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Barooah, Niroda Kumar (1964) David Scott on the North-East Frontier of India and in Assam. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI: https://doi.org/10.25501/SOAS.00034126

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Abstract

The subject of this study is David Scott who served the East India Company on the northern and eastern frontier of the Bengal Presidency from 1802 to 1831. First coming into prominence by his handling of relations with Bhutan and Tibet during the Nepal War of 1814, Scott was successively concerned with the Garo hills, the Khasi hills and Assam, as Agent to the North East Frontier and Commissioner of Assam. The years of his service saw a rapid British territorial expansion. They were also years wherein the duties of the British officers, agents of the Paramount power, were greatly extended. This dual growth raised the urgent question of the British purpose in India, to which conservative or paternalist, imperial, liberal, Evangelical and Utilitarian answers were variously given, This thesis sets Scott against this questioning background and seeks to define his contribution to the debate. Scott favoured British territorial expansion, and played an important role by his advocacy of a forward policy in Assam. His imperial vision also extended to the creation of European cantonments and even military colonies in the healthy Khasi hills, the basis for a possible fourth Presidency centred upon Assam. He encouraged Christian missionary effort, and was a pioneer in advocating its application to the tribal areas of the frontier. But he was also a paternalist in his sympathetic study of the Garos, Khasis and Ahoms, and in his efforts to work through native institutions in evolving an administration for newly annexed Assam. His uncle, the Director David Scott, had been deeply involved in the question of Indian trade and commercial relations. Scott likewise actively pursued the possibilities of trade with Burma and China, and showed great practical enthusiasm in developing the resources and commerce of the areas in his charge. Thus both Scott's actions and his ideas are of interest and importance.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier): https://doi.org/10.25501/SOAS.00034126
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2020 17:38
URI: https://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/34126

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