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The Company Army and Rural Society: The Invalid Thanah 1780–1830

  • Seema Alavi (a1)

Historians have generally explained the consolidation of Company power in terms of the superior fiscal base which it came to acquire in north India. Bayly argues that in the eighteenth century the ‘commercialisation of royal power’, begun under the Mughals, extended to meet the needs of military organization and growing bureaucratizationof the numerous small polities that succeeded the Mughals. He argues that in this perio Indian merchant capital was redeployed in the search for greater control over labour productivity through control over revenue collections of all sorts; and the unified merchant class met in the new qasbahs and the small permanent markets (ganjs) attached to them. It was here that theinfrastructure for Europea trade in, and ultimate dominion over, India was constructed.1 The efficiency and wide scale on which the Company could exercise and extend the pre-colonial practice of military fiscalism2 has provided another explanation for the dominant position it came to occupy more specifically, in south India.3 Yang highlights the role ofthe Indian elite in facilitating the Company's revenue collection and thereby contributin to its political dominance and stability in the Saran district of Bihar. He constructs a model of'limited Raj', to explain the a free flow of revenue. He analyses the dynamics ofthis 'limited Raj' by explaining its functioning at the lowest level where the power of the colonial state tapered off and the landholders' system of control took over. Yang argues that these two control systems collectively sustained British rule in the region.4 More recently the Company's superior power in north Indian politics has been explained in terms of its exclusive right to violence. R. Mukherjee, analysing the 1857 mutiny, arguesthat 'British rule in India, as an autocracy, had meti meticulously constructed a monopoly of violence. The revolt of 1857 shatteredthat monopoly by matching an official, alien violence by an indigenous violence of the colonised

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1 Bayly C. A., Rulers, Townsmen and Bazaars: North Indian Society in the Age of British Expansion, 1770–1870 (Cambridge, 1983).

2 The collection of revenue by a centrally controlled body of officials who collect revenue from a broad base of payers for the purpose of maintaining a centrally controlled and hegemonic military system.

3 Stein B., ‘State Formation and Economy Reconsidered’, part I, Modern Asian Studies [henceforth MAS] 19, 3 (07 1985), pp. 387413.

4 Yang Anand A., The Limited Raj: Agrarian Relations in Colonial India, Saran District, 1793–1920 (London, 1989), p. 6.

5 Mukherjee R., ‘“Satan Let Loose upon Earth”, the Kanpur Massacres in India in the Revolt of 1857’, Past and Present 128 (08. 1990), pp. 92117.

6 Marshall P. J., ‘Western Arms in Maritime Asia in the Early Phases of Expansion’, MAS 14, 1 (02. 1980), pp. 1328. He shows that the initiative for introducing new weapons and tactics had usually come from Europe, the professional standards of European soldiers were probably higher than those of their Asian contemporaries and the European states and trading Companies could plan and organize the use of force with a tenacity of purpose rarely matched on the Indian side. But these advantages had been to a large extent nullified by distance. The European challenge had not been on such a scale that Asians could not adapt to or meet it.

7 India Office Library [henceforth lOL], Records Catalogue Bengal I and II. The rich source material held in the archives in India and Britain is just the tip of the iceberg. The Company's military bureaucracy generated detailed regimental records, muster rolls and character rolls of its soldiers. Separate military offices were established, at the district level, to maintain detailed records of the sipahis' families. These records appear to have been destroyed and I have not been able to locate them.

8 In 1779 the Company established permanent recruitment centres in Budgepur, Patna, Buxar in Bihar, and Jaunpur and Ghazipur in Benares. Pratapgarh and Azamgarh in the Rajput zamindaris of eastern Awadh were also developed as important recruiting bases. Drafts of recruits from the zamindaris of Awadh, Benares and Bihar were sent through these centres to Bengal or wherever the need arose. See Brig. Gen. Warren G. to Hastings Warren, 10 Feb 1779, Bengal Military Consultations [henceforth BMC], Consult. 6 03 P/18/47, IOL. In the same year a permanent coordinating centre for men recruited from Bihar—Awadh zamindaris was established at Buxar. See Brig. Gen.Stibbert G., 10 Feb 1779, Military Department Procds 01–June 1779, Consult. 6 March 1779, National Archives of India [henceforth NAI].

9 With the accession of Asaf-ud-daulah and the growing influence of British Residents at the Awadh court the Company obtained an opportunity to intervene more directly both in Awadh and in Benares. Alongside this the Company began to build up an interest in Awadh's military affairs. In 1775, the Nawab agreed to the reduction of Awadh's regiments, the deputation of British officers to his remaining regiments and the stationing of a permanent contingent of Company troops at Faizabad, Lucknow and Chunar which was to be maintained by the revenue of the Nawabi. The treaty of Benares which was signed, in 1775, between Asaf-ud-daulah and the Company increased the subsidy of the Company's brigade in Awadh to Rs 31,20,000 per year. When a substantial portion of Asaf's army was placed under British officers their pay was placed, on the Company's account, at an annual charge that varied between Rs 13,000,000 and Rs 16,87,333. Along with this was the debt of unpaid balance of Rs 41,26,97 1, charged to Asaf, and an army donation of 10 Iakh Rupees. See Barnett R., North India between Empires: Awadh, the Mughals and the British, 1720–1801 (Berkeley, 1980), pp. 144–5.In the same year the grant of the sovereignty of Benares by Asaf-ud-daulah to the Company initiated a similar interference in the affairs of Benares. There was pressure on Cheyt Singh, the Raja of Benares, to make an annual grant of 5 lakh Rupees to the Company. This was to meet the cost of the French wars. The Company also forced him to agree to the financing of two of its regiments. See Hastings Warren, A Narrative of the Insurrection which happened in the Zamindary of Benaris in the Month of August 1781 and of the Transactions of the Governor-General in that District, with an Appendix of Authentic Papers and Affidavits (Calcutta, 1853), p. 10 (henceforth Transactions).

10 From 1764 Shuja began to marginalize the Mughal troopers who had hitherto enjoyed high positions in his army and started recruiting a peasant army. This shift might have been prompted by Robert Clive's recruitment of the famous Lal Paltan in 1757. But the more immediate cause of this shift was the dismal faring of the Awadh cavalry force at the battle of Buxar, in 1764, and Shuja's political problems with the Mughal troopers. See Baksh M., Tarikh-i-Farabaksh, tr. by Hoey W. as Memoirs of Delhi and Faizabad (2 vols, Allahabad, 1889), II, p. 4. See also Smith Richard, Commander-in-Chief, to Henry Verelst , President and Governor Fort William and gentlemen of the Select Committee, 6 Feb 1767, Bengal Secret Consultations [henceforth BSC], Consult. 23 02 1768, P/A/8, IOL. For a similar shift to a peasant army in the Benares zamindari see L No. 111, Graeme Charles Collector of Saran , to Warren Hastings, 19 Aug 1781, Transactions, p. 133; Yang, Limited Raj, p. 68.

11 Hastings and his subordinates began to promote the high caste religious, dietary and travel preferences which reflected the high caste status of the sipahis. In 1779, when men and material from Bengal had to be moved to Bombay to fight the first Maratha war, Hastings decided that the only effective way was to send reinforcements overland. This was because he believed that crossing the sea was considered offensive to the religious feelings of the Bengal sipahis. Cornwallis continued with Hastings' policy and in the 1789 expedition to Fort Marlborough at Bencoolem on the northwest coast of Sumatra, sipahi volunteers of the 1st, 30th and 32nd Sipahi Battalion themselves supervised the filling of their water casks. They were also asked to state every sort of article they wished for their diet during the voyage. The Government provided the food items of their liking for this journey. See Williams J., An Historical Account of the Rise and Progress of the Bengal Infantry from its Formation tn 1757 to 1796 (London, 1817), p. 90. Finally, in this period the sipahis, on their request, were allowed to live in huts rather than in barracks in the manner of the European infantrymen, so making it easier for them to maintain a strict caste practice. See Barat A., The Bengal Native Infantey. Its Organisation and Discipline I796–1852 (Calcutta, 1962), p. 43.

12 See Khan Fakir Khair-ud-din, Tuhfa-i-Taza, tr. Curwen C. F. as Balwantnamah (Allahabad, 1875), p. 10;Sherring M. A., Hindu Tribes and Castes as Represented in Benares (London, 1872), p. 39.

13 For recruitment in the Awadh region see Sleeman W., A Journey through the Kingdom of Awadh in 1849–50 (2 vols, London, 1858), I, p. 170; also see Sleeman W., Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official, ed. by Smith V. (reprint Karachi, 1852), p. 244;Barat, Bengal Infantiy, p. 120. For recruitment in Bihar see Rankine R., Notes on the Medical Topography of the District of Saran (Calcutta, 1839), p. 34. For the army's popularity in the Hajipur region of Bihar see Moorcroft W., Supt Horse Stud, to acting Chief Secy to Govt, 25 04 1815, BSC, Consult. 9 May 1815, P/BEN/ SEC/269, IOL.

14 Banerji Durga Das, Amar jiban katha (Calcutta, 1857), p. 51, 69. Not only was the diet fixed in accordance with the sipahis’ choice but the preparation, etiquette and manner of taking meals was guided by similar considerations.

15 See Butter D., Outlines of the Topography & Statistics of the Southern Districts of Oudh (Calcutta, 1839), ed. by Ahmad S. as Topography and Statistics of Southern Districts of Oudh (repr. Delhi, 1982), p. 70. Sipahis of the Company army, when on furlough, refused to indulge in the cultivation of the potato in their villages since this involved deep ploughing and labour intensive techniques. The eating of potatoes was associated with the lower caste.

16 See GO of and 1 January 1817, Thompson D., Abstract General Orders from 1817–1840 (Delhi, MDCCCXL), p. 18, L/MIL/17/2/435, IOL.

17 Rev. Leupolt C. B., Recollections of an Indian Missionary (London, 1856), p. 78.

18 It appointed a local man of influence, Abdul Rusul Khan, as its military contractor in the region. He supplied the Company with hill recruits and took guarantee of their good conduct. See L No. 26. Petition of Khan Abdul Rusul of Bhagalpur, 14 Dec 1819, Bengal Criminal Judicial-Lower Provinces [henceforth BCJ-LP], Consult. 1 Jan 1819, P/133/53, IOL.

19 See L No. 163, Cleveland A., Collector of Bhagalpur, to BRC, 14 07 1782, Bengal Revenue Consultations [henceforth BRC], Consult. 6 May 1783, P/50/45, IOL. For instance, the sipahis assisted the Company in quelling the disturbances caused by their own clansmen in the hills. In 1783, A. Cleveland, the Collector, dispatched four Companies of the Hill Corps under their commandant, Jaurah, to apprehend hill chiefs dependent on the Sultanabad zamindaris. They had caused ‘disturbances’ in Radshi and plundered some villages in that district. For more such instances see L no. 235, Cockrell C., acting Collector Bhagalpur, to BRC, 31 Jan 1784, BRC, Consult. 20 July 1784, P/50/52, IOL.

20 See Fraser James B., Military Memoirs of Lt. Col. James Skinner (2 vols, London, 1955); see also Photo Eur. 173, James Skinner 1778–1841, IOL.

21 A large number of Rohilla, Afghan and Mewati troopers had been employed in the armies of the Rohilkhand and Farrukhabad states. The political eclipse of these Indian states in the 1780s had left these troopers unemployed. Their employment problems were compounded when the Company politically extinguished Shinde's power in 1802. See Lal Busawan, Memoirs of the Pathan Soldier of Fortune, the Nawab Ameerood-doulah Muhammad Ameer Khan (Calcutta, 1832);Broughton T. D., Letters written in a Maratha Camp during the Year 1809—description of the Costume, Character, Manners, Domestic Habits and Religious Ceremonies of the Marathas (London, 1813), pp. 50–1;Francklin W., Military Memoirs of George Thomas (Calcutta, 1803), p. 219;Compton H., A Particular Account of European Adventurers in Hindustan 1784–1803 (London, 1892), pp. 4763.

22 For a vivid pictoral account see Archer M. and Falk T., India Revealed: The Arts and Adventures of James and William Fraser 1801–35 (London, 1989).

23 See Col. Shakespear L. W., History of the 2nd. King Edward's Own Goorkha Rifles (Aldershot, 1912). This regiment of Company Gurkhas consisted of 1,223 recruits, chiefly Hindus from the Sirmour state which the Gurkhas had conquered in 1815. Initially, the men wore their own mountaineer's dress. However, from 1816 the Company began to arm them with weapons it associated with the Gurkhas — the Brown Bess, a long bayonet, and the traditional khukri which these hill men had not previously used. The Company also introduced a uniform in this corps. This was a mixture of Mughal style angarkha, European boots and garments, and the Sirmouri native head gear.

24 Cohn B. S., ‘Representing Authority in Victorian India’ in Cohn B. S. (ed.), An Anthropologist among the Historians and other Essays (Delhi, 1987), pp. 632–82. I differ here from Cohn who argues that in the first half of the nineteenth century the British, finding it difficult to construct a cultural idiom within which their political authority could be defined, continued to use the Mughal idiom of the Darbar to represent their power and authority to the nobles and the Indian elite. He shows that even though the Mughal ritual was retained, its meaning was changed. In Mughal times the ritual marked the incorporation of the subjects into the Mughal polity. The British converted it into a kind of economic exchange in which the relationship between official and the Indian subject became contractual. British rule continued to base itself on this contractual relationship throughout the nineteenth century.

25 At a Council meeting attended by Warren Hastings, Edward Wheeler and the Commander-in-Chief, Proceedings of the Foreign Department-Secret, henceforth PFD-S, Consult. 16 January 1781, vol. 45, NAI.

26 Hutchinson's Report on the Invalid Thanah of Bhagalpur, 24 May 1792, Bengal Secret Military Consultations, [henceforth BSMC], Consult. 27 January 1792, P/C/15, IOL. Mungulpur had a large invalid settlement of this kind.

27 Wilson H. H., A Glossay of Judicial and Revenue Terms and of Useful Words Occurring in Official Documents Relating to the Administration of the Government of British India (London, 1855), p. 518.

28 Mann Michael, ‘The Corps of Invalids’, Journal for the Study of Army Historical Research LXVI, 265 (Spring 1988), p. 6.

29 Ibid., pp. 6–7, 19. The invalids were kept under the medical care of the Royal Hospital at Chelsea and after being declared fit for garrison duty they were recruited into the Invalid Corps. The hospital administration supervised the Corps and continued to supply new recruits into its ranks. In 1802 the decision was taken to do away with the title ‘invalids’ which had assumed a contemptuous connotation.

30 See IOLR Foster 91, painting note by Allen B., no. 111 in Bayly C. A. (ed.), The Raj, India and the British 1600–1947 (National Portrait Gallery, 1990), p. 101.

31 Alam M., Crisis of Empire in Mughal North India, Awadh and Punjab: 1707–48 (Delhi, 1986), p. 110.

32 Ibid., p. 141.

33 See Captain James Brown, ‘India Tracts’, Asiatic Rssearchss (Calcutta, 1799), pp. 7388.

34 Orders by Smith Colonel Richard, Commander-in-Chief, 17 Sept 1768, BMC Consult. Jan 1778, P/18/45, IOL; For more such instances see Minute of Brigadier-General R. Barker on the subject of reconstructing the sepoy corps, Proceedings of the Foreign Department-Secret Political [henceforth PFD-SP], Consult. 28 Jan 1773, vol. 23, NAI. This document states that in 1773 an entire contingent of native invalid soldiers, which included ten Subahdars, seven Havaldars, nine Naiks and fifty eight sipahis was placed under the town major of Calcutta for the performance of town duties. The Pargana Battalions performing garrison duties in the city were dissolved and the invalid sipahis substituted in their place.

35 Hasan S. Nurul, ‘The Position of the Zamindars in the Mughal Empire’, Indian Economic and Social History Review I, 4 (Delhi, 1964), pp. 107–19. I follow Hasan here in using the term autonomous chieftains to refer to the powerful and often recalcitrant zamindars on the fringes of the Mughal Empire.

36 See Khan A. R., Chieftains in the Mughal Empire during the Reign of Akbar (Simla, 1977).

37 Revenue Consultations, 24 July 1783, Resident's Proceedings Benares October 1788, Procds Benares 15 October 1788, Basta 22, File No. 11, Allahabad Regional Archives [henceforth ARA].

38 Extract from the resolution of the Governor General in Council, 18 Feburay 1789, Letters received from the Collector of Shahabad 1789–1794, vol. 40, Bihar State Archives [henceforth BSA].

39 Ibid.

40 Enclosure Nos 6, 7 and 8 in a letter from Sherburne J., Collector of Bhagalpur, to Board of Rev., 1 Nov 1802, Board of Revenue Invalid Proceedings, henceforth BRIP, Consult. 14 June 1803, vol. 1, West Bengal State Archives [henceforth WBSA].

41 Report of Collector of Bhagalpur to Board of Commissioners Bihar and Benares [henceforth BCBB], undated, BCBB, Consult. 1 March 1817, vol. 9 Uttar Pradesh State Archives [henceforth UPSA].

42 Enclosure No. 5, in letter from Collector of Bhagalpur to BRIP, BRIP, Consult. I4 June 1803, vol. I, WBSA.

43 Collector of Shahabad to Board of Rev., 3 July 1800, BMC, Consult 31 July 1800, P/20/71, IOL.

44 Pierard S., Collector zillah Chittagong, to Board of Revenue, 14 April 1800, BMC, Consult. 29 May 1800, P/20/6, IOL. By 1805 other areas, like 44 Kannies on the banks of the Isamati river, were populated with invalid sipahis. See letter from Collector of Chittagong to BRIP, 22 March 1805, BRIP, Consult. March 1805, vol. 3, WBSA.

45 For instance, the largest colony of invalid soldiers was set up in Kalyanpur close to the powerful Bettiah zamindari in north Champaran. See enclosure no. 12, Captain Spottiswood, Regulating Officer of the Shahabad Thanab, to the Collector of Shahabad, undated, enclosed in L no. 11, Collector of Shahabad to BRIP, 2 November 1802, BRIP, vol. I, WBSA. Once again, in 1786 invalid officers of the Ramgarh and Chittagong regiments were settled on large areas of waste lands in the Darbhanga district. See Apliney B., member Board of Rev., to G. F. Grant, Collector in Tirhut, 18 July 1786, Muzaifarpur Collectorate Records, 1786, vol. 5, BSA.

46 In the 1780s Jonathan Duncan, the British Resident in Benares, began to settle invalid soldiers in the forested areas of the district. See Letter from Duncan J. to Board of Commissioners, 15 October 1788, Resident's Proceedings Benares, Basta no. 22, Record no. 11, Procds Benares 15 October 1788, UPSA; also see Oldham W., Historical and Statistical Memoir of the Ghazipore District (2 vols, Allahabad, 1876).

47 Even though the Company increasingly came to rely on a close relationship with the Bhumihar ruling family it had to deal with groups of Raiput bhaiyachara tenures, scattered in Benares, who resisted the rule of the Raja as well as that of the Company. See Cohn B. S., ‘Structural Change in Indian Rural Society 1596–1885’, in Cohn (ed.), An Anthropologist among the Historians, p. 353.

48 See L no. 21, Collector of Saharanpur to Board of Rev., 6 May 1807, Board of Revenue Fort William [henceforth BRFW], Consult. 24 March 1807, vol. 31, UPSA. Waste lands and forests in the parganas of Hapur, Surrawah and Garh Mukteshwar, being close to the military station of Hapur, were marked out for the settling of invalid soldiers. Here the Company purchased about 13,500 bighas of land at the rate of 8 annas per bigha; L no. 11 Secy to Govt Rev. Dept to Collector in Garh Mukteshwar, 1 September 1807, BRFW, Consult. September (?) 1807, vol. 36, UPSA. At times land was given out to contractors for clearing it before it was settled with the invalids; F. I. Shore to Supt of Police and acting third member Board of Revenue Western Provinces, 8 January 1824, Dehra Dun Pre-mutiny Records, Judicial Letters Issued Feburay 1823–September 1824, vol. 34, Dehra Dun Regional Archives. Many supernumerary soldiers of the Sirmour Battalion were settled in Thanahs in Dehra Dun.

49 Referred to in GOGG 25 November 1825, Thompson, Abstract of General Orders, pp. 38–9. This practice of making payments in cash to invalids increased after 1811 when the Company stopped making fresh land grants in Bihar and Benares as well. Henceforth, those declared invalid by the invaliding committee were granted six months’ invalid pay of their respective ranks and were given permission to retire to any part of the Company’s territory. The invalid's pay was attractive and generally they were paid at the following rates: A Subahdar Rs 25; a Jamadar Rs i a Havaldar Rs 7; a Sepoy Rs 4. An additional allowance was made to those who had lost a limb or become blind or had been badly wounded while on service. This was granted at the following rates: A Subahdar Rs 15; a Jamadar Rs 8; a Havaldar Rs 5; a Sepoy Rs 3 [Data collected from Regulation ii, GOVP, January–30 July 1811, Abstract of General Orders and Regulations, pp. 506–8].

50 The exemption of individuals from the jurisdiction of the sovereign in whose territory they lived.

51 Fisher M. H., A Clash of Cultures: Awadh, the British and the Mughals (New Delhi, 1987), p. 18.

52 See Proceedings of the Foreign Department-Political [henceforth PFD-P], Consult. 19 December 1838, File no. 73, NAI. For instance, the invalids settled in Awadh had the privilege of complaining about their grievances to the Awadh Nawab through British Oflicers. If the Awadh administration delayed expediting the cases of the invalids in solving the village disputes a regulation made it binding for the Awadh Government to intervene directly in resolving these cases. This meant that the King sent a Sazawal (a horseman or camel sawar or chuprasi) along with the invalid soldier to the local administration for speeding up the process of investigation. On many occasions the local administration took wrong decisions, in favour of the invalid, to please the King's agent. See Report of I. D. Shakespeare, Assistant to the Resident in Lucknow, to Lt Col. Low, Resident in Lucknow, (?) December 1838, PFD P, Consult. 19 December 1838, File No. 74, NAI.

53 Enclosure No., Translation of a petition of Hulaus Roy enclosed in letter of Hamilton F., Collector of Bhagalpur, to BRIP, 29 June 1805, BRIP, Consult. 23 Aug 1805, vol. 3, WBSA.

54 Ibid.

55 See Resident's Proceedings Benares, October 1788, Rev. Consult. July 1783, Basta No. 22, Record no. 11, ARA.

56 Rajat and Ratna Ray, ‘Zamindars and Jotedars: A Study of Rural Politics in Bengal’, MAS 9, 1 (02 1975), pp. 81102. Jotedars were a class of men who owned sizeable portions of village lands and cultivated their acres with the help of share croppers, tenants at will and hired labourers.

57 Some of the important officials were as follows: the team of surgeons who medically examined the sipahis and certified them as invalids; the Adjutant General of the invalids who prepared their character rolls and maintained a record of all those diagnosed as invalid. He also arranged for their rehabilitation on land and corresponded with the Collectors of districts, where the invalids were to be settled, to arrange for the allocation ofjagirs to them. The officer in charge of the administration of the Thanah was known as the Regulating Officer. He was the immediate superintendent of the invalid jagir and received orders from the Board of Revenue. Initially, there was one Regulating Officer for superintending the Thanahs of Bhagalpur and Tirhut, and another one for the Thanahs of Bihar district. Whereas the Thanahs of Shahabad, Saran and Chittagong were under the charge of a separate Regulating Officer. Later with the spread of the Thanahs westward more Regulating Officers were appointed for superintending them. No. 4, Draft of a regulation from the Governor General, undated, BRIP 2 November 1802, Consult. 14 June 1803, vol. 1, WBSA; In addition each Invalid Corps had an European Adjutant, with his staff, attached to it. His duty was to maintain an updated general register listing all the invalids. He had a staff allowance of Rs 4 per day and Rs 50 per month for writers and stationery. 9 May 1788, Abstract of General Orders and Regulations in Force in the Honourable East India Company of Bengal (Calcutta, 1812), p. 504, L/MIL/17/2/433, IOL.

58 At a Council meeting attended by Hastings W., Wheeler Edward and Commander-inChief, undated, PFD-S, Consult. 6 Jan 1781, vol. 45, NAI.

59 Ibid.

60 L no. 4, Draft of regulation of 1796, BRIP, Consult. I4 June 1803, vol. I, WBSA.

61 L no. 12, Collector of Bhagalpur to BRIP, 28 April 1804, BRIP, Consult. 8 May 1804, vol. 2, WBSA.

62 Ibid., Bengal 1793 regulation. Re-enacted in 1804. Those invalids who werefound guilty of heinous crimes were sent to the Magistrate to be dealt with as other civilians.

63 Regulations for invalids, 1793, BRIP, Consult. 19 September 1803, vol. 1, WBSA.

64 Ibid.

65 Ibid.

66 Resident at Lucknow to Foreign Department, 17 September 1836, PFD, Consult. 19 December 1838, File no. 73, NAI.

67 L no. 6 D, Cruttender G., assistant to the Regulating Officer in Bihar, to F. Hawkins, Collector of Bihar, 11 12 BMC, Consult. 11 Feb 1799, P/19/52, IOL.

68 The Dyarra land originally assigned to the invalid sipahis of Thanah Burrye belonged to the village of Burrye which was separated by the Ganges from the neighbouring prosperous villages. It had never been the subject of dispute because about 5,600 bighas of it were absolutely impossible to cultivate. But by 1797 the Ganges had changed its course and the Thanah lands now bordered the fertile zamindaris on the banks of the Ganges. The prosperous state of the Thanah lands made them very attractive for these zamindaris and they made attempts to annexe them to their zamindaris. Tufton A., Collector of Shahabad, to W. Cowper, President and member Board of Rev., 8 July 1797, Shahabad District Records, henceforth SDR, 12 May 1797 to 10 Aug 1797, vol. 26, BSA.

69 Ibid.

70 L no. Cavendish R., political assistant on deputation to Bihar, to Earl Cornwallis, 1 Nov 1789, Bhagalpur Revenue Records, 1789, vol. 8, BSA.

71 Hutchinson I., Collector in Bhagalpur, to Charles Swindland, Collector in Tirhut, 1 03 1796, BMC, Consult. 1 March 1796, P/19/14. IOL. He suggested the purchase of disputed land in Purkeak, in the Tirhut district. The Government took serious note of his suggestions, and the land was purchased.

72 For discontent in these Thanahs see Report on the western and northern Thanahs attached to the jagirdars' invalid establishment at Bhagalpur and Tirhut 15 December 1809 by Major Francklin W., Regulating Officer at Thanah Bhagalpur, Tirhut and Purnia, BMC, Consult. 30 01 1810, P/23/39, IOL.

73 Crisp B. and Butter C. to Lt Gen Hewett, Vice President in Council Fort William 13 March 1810, Bengal Rev Bd. of Commissioners, 2–27 April 1810, appendix for April 1810, E vide Consult. 13 April 1810, no. 23, UPSA. He sent petitions of several invalids who wanted to exchange their jagirs for pensions in cash.

74 A survey of the eastern Thanahs from Bhagalpur to Rajmahal to Gaur, Nichintpur and Muldah, in zillah Purnia, from thence to Mungulpur and Bencuttie and return by Aurangabad, Rajmahal to Bhagalpur, by Major Francklin W. 01–Feb 1810, BMC, Consult. 27 March 1810, P/23/44 IOL.

75 Fagan I., Adjutant Native Invalids in Allahabad, to Lt Col. Nicol James, Adjutant General of the army, 2 Feb 1818, Consult. Camp Jullalabad 7 April 1818, Bengal Rev. Board of Commissioners 27 03–21 April 1818, P/93/27, IOL. Fagan had several such incidents to report.

76 See L no. 30, Shakespeare H., Magistrate in Allahabad, to W. Bayley, Secy to Govt, 9 Oct 1817, BCJ LP, Consult. 2 Dec 1817, P/233/18, IOL.

77 Bayly, Rulers, Townsmen and Bazaars, pp. 263–6.

78 The victory in the Gurkha war of 1815 followed by the success of the Pindari campaigns of 1818 relieved the Company of its major political problems.

79 Heber Bishop, Bishop Heber in Northern India. Selections from Heber's Journal, ed. Laird M. A. (London, 1971), p. 98. In the 1820s, when the Company's reformers began levelling the diverse military traditions of the Bengal army, the unsuitability of the Hill Corps to function beyond the Jungle Tarai hastened its eclipse. In 1828 Bentinck reduced the Corps to 700 and mixed the hill sipahis with the sipahis of the peasant army.

80 Former troopers were settled on landholdings and the irregular cavalry force now became little more than a local police force. See Extract Pol. Letter from Bengal, 21 October 1820, Boards Collections, [henceforth BC], File no. 20909, pp. 1–2, F/4/772, IOL; The Company also made attempts to subsume Skinner's military experience within its own peasant army tradition. The officers of the regular peasant regiments trained the irregulars and a considerable systematization took place in their recruitment procedure. After the 1857 mutiny attempts were made to create an impression that Skinner's military tradition was based on the ashraf Muslim class just as the peasant army experiment in the Gangetic plains relied on caste conscious Brahmins. See Julwatoor, Meerut, 13 Jan 1868, Govt Tr. of Selections from the Vernacular Newspapers Upper India 8 Feb 1868 DelhiNWP Vernacular Press 1868, L/R/5/45, IOL.

81 File no. 21, L no. 488, Fagan C., Adjutant General, to Secy to Govt in the Mil. Dept, 17 Jan 1829, BMC, Consult. 23 Feb 1829, P/33/20, IOL. The number of men who deserted from the native infantry in the year 1822 was 687. In 1823 the number of deserters increased to 1,041, and in 1824 the figures soared to 5,593, while in 1825 it hit a high of 8,322.

82 Barat, Bengal Infantry, pp. 212–13.

83 Ibid., p. 204.

84 GOGG in Council March 1825, BMC, Consult. March 1825, P/31/15, IOL.

85 Barat, Bengal Infantry, p. 141.

86 Lumsden I., Resident in Lucknow, to G. H. Barow, Secy to Govt, 22 08 Jan 1797, BMC, Procds, 8 Aug 1797, P/19/34, IOL.

87 See Regulation of 3 March 1790, Grace H. C., Code of Militaiy Standing Regulations of the Bengal Establishment (Calcutta, 1791), p. 339, L/MIL/17/2/438, IOL. The Commanding Officer of the sipahi battalions distributed tickets with the name and the rank of the soldiers along with the amount of money he wished to remit. These tickets were then dispatched by the sipahi to his family. They helped the local Collector to identify the recipient who received the stated sum from his treasury.

88 Ibid. The Adjutant General of the army monitored the passage of mail ensuring its collection from the Collectors and its delivery to the Commanding Officer of the battalion who then distributed it to the sipahis.

89 Reference in GOGG 29 August 1818, Thompson, Abstracts of General Orders, pp. 22–3.

90 L no. 1475, I. Read, Supt Family Money, to Lt Col. Casement C., Secy to Govt Mil. Dept, 25 Sep 1825, BMC, Consult. 9 Dec 1825, P/31/38, IOL.

91 Ibid.

92 Reference in Ward J. S., ‘A regulation for declaring the right of invalids, being Hindus on the jagirdar institution, to adopt heirs to succeed them in the possession of their jagir tenures and for prescribing rules for the observance of this class of people in case of adoptions and for the proper registry of the same, 11 Oct 1828’, Bengal Sadar Board of Revenue, Consult. 13 Feb 1829, P/80/74, IOL (hereafterJ. S. Ward, ‘A regulation…).

93 L no. 8, Collector of Bhagalpur to Board of Rev. Bihar and Benares, 9 Feburay 1822, Bengal Rev. Consult. Customs at Bihar and Benares, Consult. 22 March 1822, P/42/58, IOL.

94 L no. 320, Tilghman R. U., acting Secy to Board, to Collector of Bhagalpur, 15 06 1817, Bengal Board of Commissioners Bihar and Benares, Consult. 10–30 06 1817, P/111/74, IOL.

95 L no. 8, Collector of Bhagalpur to Board of Rev. Bihar and Benares, 9 Feburay 1822, Bengal Rev. Consult. Customs at Bihar and Benares, Consult. 22 March 1822, P/42/58, IOL.

96 L. no. 10, I. Pattle, member Sadar Board of Revenue, to Secy to Govt, 13 March 1829, Bengal Sadar Board of Revenue, Consult. 13 March 1829, P/80/74, IOL.

97 J. W. Ward, ‘A regulation…’

98 Ibid.

99 Yang, Limited Raj, pp. 7089.

100 J. S. Ward, ‘A regulation…‘.

101 L no. 228, Supt, Family Money to Lt Col. Casement C., Secy to Govt Mil. Dept, 16 Aug 1825, BMC, Consult. 9 Dec 1825, P/31/38, IOL.

102 L no. 120, Lt Col. C. Casement to Mil. Auditor General, 9 December 1825, BMC, Consult. 9 December 1825, P/31/38, IOL.

103 GOGG 25 November 1825, Thompson, Abstract of General Orders, 38–9.

104 GO by Gov-Gen. 23 Feburay 1829, BMC, Consult. 23 Feburay 1829, P/33/20, IOL.

105 L no. 57, Minute by Bentinck (?) 1829, BMC, Consult. 23 Feburay 1829, P/33/20, IOL. The total expenditure on the pay for the invalid establishment from 1824–27 was as follows: Invalid pay for 1824 Rs 97,094 for 1825 Rs 108,746; for 1826 RS 53,664.4; for 1827 Rs 1177,792.8—Total for four years Rs 376,298.6. The expense of a pension paymaster was met by the discontinuation of the salary of the Fort Adjutant at Monghyr. He drew a salary of Rs 100 per month for himself and Rs 100 per month per establishment.

106 L no. 137, members of the Clothing Board forwarding copies of the Board’s proceedings touching clothing in wear of pensioners with a view of obtaining publication of GO on that subject, clothing board office, 22 August 1834, to Metcalfe C. T., Vice President in Council, 30 Sep 1834, in circulation, BMC, 30 Oct 1834, P/34/69, IOL.

107 Sleeman, Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official, p. 644.

108 L no. 7, GO Gov. Gen. in Council, 23 Feburay 1829, BMC, Consult. 23 Feburay 1829, P/33/20, IOL.

109 GOGG 12 December 1833, Thompson, Abstract of General Orders, p. 13. The monthly pensions were paid to the heirs at the following rates: A Subahdar Rs 26; a Jamadar Rs 8; a Havaldar Rs 4; a Naik Rs 3; a Drummer Rs 2; a Sepoy Rs 2.

110 Stokes E. T., The English Utilitarians in India (Oxford, 1959).

111 Bayly C. A., ‘the Age of Hiatus: The North Indian Economy and Society 1830–1850’ in Philips C. H. and Wainwright M. D. (eds), Indian Society and the Beginning of Modernisation (SOAS, 1976), pp. 83107.

112 Singha R., ‘A “Despotism of Law”: British Criminal Justice and Public Authority in North India, 1772–1837’ (unpublished Cambridge Ph.D. thesis, 1990), p. 5.

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Modern Asian Studies
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