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Law, Disorder and the Colonial State

8 April 2013

Dr Jonathan Saha

Dr Jonathan Saha explores Law, Disorder and the Colonial State  in turn-of-the-twentieth-century Burma. The study focuses on the corruption that was rife in this neglected corner of the British Raj. ‘The state in colonial Burma was not an easy entity to negotiate’ says Dr Saha. ‘Policemen framed innocents for crimes they themselves had committed. Magistrates solicited bribes in exchange for acquittals in court. Forestry officials produced false documents. Clerks embezzled government funds.’  Such were the mundane and everyday acts. in this duplicitous world of corruption and misconduct.

Using previously unexplored archival sources, the daily reality of living under the Raj is reconstructed. Through the fascinating cases of misconduct uncovered in these documents Dr Saha’s book argues that corruption was intrinsic to the making of the colonial legal order. Subordinate officials' daily abuses of power, and British tolerance of these abuses, served to reinforce racial divisions and enact the state as a masculine entity.

The book is published as part of Palgrave Macmillan’s influential Cambridge Imperial and Postcolonial Studies Series.

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