The political economy of the Ganga River : highway of state formation in Mughal India, c.1600-1800

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The political economy of the Ganga River : highway of state formation in Mughal India, c.1600-1800

Title: The political economy of the Ganga River : highway of state formation in Mughal India, c.1600-1800
Author: Jha, Murari Kumar
Publisher: Leiden University Institute for History, Faculty of Humanities, Leiden University
Issue Date: 2013-06-04
Keywords: Political economy of the Ganga
Environmental changes
River navigation
Semi-arid and humid zones
Mughal Empire
Agricultural goods production
Dutch East India Company (VOC)
English East India Company (EIC)
Maritime global economy
Indian Ocean
Regional centralization
Decline of the Mughal Empire
Transition to EIC rule
Abstract: This dissertation examines the political economy of the Ganga River during the early modern period. Thematically, the seven chapters of the dissertation may be categorized in three broad divisions. Taking a longue durée perspective, the first two chapters situate the Ganga and its plain in the wider cultural and geographical framework of the Indian subcontinent. While Chapter 1 is concerned with the central role of the Ganga in Indian culture and civilization since the first millennium BC, Chapter 2 discusses early migration and the settlement pattern along the Ganga by paying close attention to the environmental predispositions of the region. The second broad division relates to the Ganga as connecting and feeding the political economy of northern India during the early modern period. The Ganga linked the region with the maritime economy, facilitated navigation, transportation of merchandise and also facilitated political control. Thus, Chapters 3 to 6 examine the political economic processes along the Ganga in eastern India, the integration of the regional commercial economy with the maritime global economy, bullion flows and production processes of such merchandise as saltpeter, opium and textiles. As Bihar offered these commodities, its economy pulled the maritime traders who approached the region through the Ganga highway. The inflows of specie boosted the economy and the agricultural and craft-productions kept pace with the increasing demands in overseas markets. Benefitting from the expanding economy of Bihar, the zamindars (warlords-cum-gentry) asserted their control over the Ganga and chocked the flow of resources to the Mughal imperial coffers and thus paving the way for Mughal decline in the eighteenth century. The third and last thematic division in Chapter 7 focuses on the decline of the Mughal Empire, zamindar-led regional centralization, and the political transition to EIC rule.
Description: Promotores: J.L. Blussé van Oud-Alblas, J.J.L. Gommans
With Summary in Dutch
Faculty: Faculteit der Letteren
Citation: Jha, M.K., 2013, Doctoral Thesis, Leiden University
Sponsor: Leids Universiteits Fonds (LUF)

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