Skip to main content
×
×
Home

A Secret in the Oxford Sense: Thieves and the Rhetoric of Mystification in Western India

  • Anastasia Piliavsky (a1)
Extract

Common sense commodifies the secret, alienating the value of its content from its social context. But a secret perfectly kept dies in its circle of initiates. Few secrets, however, are dead on arrival, since their seduction lies precisely in their revelation. Most things said to be hidden are in fact nurtured through the processes of calculated concealment, allusion, and revelation, the secrets propagating themselves through circles of conspiracy, rumor, and gossip. As Tim Jenkins observed, “What is concealed, and the reasons for its concealment, serve to distract attention from the dynamic of the secret: what at first sight appears to be static and indeed dead, possessed by and known to only a few, kept in some dark place, in fact has a life and movement of its own; the secret propagates itself through a structure of secret and betrayal” (1999: 225–26).

Copyright
Corresponding author
apiliavsky@gmail.com
References
Hide All
Abrams P. 1988. Some Notes on the Difficulty of Studying the State. Journal of Historical Sociology 1, 1: 5889.
Aklujkar A. 1996. Dharma-Caurya-Rasāyana as a Text and as a Work of Brahmin Fantasy. Amṛtamandākinī. Dr. G. B. Palsule Felicitation Volume. Palsule G. et al. , eds. Pune: Dr. Palsule Satkar Samiti, 239–60.
Arnold D. 1986. Police Power and Colonial Rule: Madras, 1859–1947. Delhi: Oxford University Press.
Babb L. A. 1975. The Divine Hierarchy: Popular Hinduism in Central India. New York: Columbia University Press.
Bayly C. A. 1996. Empire and Information: Intelligence Gathering and Social Communication in India, 1780–1870. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Beeman W. O. 1986. Language, Status, and Power in Iran. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
Bhargava B. S. 1949. The Criminal Tribes: A Socio-Economic Study of the Principal Criminal Tribes and Castes in Northern India. Lucknow: Universal Publishers.
Bhāsa. 1970. Avimāraka, Love's Enchanted World. Masson J. L. and Kosambi D. D., eds. and trans. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidas.
Bhāsa. 1930–1931. Thirteen Trivandrum Plays by Bhāsa. 2 vols. Woolner S. C. and Sarup L., eds. and trans. London: Oxford University Press.
Bhattacharya C. A. 1990. The Concept of Theft in Classical Hindu Law: An Analysis and the Idea of Punishment. Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal.
Bloomfield M. 1913. The Character and Adventures of Muladeva. Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 25, 212: 616–50.
Bloomfield M. 1923a. The Art of Stealing in Hindu Fiction. American Journal of Philology 44, 2: 97133.
Bloomfield M. 1923b. The Art of Stealing in Hindu Fiction, Part II. American Journal of Philology 44, 3: 193229.
Bloomfield M. 1926. On Organized Brigandage in Hindu Fiction. American Journal of Philology 47, 3: 205–33.
Broughton T. D. 1892. Letters Written in a Mahratta Camp during the Year 1809. London: Archibald Constable and Co.
Canetti E. 1962. Crowds and Power. Stewart Carol, trans. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
Carstairs G. M. 1957. The Twice-Born. London: The Hogarth Press.
Census of India Report. 2001. Indian Census Commission.
Chatterjee S. 2007. Disruptions Have Become a Disease. Times of India, 10 Sept: 4.
Chatterji B. 1981. The Darogah and the Countryside: The Imposition of Police Control in Bengal and Its Impact (1793–1837). The Indian Economic and Social History Review 18, 1: 1942.
Cohn B. S. 1996. Colonialism and Its Forms of Knowledge: The British in India. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Compendium concerning Kanjar gangs resident in “Gopalpur” District [Jīlā “Gopalpur” Meiñ Rahane Wāle Kanjar Gaing Sambandhī Kampendiyam]. n.d. Record Office of the “Gopalpur” District Superintendent of Police.
Daṇḍin. 1966. Daśakumāracarita of Daṇḍin. Kale M. R., ed. and trans. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidas.
Dresch P. 2000. “Wilderness of Mirrors”: Truth and Vulnerability in Middle Eastern Fieldwork. In Dresch P., James W., and Parkin D., eds., Anthropologists in a Wider World: Essays on Field Research. Oxford: Berghahn Press, 109–27.
D'Souza D. 2001. Branded by Law: Looking at India's Denotified Tribes. New Delhi: Penguin Books.
De Wilde R. 2009. Opium Poppy Husk Traders in Rajasthan: The Lives and Work of Businessmen in the Contemporary Indian Opium Industry. PhD thesis, London School of Economic and Political Science.
Elliott H. M. 1859. Memoirs on the History, Folk-Lore, and Distribution of the Races of the North Western Provinces of India. London: Trübner.
Freed R. S. and Freed S. A.. 1964. Spirit Possession as Illness in a North Indian Village. Ethnology 3, 2: 152–71.
Freitag S. 1998. Sansiahs and the State: The Changing Nature of “Crime” and “Justice” in Nineteenth-Century British India. In Anderson M. and Guha S., eds., Changing Concepts of Rights and Justice in South Asia. Delhi: Oxford University Press, 82113.
Fuller C. J. 1992. The Camphor Flame: Popular Hinduism and Society in India. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Fuller C. J. and Harriss J.. 2001. For an Anthropology of the Modern Indian State. In Fuller C. J. and Bénéï V., eds., The Everyday State and Society in Modern India. London: Hurst, 130.
Gandhi M. 2008. Denotified Tribes: Dimensions of Change. New Delhi: Kanishka Publishers Distributors.
Garg R. P. 1965. Dacoit Problem in Chambal Valley: A Sociological Study. Varanasi: Gandhian Institute of Studies.
Glucklich A. 1994. The Sense of Adharma. New York: Oxford University Press.
Goffman E. 1959. The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. New York: Doubleday.
Gordon S. N. 1969. Scarf and Sword: Thugs, Marauders, and State-Formation in 18th Century Malwa. The Indian Economic and Social History Review 6, 4: 416–29.
Gordon S. N. 1985. Bhils and the Idea of a Criminal Tribe in Nineteenth-Century India. In Young A. A., ed., Crime and Criminality in British India. Tucson, Arizona: University of Arizona Press, 128–39.
Griffiths P. J. 1971. To Guard My People: The History of the Indian Police. London: Benn.
Guha S. 1999. Environment and Ethnicity in India, 1200–1991. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Gupta D. 1997. Rivalry and Brotherhood: Politics in the Life of Farmers in Northern India. Delhi: Oxford University Press.
Hemavijaya. 1920. Katharatnakara. Das Märchenmeer: Eine Sammlung Indischer Erzählungen von Hemavijaya. Hertel J., ed. and trans. München: Georg Müller.
Herzfeld M. 1987. Anthropology through the Looking Glass: Critical Ethnography in the Margins of Europe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Herzfeld M. 2005. Cultural Intimacy: Social Poetics in the Nation-State. New York: Routledge.
Jātaka Stories, or Stories of the Buddha's Former Births. 1895. 6 vols. Cowell E. B., ed. and trans. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Jenkins T. 1999. Religion in English Everyday Life: An Ethnographic Approach. Oxford: Berghahn Books.
Johnson H. M. 1920. Rāuhineya's Adventures, the Rāuhineyacarita. In Studies in Honor of Maurice Bloomfield (edited by his pupils). New Haven: Yale University Press, 159–96.
Johnson P. C. 2002. Secrets, Gossip, and Gods: The Transformation of Brazilian Condomblé. New York: Oxford University Press.
Kasturi M. 2002. Embattled Identities: Rajput Lineages and the Colonial State in Nineteenth-Century North India. Delhi: Oxford University Press.
Kolff D.H.A. 1990. Naukar, Rajput and Sepoy: The Ethnohistory of the Military Labour Market in Hindustan, 1450–1850. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Lakshmipura VCNB. 1973–present. Record office of the “Fararpur” police station.
Major A. J. 1999. State and Criminal Tribes in Colonial Punjab: Surveillance, Control and Reclamation of the “Dangerous Classes.” Modern Asian Studies 33, 3: 657–88.
Mandelbaum D. G. 1970. Society in India. 2 vols. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Manu. 1886. The Laws of Manu: Translated, with Extracts from Seven Commentaries. Bühler G., trans. and ed. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Mayaram S. 1991. Criminality or Community? Alternative Constructions of the Mev Narrative of Darya Khan. Contributions to Indian Sociology (n.s.) 25, 1: 5784.
Mayaram S. 2003. Against History, Against State: Counterperspectives from the Margins. New York: Columbia University Press.
Mehrotra R. R. 1977. Sociology of Secret Languages. Simla: Indian Institute of Advanced Study.
Mitchell T. 1991. The Limits of the State: Beyond Statist Approaches and Their Critics. American Political Science Review 85, 1: 7796.
Nigam S. 1990a. Disciplining and Policing the “Criminals by Birth,” Part 1: The Making of a Colonial Stereotype—The Criminal Tribes and Castes of North India. The Indian Economic and Social History Review 27, 2: 131–64.
Nigam S. 1990b. Disciplining and Policing the “Criminals by Birth,” Part 2: The Development of a Disciplinary System, 1871–1900. The Indian Economic and Social History Review 27, 3: 257–87.
O'Malley L.S.S. 1925. History of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa under British Rule. Calcutta: Bengal Secretariat Book Depot.
Osella C. and Osella F.. 1998. Friendship and Flirting: Micro-Politics in Kerala, South India. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute (n.s.) 4, 2: 189206.
The Pariśiṣtas of the Atharvaveda. 1909. Bolling G. M. and von Negelein J., eds. and trans. Leipzig: Otto Harrassowitz.
Parker H. 1910–1914. Village Folk-Tales of Ceylon. 3 vols. Dehiwala: Tisara Prakasayako.
Passi A. 2001. Dharmacauryarasāyana (L'elisir del Furton Secondo il Dharma). Milano: Edizioni Ariele.
Passi A. 2005. Perverted Dharma? Ethics of Thievery in the Dharmacauryarasāyana. Journal of Indian Philosophy 33, 4: 513–28.
Piliavsky A. n.d. Borders without Borderlands: On the Social Reproduction of State Demarcation in Western India. In D. Gellner, ed., Borderlands in Northern South Asia (forthcoming from Duke University Press).
Pinhey Samuel G. 1925. Letter (No. 35), 28 May. West Bengal State Archives. Foreign (Internal-A), May 1925, proceedings 118–22.
Platts J. T. 1884. A Dictionary of Urdu, Classical Hindi, and English. London: W. H. Allen and Co.
Pocock D. F. 1957. “Difference” in East Africa: A Study of Caste and Religion in Modern Indian Society. Southwestern Journal of Anthropology 13, 4: 289300.
Radhakrishna M. 1992. Surveillance and Settlement under the Criminal Tribes Act in Madras. The Indian Economic and Social History Review 29, 2:171–98.
Radhakrishna M. 2001. Dishonoured by History: “Criminal Tribes” and British Colonial Policy. Hyderabad: Orient Longman.
The Rajasthan Police Act 2007. 2008. Jodhpur: Kanoon Prakashak Agency.
Rubinoff A. G. 1998. The Decline of India's Parliament. Journal of Legislative Studies 4, 4: 1333.
Ṣaṇmukhakalpa: Ein Lehrbuch der Zauberei und Diebeskunst aus dem Indischen Mittelalter. 1991. G. Dieter, ed. Berlin: Dietrich Reimer.
Schiefner A. Von and Ralston W. S., eds. and trans. 1906. Tibetan Tales, Derived from Indian Sources. London: K. Paul, Trench, Trübner.
Shah A. M. and Shroff R. G.. 1958. The Vahīvancā Bāroṭs of Gujarat: A Caste of Genealogists and Mythographers. Journal of American Folklore 71, 281: 246–74.
Shah P. G. 1967. Vimuktu Jatis: Denotified Communities in Western India. Bombay: Gujarat Research Society.
Shāh V. 1966 [1766]. The Adventures of Hir and Ranjha. Hasan M., ed., and Usborne C. F., trans. Karachi: Lion Art Press.
Shryock A. 2004. Other Conscious/Self Aware: First Thoughts on Cultural Intimacy and Mass Mediation. In Shryock A., ed., Off Stage/On Display: Intimacy and Ethnography in the Age of Public Culture. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 328.
Simmel G. 1906. The Sociology of Secrecy and of Secret Societies. The American Journal of Sociology 11, 4: 441–98.
Singha R. 1993. “Providential Circumstances”: The Thuggee Campaign of the 1830s and Legal Innovation. Modern Asian Studies 27, 1: 83146.
Singha R. 1998. A Despotism of Law: Crime and Justice in Early Colonial India. Delhi: Oxford University Press.
Skaria A. 1998. Being Jangli: The Politics of Wilderness. Studies in History (n.s.) 14, 2: 193215.
Skaria A. 1999. Hybrid Histories: Forests, Frontiers and Wildness in Western India. Delhi: Oxford University Press.
Sleeman W. H. 1836. Ramaseeana, or a Vocabulary of the Particular Language Used by the Thugs. Calcutta: G. H. Gutman, Military Orphan Press.
Sleeman W. H. 1839. History of the Thugs or Phansigars of India. Philadelphia: Carey and Hart.
Sleeman W. H. 1844. Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official. 2 vols. London: J. Hatchard and Son.
Sleeman W. H. 1849. Report on Budhuk Alias Bagree Decoits. Calcutta: J. C. Sherriff, Bengal Military Orphan Press.
Smith J. D. 1975. An Introduction to the Language of the Historical Documents from Rājasthān. Modern Asian Studies 9, 4: 433–64.
Somadeva. 1923. The Ocean of Story: Being C. H. Tawney's Translation of Somadeva's Kathāsaritsāgara (Or, Ocean of Streams of Story). Tawney C. H., trans. and ed. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidas.
Spary C. 2010. Disrupting Rituals of Debate in the Indian Parliament. Journal of Legislative Studies 16, 3: 338–51.
Srivastava Piyush. 2005. Forget Tigers, Peacocks Are Going Extinct Too. Indian Express (Lucknow), 17 Aug: n.p.
Śūdraka. 1905. The Little Clay Cart (Mṛcchakaṭika). A Hindu Drama Attributed to King Shūdraka. Lanman C. R., ed., and Ryder A. W., trans. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Sunday Telegraph. 1977. A Secret in the Oxford Sense. 30 Jan.: n.p.
Taussig M. 1999. Defacement: Public Secrecy and the Labor of the Negative. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
The Telegraph (Calcutta). 1998. Gang of Pardhis Busted. 31 July: n.p.
Tod J. 1920 [1829–1832]. Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan of the Central and Western Rajput States. 2 vols. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Tolen R. J. 1991. Colonizing and Transforming the Criminal Tribesman: The Salvation Army in British India. American Ethnologist 18, 1: 106–25.
Vidal D. 1997. Violence and Truth: A Rajasthani Kingdom Confronts Colonial Authority. Delhi: Oxford University Press.
Wagner K. A. 2007. Thuggee: Banditry and the British in Early Nineteenth-Century India. Basingstoke: Pallgrave Macmillan.
Wagner K. A. 2010. Confessions of a Skull: Phrenology and Colonial Knowledge in Early Nineteenth-Century India. History Workshop Journal 69: 2751.
Washbrook D. 1991. “To Each a Language of His Own”: Language, Culture, and Society in Colonial India. In Corfield P. J., ed., Language, History and Class. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 179203.
Ziegler N. P. 1976. Marvari Historical Chronicles: Sources for the Social and Cultural History of Rajasthan. The Indian Economic and Social History Review 13: 219–50.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Comparative Studies in Society and History
  • ISSN: 0010-4175
  • EISSN: 1475-2999
  • URL: /core/journals/comparative-studies-in-society-and-history
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 5
Total number of PDF views: 32 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 178 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 21st January 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.