The second half of the century witnessed two distinct identities of India : The British India and the Princely States of Native India. Two apparently contradictory impulses guided the imperial mind during this period. On the one hand, the old policy of annexation was replaced by a policy of co-operation and Princes were assured of their dynastic and other privileges; on the other hand, in a bid to integrate the two Indias into a single politico-economic unit, it resorted to some sort of indirect rule over the Princely States. And the men chosen for this task of ‘indirect rule’ were the Political Agents. The period between 1871 and 1890 was this phase of ‘indirect rule’ in Tripura. In 1871, for the first time ever, a Political Agency was set up in the State, while in 1890, the Agency was withdrawn. The entire period, however, turned to be a period of conflict of two opposing forces : the forces of change, represented by the Political Agents, and the forces of tradition, represented by the Tripura Raj, under Birchandra Manikya. Though reforms, cast on British mode, were introduced as a conciliatory gesture, the conflict all the time loomed large in the background, taking ultimately a concrete shape over the control of finance and threatening, at one time, the very existence of the Raj. Out of this process of conflict and conciliation, at any rate, began the process of modernization of Tripura. The present work is an analysis of this process in the history of Tripura, in particular, in the socio-economic sphere.
Dipak Kumar Chaudhuri (b. 1994) was graduated from Presidency College, Calcutta, with History Honours, obtained his M.A. from Calcutta University, and Ph.D. from Rabindra Bharati University, Calcutta. Apart from a number of research papers, published in different national and international journals, he has edited, and published, in two volumes, the Administration Report of the Political Agency, Hill Tipperah (1872-1890). Dr. Chaudhuri was a Reader in the Department of History, Tripura University. Now he is the Registrar of the same University and member of a number of Advisory Committees in Tripura and outside.
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