A History of Wealth and Poverty: Why a Few Nations are Rich and Many Poor, by John P. Powelson.

Appendixes for Chapter 10

Appendix 10.1: Historical References to Endemic Low-Level Violence in India

  1. The so-called imperial Pallavas, who were believed to have dominated peninsular India by 600 CE, were, in fact, little more than plunderers, using their urban fortresses to store wealth they looted from most of Tamilnad. Their Chola rivals were equally adept at plunder, and thanks to their seafaring capability, they expanded the horizons of their predatory raids to Southeast Asia as well. [188]
  2. "In southern India [in the twelfth century] the final destruction of the Chola realm by feudalized Pandya and Hosala warriors [was] a triumph of militarized, feudalized society over more peaceful elements which had characterized the preceding century . . . a divided southern India composed of a number of warring states." [189]
  3. The Delhi Sultanate was probably the most powerful Indian regime to date. In 1246, Balban, one of the forty counselors of the preceding sultan, took power. "Employing assassins to poison all of his former comrades among the Forty, Balban ended his reign with no friends to remind him of his former status. . . . In his constant dependence on spies and his enhancement of the espionage arm of the sultanate, Balban was employing traditional Indian techniques, reaching back to the Arthashastra for prescriptions of how to retain power." [190]
  4. "Two centuries of rampant military competition after 1330 increased the regional power of specialized military men" in southern India. [191]
  5. Tales of the Maravas of southern India in the fourteenth century "all revolve around military competition, battles with Muslims, Kallars, and Kurumbars (hunters); and all cite authoritative grants of territory from obscure later Pandyan kings." [192]
  6. "Between the fall of the Madurai Pandyas to Malik Kafur in the early 1300s and the rise of Madurai Nayaka kings in the later 1500s, rampant military competition produced political chaos in Tirunelveli." [193]
  7. "Needless to say, everyone accepted violence as a legitimate means to establish authority in poligar territory, and struggles by those below to resist demands from above were constant features of order itself." [194] (Poligars were lesser royal authorities under the Nayaka dynasty in southern India, about 1600.)
  8. Toward the end of the Mughal Empire (1707-64), succession struggles among the sons of each emperor led to almost continuous warfare. [195]
  9. Particularly in Western Malwa and Khandesh [about 1750], it seems to have been customary for dissatisfied nobility to burn and loot their own villages to deny revenue to government, until their demands were met. Equally often, these local nobility took the field against the villages of a rival branch of the family. [196]
  10. In Khandesh and Malwa during Mughal and Maratha times, tribes occupying the hills repeatedly raided agricultural settlements. "The country is often disturbed by Bheels, who sometimes in hundreds come to plunder the village. [T]he simplest village response was fight or flight." [197]
  11. "Again in the eighteenth century, the capital [Madurai] broke open with war, as it had in the tenth, twelfth, fourteenth, and sixteenth centuries. Again armies vied for the throne. When the Nayakas disappeared as the pinnacle of authority in the regional system of tributary payments, competition ensued that altered the rules of political negotiations throughout the countryside." [198]


Copyright © 1994 by the University of Michigan. First published in the USA by the University of Michigan Press, 1994.

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