The Feudal Thread in the Indian and Australian Colonial Mode of Production: A Comparitive Approach

Journal of the Oriental Society of Australia (JOSA)
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Journal Article
Journal of the Oriental Society of Australia, 2008, 39-40 (1), pp. 50 - 70
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This article will argue that the old regime is characteristically feudal, and the British sought to impose (or take advantage of) this regime to conquer and exploit land in the colonies of India and Australia. A comparative histOlY of India and Australia will be utilised to demonstrate the colonial endeavours to set up land systems that facilitated British Crown acquisition and deprived Indigenous workers of their land. Marc Bloch attests to the capacity of comparative history to appreciate historical developments in their entirety: Historical research will tolerate no autarchy. Isolated, each will understand only by halves, even within his own field of study; for the only true history, which can advance only through mutual aid, is universal history.) An analysis of Australian and Indian colonisation reveals that the manifestation of feudal traits in colonies was not accidental, but can be traced to the influence of eighteenth-century British thinkers, notably Sir William Jones, who infonned <eighteenth-century British policy in India',4 and Sir William Blackstone, whose legal authority provided legitimacy for Indian and Australian colonisation and specifically for the common law in New South Wales5 William Blackstone's notion of feudal law-based on absolute Crown ownership of property alongside private possession of propertywould underpin Indian and Australian property law for over a century.
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