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'Waste' and the Permanent Settlement in Bengal

Vinay Krishin Gidwani
Economic and Political Weekly
Vol. 27, No. 4 (Jan. 25, 1992), pp. PE39-PE46
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4397526
Page Count: 8
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
'Waste' and the Permanent Settlement in Bengal
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Abstract

An idea acquires political potency when it is displaced from a category to a norm; in other words, when, in addition to describing the object it claims to be designating it also takes on an ascriptive and/or moral quality that then guides conduct. 'Waste' is one such idea with an ascriptive dimension, and is therefore politically powerful. The permanent Settlement in Bengal was deeply concerned with the issue of 'waste'. This essay attempts to understand how the English represented and applied the concept of 'waste' in Bengal and contends that the idea of 'waste' is richer and more politically significant than most histories of the Permanent Settlement have indicated.

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