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The Oxford History of the British Empire: Volume V: Historiography$
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Robin Winks

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780198205661

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198205661.001.0001

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India to 1858

India to 1858

(p.194) 11 India to 1858
The Oxford History of the British Empire: Volume V: Historiography

Robert E. Frykenberg

Oxford University Press

Most of the work which focused on events in India before 1858 gradually became more localized, occasional, mundane, or antiquarian in character. In the 20th century, new histories about India before 1858, and about Indian history as a whole, did not increase in number until the third decade. As late as the 1960s, understandings of events in India before 1858 tended to be pursued mainly from the ‘top down’, concentrating narrowly upon concerns of government, and relating contexts and consequences of decision-making and public policy to Imperial development. The central question of how India could ever have fallen under British rule continues to engage almost obsessive attention. The twin capstones upon the edifices of new Indian historiography, combining bottom-up and top-down perspectives of British control in North India and South India, were put in place by C. A. Bayly and Burton Stein. The categories of new historiography are explained in this chapter. In general, the argument of this chapter is that historical understandings of India, never wholly one or the other, always were and still are products of a dialectical process in which both Indians and Westerners have contributed to an evolving synthesis.

Keywords:   India, Indian history, government, Imperial development, British rule, Indian historiography, British control, Indians, Westerners

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