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Other research product . 2022

Paths of Resistance: South India in the Age of Revolution

Amer, Eyal;
Open Access
English
Published: 01 Jan 2022
Publisher: eScholarship, University of California
Country: United States
Abstract
This dissertation examines the various responses of south Indians to the local and global transformations of the late eighteenth century, with the goal of opening up a new perspective on how the Indo-Muslim world actually experienced the revolutionary age. Drawing from hitherto untapped and overlooked primary sources written in Arabic, Persian, Tamil, French and English, this dissertation explores the political, ideological and religious shifts that occurred in three major cities of south India: Madras, Pondicherry and Mysore. It examines how the new economic, military and political challenges brought about by the presence of two competing European imperial powers, the British and the French, provoked locals to explore novel political ideas and ideologies, contest imperial authorities, search for new alliances and allegiances, and introduce new reform agendas in order to reorganize themselves and assure their social, political, and religious survival. The dissertation investigates these questions by analyzing the wide range of responses of Muslim rulers, local intellectuals, and social groups to the new regional dramatic shifts, and exploring their connections with the wider global revolutionary currents of the late eighteenth century. Two major global developments with a great impact on the regional transformation during the period are of particular interests to this dissertation. First, the dissertation explores neglected links between south Indian Muslim rulers, particularly Tipu Sultan of Mysore and Muhammad Wālājāh of Arcot, and Muslim revivalists of the Naqshbandi Mujaddidi order. Second, the dissertation seeks to trace the spread, impact and appropriation of French revolutionary language and symbols in Pondicherry, Madras, Mysore and Hyderabad, and explain how they became entangled with the transforming forces already at work on a local level, even as the British acted quickly to suppress them. Overall, the dissertation argues that during the 1780s and 1790s locals developed a new type of revolutionary consciousness principally driven by local circumstances and conditions but also shaped by the wider global revolutionary currents configured around the French Revolution. This revolutionary consciousness, the dissertation suggests, survived after the death of Tipu Sultan and provided a foundation for anti-British political activities and resistance in early nineteenth century.
Subjects

History, Asian history, Asian studies

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