Social Scientist. v 16, no. 181-82 (June-July 1988) p. 92.

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institution they created, sanctioned their continuance* (p. 3, emphasis added).

Let us recapitulate the basic argument. The Western model of police organization by itself was superior and rational. But it harboured in practice unlicensed petty tyranny, corruption and brutality, because pre-colonial traditions ran strong in it, whose continuance was sanctioned by the British. This argument, we must point out, smacks of the Imperial rulers' perception of pre-colonial Indian society and culture. However radical a historian may sound or proclaim himself to be a partner in the 'collective 'subaltern' odyssey* (p. VIII), he is bound to reproduce and perpetuate the myths and stereotypes developed by the colonial rulers unless he consciously moves away from the racial bias that went into the 'official discourse'.6 To achieve this objectivity, we must, to start with, analyse how colonial control transformed the 'structures of the life-world,'7 i.e., the nature of the snapping off of the links between the traditional systems and the 'life-world.' This process is always mediated by an ideological 'discourse.' Unless one conceptualises the process of the structuring of the subjective perceptions that went into the colonial ruler's theory of the traditional 'life-world', we cannot identify and disassociate ourselves from their particular ideological 'discourse' that was central to the official documents.

Another problem which surfaces, especially in the second chapter, is Arnold's concept of 'subaltern'. The preaching from Ranajit Guha's and Arnold's personal journey in the 'collective "subaltern" odyssey' certainly le^t a mark on this otherwise very valuable work. Because Arnold, in a rather naive way, tries to equate the 'subaltern' constabulary with the 'subaltern' social classes. We shall not go into the theoretical and analytical problems involved in such an enterprise, for we have dealt with it elsewhere.8

In his enthusiasm to draw a picture of a less coercive colonial state, Arnold writes in the end that despite 'the accusing cries of "Police Raj" that issued periodically from its political opponents, India's colonial regime fell short of being a police state in the conventional sense. . .. British rule in India did not rest upon the single point of coercive state power. It was not a police state to be ranked alongside Nazi Germany or Stalin's Russia' (p. 230). One need not comment upon the apparent political and ideological radicalism implicit in the equation of Nazi Germany with Stalin's Russia. It is an age old strategy to invoke the so-called ghosts in far-off lands to circulate the actual monster nearer to us as a liberal human ghost.

Despite all these problems we must welcome Arnold's book as a timely intervention in our dominant traditional historiography. Especially his chapters on 'Policing of Rural Madras', 'Policing the Proletariat,' and 'Police, Public and Politicians' are very well worked out, throwing light on the relationship between the police and oppressed social groups, the police and the Indian propertied classes,

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