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Slavery, Abolitionism and Empire in India, 1772-1843$
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Andrea Major

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9781846317583

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.5949/UPO9781846317255

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date: 21 November 2017

‘Open and Professed Stealers of Children’: Slave-trafficking and the Boundaries of the Colonial State

‘Open and Professed Stealers of Children’: Slave-trafficking and the Boundaries of the Colonial State

Chapter:
(p.163) 5 ‘Open and Professed Stealers of Children’: Slave-trafficking and the Boundaries of the Colonial State
Source:
Slavery, Abolitionism and Empire in India, 1772-1843
Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.5949/UPO9781846317255.010

According to Indrani Chatterjee, the delegalisation of slavery in colonial India was hindered by arguments over territorial jurisdiction of law as well as ‘customary’ social practices in the conduct of diplomatic relations between the British government of India and the ‘princely states’ of the subcontinent. This chapter examines Chatterjee's arguments with respect to domestic slavery by looking at the debates over slave-trading between the Rajput and Maratha states and British India. It discusses the various political, ideological, and ‘moral’ imperatives that informed British officials' attitudes towards slavery and slave-trafficking in India. In particular, the chapter explores the implications of these debates for the limits of British ‘authority’ by focusing on illegally procured slaves.

Keywords:   Indrani Chatterjee, delegalisation, slavery, India, slave trade, Rajput, Maratha, slaves, slave-trafficking

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