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Mountstuart Elphinstone in South AsiaPioneer of British Colonial Rule$
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Shah Mahmoud Hanifi

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190914400

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190914400.001.0001

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Information and Affect in Charles Metcalfe’s Mission to Lahore, August 1808–May 1809

Information and Affect in Charles Metcalfe’s Mission to Lahore, August 1808–May 1809

Chapter:
(p.149) 7 Information and Affect in Charles Metcalfe’s Mission to Lahore, August 1808–May 1809
Source:
Mountstuart Elphinstone in South Asia
Author(s):

Robert Nichols

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190914400.003.0008

Charles Metcalfe's 1808–1809 diplomatic mission from Delhi to the court of Ranjit Singh in Lahore was coordinated with Elphinstone's efforts in Peshawar – but Metcalfe was more successful politically. A skilled linguist and political observer, Metcalfe established over many months official and personal relationships that ensured decades of border stability between the Sikh and British-Indian empires. Metcalfe returned to Delhi with a Sikh wife. They had three sons. His personal story resonated with Christopher Bayly's sense that successful colonial era connections with South Asian communities often involved degrees of "affective knowledge" grounded in long-term personal empathy and understanding. The life stories of Metcalfe's wife and sons revealed the complex realities of colonial era gender and racial sensitivities and hierarchies.

Keywords:   Charles Metcalfe, Ranjit Singh, Sikh history, Delhi history, British-Indian frontiers, Gender

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