Officials of the East India Company and the Raj claimed to represent liberal, humanitarian regimes, yet they continually resorted to violent measures to ensure their rule. This panel considers these contradictions and ways in which British agents who professed to govern India justly reconciled them.
Why, during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, did the East India Company and Great Britain - two self-professed liberal, humanitarian imperial powers - resort violently to suppressing individuals and groups that threatened their dominion? From the torture of individuals, the pacification of purportedly wayward groups and larger-scale military campaigns, the Company and Raj frequently used highly coercive and violent measures in order to ensure their continued stability. This panel investigates ways in which the British attempted to reconcile inherent contradictions between more brutal aspects of their regimes and notions of justice, civil improvement and good government for India that they also claimed to hold dear.