Writing and Scribes in Early Colonial South India
University of Chicago Press 2012
Bhavani Raman‘s new book Document Raj: Writing and Scribes in Early Colonial South India (University of Chicago Press, 2012) explores the world of colonial clerks in the Madras Presidency. Arguing that paper played an important role in colonial rule, Raman analyses cutcherry scribes and the allegations of corruption that surrounded them, accountant-scribes and their amazing memory skills, the changes in the education system wrought by the colonial encounter, issues of forgery and finally the use of petitions that helped form a particular type of colonial subject. The book details this fascinating topic with extreme subtlety and care and pushes the reader to ask many questions about corruption and the importance of paper not only in colonial but also in contemporary India.