Social Scientist. v 6, no. 72 (July 1978) p. 44.

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Notes on the Colonial State with Reference to Malabar in the i8th and igth Centuries

THERE HAS been much controversy over the nature of the colonial tate as well as its utility. For many imperial historians the usefulness of the colonial state to the ^natives" appeared so obvious that there was little need to justify its existence. The colonial state, it is said, imposed a pax hitherto unknown to the natives. In this regard then, says Hanna, the partition of Africa ^was not the tearing apart of a previously united continent, for with the exception of a few native states like Buganda and Barotseland^ effectively controlled by a powerful monarch, there was only a medley of little tribes, themselves lacking in effective organization." The lines of the partition could have been unfortunate, he argues, but the event introduced ^the work of consolidation and unification" which was inherited by the colonized after independence.1

The pax that such unification introduced, it is said, was almost unique, and benefited even the poorest under such colonial peace. Indeed historians have discovered documents in India, Kenya and Nigeria (and perhaps also in other places where colonial order reigned) which bear words of old men and women praising the colonial pax for the tranqui-lity that ensued in the aftermath of colonial conquest.


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