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Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
March 2020
Print publication year:
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Creative Commons:
Creative Common License - CC Creative Common License - BY Creative Common License - NC Creative Common License - ND
This content is Open Access and distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0

Book description

Based on a completely reconstructed archive of Persian, Hindi and Marathi documents, Nandini Chatterjee provides a unique micro-history of a family of landlords in Malwa, central India, who flourished in the region from at least the sixteenth until the twentieth century. By exploring their daily interactions with imperial elites as well as villagers and marauders, Chatterjee offers a new history from below of the Mughal Empire, far from the glittering courts of the emperors and nobles, but still dramatic and filled with colourful personalities. From this perspective, we see war, violence, betrayal, enterprise, romance and disappointment, but we also see a quest for law, justice, rights and righteousness. A rare story of Islamic law in a predominantly non-Muslim society, this is also an exploration of the peripheral regions of the Maratha empire and a neglected princely state under British colonial rule. This title is also available as Open Access.


‘This book is an important work that enriches our understanding of family, empire and estate in South Asia. The analysis moves away from state policy and image-building to the micro-processes that actually reproduce state power. It achieves this through the mastery of difficult sources presented in a wide comparative frame.'

Sumit Guha - University of Texas, Austin

‘In tracking a single family's legal documents over three centuries, Nandini Chatterjee has written an extraordinary book, upturning our understanding of how Mughal law worked and how it was experienced by its subjects. It will be revelatory for anyone interested in Islamic, South Asian, or Mughal history.'

Samira Sheikh - Vanderbilt University

‘… it will be a valuable addition to the historiography of the Mughal Empire.’

P. P. Barua Source: Choice

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Full book PDF
  • Negotiating Mughal Law
    pp i-ii
  • Negotiating Mughal Law - Title page
    pp iii-iii
  • A Family of Landlords across Three Indian Empires
  • Copyright page
    pp iv-iv
  • Contents
    pp v-v
  • Figures and Tables
    pp vi-vi
  • Maps
    pp vii-vii
  • Acknowledgements
    pp viii-x
  • Note on Transliteration and Dates
    pp xi-xi
  • Abbreviations
    pp xii-xii
  • Introduction: Law in Many Forms
    pp 1-43
  • 1 - Malwa: Land of Many Empires
    pp 44-69
  • 2 - Zamīndārs: Lords of the Marches
    pp 70-112
  • 3 - Contractors: Engaging the State
    pp 113-140
  • 4 - Transactions: Recording Deals
    pp 141-170
  • 5 - Disputes: Judges and Courts
    pp 171-190
  • 6 - Invaders: Marathas and the British
    pp 191-210
  • 7 - Identity: Professionals or Warlords?
    pp 211-223
  • Fragments to Archives: a Methodological Manifesto
    pp 224-238
  • Appendix: A Catalogue of the P Das Archive
    pp 239-266
  • Glossary
    pp 267-268
  • Bibliography
    pp 269-290
  • Index
    pp 291-298


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