Circumambulations in South Asian History: Essays in Honour by D. H. A. Kolff, Om Prakash

By D. H. A. Kolff, Om Prakash

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Extra info for Circumambulations in South Asian History: Essays in Honour of Dirk H.A. Kolff (Brill's Indological Library, 19)

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S’Jacob deals with the matter in great detail. He first establishes the critical role of Bengal in the overall EuroAsian and intra-Asian trading network of the Company through the seventeenth and the first half of the eighteenth century. The role of Bengal opium as an important generator of revenue both for the Company as well as for its employees is also brought out clearly. While until the 1740s, the employees participated in the opium trade on a clandestine basis, this was done legally following the establishment of the Opium Society in Batavia in 1745.

Not long after, however, the latter was also replaced by his son-in-law Mir Qasim (1760–64). Bhaswati Bhattacharya’s contribution in this volume deals with an Armenian adven-  23 turer Khoja Gregory alias Gurgin Khan who had started his career as a merchant but who eventually ended up as the principal military confidant of Mir Qasim and the commander-in-chief of his army. This man has almost found a place in the folklore of Bengal figuring prominently in one of Bankimchandra Chattopadhyay’s novels Chandrasekhar.

The transitional zones between the well-watered agrarian areas and the arid nomadic spaces form the “inner frontiers” as well as the corridors for trade and traffic, connecting the agrarian core areas with each other and with West and Central Asia. No less important, they run up—like the great navigable rivers such as Ganges and Indus—to that other frontier, the limes-like littoral, finding their continuation beyond it in the sea-lanes. With the maritime frontier the inner frontiers share the features of mobility and openness and by the same taken they also are zones of often violent conflict between expanding agriculture and aggressive nomadism.

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