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Forgotten FriendsMonks, Marriages, and Memories of Northeast India$
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Indrani Chatterjee

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780198089223

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198089223.001.0001

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Eighteenth-Century Shifts of Monastic Governments

Eighteenth-Century Shifts of Monastic Governments

(p.81) 2 Eighteenth-Century Shifts of Monastic Governments
Forgotten Friends

Indrani Chatterjee

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that Mughal attempts to reorganise the military had elevated ancsestryfrom sacred teachers as qualifying descendants for exemptions from land and labour taxes. However, after the establishment of East India Company governance from 1765, both exemptions for sacred figures and the value of descent from sacred figures were eroded slowly. Such erosion affected women in such households twice over – in terms of their biological descent and kinship claims as daughters, sisters, wives, and mothers of such men; and in their succession to authority and property held by these lineages. At the same time, such erosion of monastic status and exemptions also affected the Englishmen who visited monastic domains from the late eighteenth century. These English surveyors stumbled across the monastic geographic order and did not recognise it. Thus began a colonial chain of ignorance.

Keywords:   exemptions, tax-free holdings, women and descent, property, inheritance, Buddhist teachers and subjects, monastic status, East India Company, colonial ignorance, syncretic communities

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