Sovereign Spheres-Princes, Education and Empire in Colonial India

Sovereign Spheres-Princes, Education and Empire in Colonial India

Product ID: 11346

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Author: Manu Bhagavan
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Year: 2003
Language: English
Pages: 219
ISBN/UPC (if available): 0 195663993


This engaging study looks at educational reform in the context of debates on modernity and anti-colonial nationalism in the two leading progressive princely states in twentieth-century India, Baroda and Mysore.

Princely states were semi-autonomous territories that made up roughly 40 per cent of South Asian under British rule. Sovereign Spheres explores the ways in which colonial authority was challenged and negotiated through both direct political action and more subtle, long-term initiatives involving social and cultural reform. In the process, the book furthers our understanding of domination and resistance and forces us to rethink our notions of the heretofore largely ignored princely states.

These regions were central not only to the ideology of empire, but to nationalist visions of postcoloniality as well. In examining the role of princely state universities in the production of modern, governable subjects, the author interrogates the nature of public and private domains in the subcontinent and argues for a fundamental remodeling of colonial India.

Ground-breaking and authoritative, this book will be of importance not just to researchers of South Asian history, but to scholars and students of power dynamics, social reform movements, state formation, and to all those interested in comparative understandings of imperialism, nationalism, and modernity.


Bhagavan breaks new ground in the study of princely India by showing that states such as Baroda and Mysore provided spaces for postcolonial imaginations of the university long before colonial rule was formally ended. Sovereign Spheres is a welcome addition to historians' debates on colonial modernity.

- Dipesh Chakrabarty, Professor of History and South Asian Studies, University of Chicago.

Bhagavan's Sovereign Spheres has greatly enhanced our understanding of the interactions between Indian society on one hand and British colonial ideologies and administrative policies on the other. His thesis is strikingly creative and combines a mastery of current scholarship in the relevant areas of modern South Asian history with well-researched evidence.

- Michael H Fisher, Danforth Professor of History, Oberlin College



List of Abbreviations

List of Maps, Illustrations, and Tables



Generating the Model States

Mimicry, Modernity, and Subversion

The Rebel Academy, Part I

Chapter 4
The Rebel Academy, Part II

Chapter 5
Nations and Nationalisms: Princely States and the Colonial Paradigm