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From Peasant Soldiering to Peasant Activism: Reflections on the Transition of a Martial Tradition in the Flaming Fields of Bihar

Title:From Peasant Soldiering to Peasant Activism: Reflections on the Transition of a Martial Tradition in the Flaming Fields of Bihar
Author:Walter Hauser
Publication:Journal of The Economic And Social History of The Orient / Brill Academic Publishers
Enumeration:Vol. 47, No. 3, pp. 401 - 434
Abstract:In his ethnohistory of the military labour market in eastern Hindustan, 1450-1850, Dirk Kolff is concerned as much with the qualities of the supply side of the market, that is the villages of the rural countryside, as by the demand side of what the state might need or when it might need it. He describes the towns and villages of the region as an armed society in the Mughal and early modern centuries, and implies that this martial ethos extends into the late nineteenth and the twentieth centuries. My suggestion is that the social, cultural, and political history of the twentieth century affirms this to be the case, generally in Gangetic north India, and speci fically so in Bhojpur and Bihar, the heart of Kolff's Hindustan.

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