these diverse tensions against the background of the transformation processes which took place in the towns of north India from the last decades of the eighteenth century to the middle of the nineteenth century.5 It focuses, however, on Delhi. The former capital of the Mughal Empire serves in many ways as a paradigm for this substantial transformation and, besides, the history of Delhi can also be read

1 Previous versions of this article and parts of it have been presented at Heidelberg University, the Institut fuer Asien und Afrikawissenschaften of the Humboldt University in Berlin and the Max Muller Bhavan in Delhi. I would like to particularly thank Narayani Gupta, David J. Gips, Evelin Hust, and Margrit Pernau for critical comments. 2 See the various articles in the volumes of the Subaltern Studies I –XI (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1982 f). 3 Gautam Bhadra, ‘Four Rebels Of Eighteen-Fifty-Seven’, in Ranajit Guha (ed.), Subaltern Studies, Vol.IV, pp.228– 75, esp. pp.263–73. 4 Cf. Sandria B. Freitag, Collective Action and Community. Public Arenas and the Emergence Of Communalism in North India (Berkeley, Los Angeles, Oxford: University of California Press, 1992); and...
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