The historiography of colonialism in India has, by and large, ignored princely India, which covered two-fifths of the country's territory and a quarter of its population. Instead, the inferences drawn from British India are generally applied to the whole country. Terming this tendency as a "colonial mode of historiography," Hira Singh corrects this imbalance by providing a trend-setting study that explores the distinct socio-economic formations of the princely states during colonial rule.
The central argument of the book is that colonial penetration failed to dissolve the pre-capitalist socio-economic order. Far from being passive objects, the pre-colonial structures and subjects resisted colonial-capitalist penetration and forced its agents to compromise.
About the author
Hira Singh teaches sociology at York University.