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Empire and Information: Intelligence Gathering and Social Communication in India, 1780-1870

C.A. Bayly (Author)
Synopsis The British conquered India within two generations, not only because of their military superiority, but also because they deployed a sophisticated intelligence system.  In a penetrating account of the evolution of British intelligence gathering in India between the wars of annexation in 1793-1818 and the aftermath of the Mutiny Rebellion of 1857, C.A. Bayly shows how the networks of Indian running-spies and political secretaries were recruited by the British to secure military, political and social information about their subjects.  He also examines the social and intellectual origins of these 'native informants', and considers how the colonial authorities interpreted and often misinterpreted the information they supplied.  As Professor Bayly demonstrates, it was their midunderstanding of the subtleties of Indian politics and values which ultimately contributed to the failure of the British to anticipate the rebellions and mutinies of 1857.  He argues, however, that even before this India's complex systems of debate and communication were challenging the political and intellectual dominance of the European rulers.
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About the author

C.A. Bayly

C.A. Bayly is Vere Harmsworth Professor of Imperial and Naval History at the University of Cambridge, and Fellow of St Catharine's College.  His publications include The local roots of Indian politics (1975), Rulers, townsmen, and bazaars (1983), and Indian society and the making of the British Empire (1987).

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Bibliographic information

Title Empire and Information: Intelligence Gathering and Social Communication in India, 1780-1870
Author C.A. Bayly
Format Softcover
Date published: 29.05.2007
Edition Reprint
Language: English
isbn 9788175960657
length xiv+412p., Bibliography; Index; 23cm.
Subjects History