Political Change in a Stable Society: Tanjore District 1880 to 1920

  • David Washbrook


In studies of the development of modern Indian politics, a great deal of attention has been paid to the effects of social, economic and ideological change. The growth of facilities for western education, the impact of western ideas, changes in the relations between landlord and tenant and between employer and employee, the development of improved systems of communication and marketing, the social consequences of cash-cropping and of urban growth have all come under the analytical eye of historians. What have been subjected to a much less full examination, however, are the ‘purely political’ institutions of India. Clearly, in all societies, when political power is exercised over an extensive area it has to operate through a series of administrative machines. The lines of authority and obedience spun out by those machines mark out the perimeter of a political system. While it is possible, even probable, that such lines will follow those of economic and social power, they need not necessarily do so. Once formalised institutions are established, they develop an existence and a method of regulation of their own, and the relationships between the people inside them can be quite different from the relationships they have outside.


Political Institution Political Change Political Organisation Political Connection Local Politician 
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© C. J. Baker and D. A. Washbrook 1975

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  • David Washbrook

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