Peter Robb
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The ordering of rural India
The policing of nineteenth-century Bengal and Bihar
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This chapter aims to define the role of the police in north-eastern India, and thus to account for the pace and manner of its development. In the Lower Provinces of Bengal (most of present-day Bangladesh, West Bengal, Bihar and Orissa) the situation of the police and especially their local agency was somewhat different from that in other parts of India. The part played by civil policing in the British system of control was limited by British ideas about India, by British goals and by the nature of the police. The unravelling of British control from the late nineteenth century undoubtedly depended upon political change, and the politicising of one area after another of government and of life in India. The rate and manner of the professionalising of the British Indian police were therefore very closely related to the exigencies of colonial rule.

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Policing the empire

Government, Authority and Control, 1830–1940


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