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Frykenberg, Robert Eric (1961) The Administration of Guntur District With Special Reference to Local Influences on Revenue Policy: 1837-1848. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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Between 1837 and 1845, a silent combination of local forces benefited at the expense of the State. For lack of accurate information from the villages and lack of support from Madras, British officers lost control of their subordinates and their authority was weakened. Indian district officers, notably Maratha Brahmans under the leadership of the Sheristadar, supplanted the Zamindars. Acting in the name of Government, these officers became free from supervision and acquired the perquisites and dignities of power. The aura of divinity, the borrowed glow of the huzur, so clung to them that they could walk like giants. A daughter's marriage or the erection of a shrine by one of these officers would bring special contributions from the villages. But the villages often gained the better part of bargains with district officers. As village money spread a corrupting influence into ever higher levels of the hierarchy, the administration became caught in the webs of village influence. As in the story of Gulliver, the strength of the district was pegged to the earth by countless tiny threads, a captive of Lilliputian villages. Executive control over Guntur would not have faltered nor would policies have suffered paralysis had not local influences utilized remarkable sources of strength and had not central authority been weak and ineffectual. In short, local influences undermined central authority and thwarted State policy.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2020 17:38

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