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Monday 29 March (2pm)
Colonial rule: Aspects of the British impact on Indian rural society
Dr Bina Sengar (Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University, Aurangabad, Maharashtra, India), ‘Land and proprietary rights, alienation of traditional systems: British occupancy in Khandesh, c. 1820-1858 A.D’.
In this presentation, an attempt is made to understand the indigeneity and communal identities of the highlands of Khandesh.  This district was the subject a struggle for control in the colonial era. The region of Khandesh connected the coastal, highland and Deccan plateau cultures in the pre-colonial cultures. Simultaneously, Khandesh as a region maintained its indigenous traits while being integral part of the West Indian Oceanic trade. Once colonial control had been established over the Bombay Presidency, with which Khandesh shared a border, it became essential for the British empire to control its trade and economic networks. As a result, military and administrative manoeuvers began to exercise control over the  region and people of Khandesh. With the coming of the colonial regime, the territorial-cultural sovereignty of Khandesh was rigidly redefined through its borders and land rights. To further accentuate the political administrative control over the land and its culture, a special military corps was established by recruiting indigenous populations which came to known as ‘Khandesh Bhil Corps’. These various methods of tying a community under a network of political regime created new systems of land and agriculture in Khandesh.
Bina Sengar is assistant professor in the Department of History and Ancient Indian Culture, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University, Aurangabad, Maharashtra, India
Preeti (University of Sussex), ‘The rule of the British “Experts”; negotiating the import of western science and technology in agrarian Bihar, 1880-1930’
Bihar, an agrarian state in eastern India, always generated its maximum revenue from agriculture. Before the advent of western science and technology in the late 19th and early 20th century, agriculture was practiced through ‘informal pedagogy’, i.e., what was practiced from generations with minor changes, of course. In the period concerned, western technology made inroads through sugarcane mills, iron ploughs, tractors, etc., and also through hybrid seeds, chemical fertilisers, pesticides and insecticides to be primarily used on cash crops. These interventions reached Bihari soil, but they were still in a nascent stage. Endorsing the application of lab-based techniques by the British rule would be used as a lens to analyse the everyday negotiations. This paper will bring to fore that ‘modern’ science and technology did not find an easy passage among the peasants of Bihar. The Bihari peasants negotiated on buying the imported ideas or imported products endorsed by the British masters depending on utility, purchasing power and adaptability to the given environment. What appeared modern to the English experts was in many cases not suitable to agriculture in Bihar. This paper will further contest the idea of modernity, manifested through western science and technology, transcending east-west divide.
Preeti completed her BA (2012) and MA (2014) in History from Kirori Mal College, University of Delhi. She completed her M.Phil at the Zakir Husain Centre for Educational Studies (ZHCES), Jawaharial Nehri University, New Delhi in 2016. Presently she is a doctoral candidate in the Department of History, University of Sussex and has been awarded the Chancellor’s International Research Studentship. Her research interests are in the history of Education in south Asia, Agrarian History, the history of Science and Modernity and History of Migration.

Preeti’s presentation will not be made available on YouTube.

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