Empire and Information

Intelligence Gathering and Social Communication in India, 1780–1870


In a penetrating account of the evolution of British intelligence gathering in India, C. A. Bayly shows how networks of Indian spies were recruited by the British to secure military, political and social information about their subjects. He also examines the social and intellectual origins of these 'native informants', and considers how the colonial authorities interpreted and often misinterpreted the information they supplied. It was such misunderstandings which ultimately contributed to the failure of the British to anticipate the rebellions of 1857. The author argues, however, that even before this, complex systems of debate and communication were challenging the political and intellectual dominance of the European rulers.
  • Cambridge University Press; January 1997
  • ISBN 9780511822537
  • Read online, or download in secure PDF format
  • Title: Empire and Information
  • Author: C. A. Bayly
  • Imprint: Cambridge University Press

In The Press

'… a work so rich in historical observation and so full of critical insight deserves to be read and reflected upon well beyond the community of South Asia scholars and imperial historians'. David Arnold, The Times Higher Education Supplement