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Once there, Mehdi began a meteoric rise. Among his posts, he served as a judge in a local small-claims court; a taluqdar ; and puisne judge of the Hyderabad High Court. In he received the title Fateh Nawaz Jung. His rise continued when he became Mir-i Majlis-i Adalat al-Aliya, or chief justice of the High Court, and soon after, home secretary—all with the blessing of the prime minister and the ruler of Hyderabad State, the Nizam, Mahbub Ali Khan.

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Ellen was born a Christian but converted to Islam just before she married Mehdi. Following a common practice, she maintained purdah after her marriage. Both Muslim and Hindu women practiced different degrees of purdah—from extreme social segregation to simply wearing a veil and modest attire. Ellen too observed a form of purdah in her early years of marriage, only to abandon the practice after being in Hyderabad for some time. She certainly socialized with other European women living in the city, but her marriage to Mehdi—at a time when relations between Indians and Britons were sometimes tense—must have made reactions to her strained.

Mehdi was called to the bar in London, so the couple traveled to Britain and France in In this position, Mehdi ranked just below the prime minister, himself just beneath the Nizam.

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Three years passed as Mehdi and Ellen moved in ever-higher circles of Hyderabad society. Mehdi was included in social events held by the Nizam and other Indian officials because of his position. Nothing, it seemed, could damage this glamorous interracial duo.

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M aps of India from the late nineteenth century often have two colors, yellow and pink. Pink India was British, composed of three large administrative units known as presidencies—Madras, Bombay, and Bengal—as well as the provinces and territories that fell under the direct control of the Government of India.

Mehdi and Ellen traveled between the two colors, and in some ways, that was the beginning of their problems. The Indian subcontinent has always been a conglomeration of regions, some clearly defined by geographic features, others defined by faith, language, or dialect.

History of Indian Administration

Regions were cobbled together through war and conquest and took on their semi-fixed shapes over long periods of time. Hyderabad State is a good example. About the same size as France, Hyderabad State, located in the heart of the south-central Deccan Plateau, was the amalgamation of earlier Deccan rulers as well as interventions from north India, including that of the Mughals.

As in many other parts of the subcontinent, Hyderabad was home to several different languages and dialects.

Indian Affairs and the Administrative State in the Nineteenth Century

Mehdi spoke Urdu, the local language in Lucknow, which, by the late nineteenth century, was also the language of government in Hyderabad. Besides using Urdu, some educated men knew and spoke Persian, while in the countryside one could hear Telugu, Kannada, and Marathi, as well as Dakhni and other languages. The poor often remained within their natal region. Over time, a deep sense of being of the soil—a mulki , or local—developed.

Many citizens of Hyderabad city and Hyderabad State shared a feeling of localism: you were either one of us, a mulki , or you were not, a non- mulki. At the same time, opportunities arose in the nineteenth century for members of the middle and upper classes to move across the subcontinent as well as to Europe and beyond. Greater mobility was available to those Indians armed with some education in English and increasing familiarity with British norms, particularly educated Indian Muslims whose knowledge of Urdu and Persian, combined with fewer cultural restrictions on travel, made them able to operate successfully in a wide cosmopolitan network within and without India.

The event, known as the Mutiny, the Uprising, or the First War of Independence, ended by when company forces prevailed and reestablished control. The consolidation of British power across the subcontinent after the events of , and the coming of the railroad in the decades that followed, offered new possibilities. Now, inhabitants of north India like Mehdi were not just men or women of Lucknow or Delhi, of Agra or Kanpur, but also subjects of a British Empire with rights granted to them—at least in theory—by Queen Victoria herself. As subjects of the empire, and sometimes employees of the British colonial administration, they became part of a system with roots established by the Mughal Empire before them in which education and a shared vocabulary gave them more freedom of movement within the administrative system, and thus they were more likely to move around within the empire.

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Mehdi had studied in north India under British schoolmasters and worked for some years in land administration. This entrenched regionalism worked against him. Thus, the story of Mehdi and Ellen is, in part, one of insiders and outsiders. The latter never have an easy time of it. Hyderabad was full of potential but foreign territory. The dialect of Urdu spoken there was different from that of Lucknow, and Mehdi and Ellen knew almost no one in the city.

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Yet Hyderabad officials and Salar Jung in particular sought out men like Mehdi to bring their experience to Hyderabad. For someone who worked hard and had the essential social graces—aided by a wife of European descent—opportunities were plentiful. Stephen J.

The framers of the Constitution and the generations that followed built a powerful and intrusive national administrative state in the late-eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The romantic myth of an individualized, pioneering expansion across an open West obscures nationally coordinated administrative and regulatory activity in Indian affairs, land policy, trade policy, infrastructure development, and a host of other issue areas related to expansion.

Rockwell offers a careful look at the administration of Indian affairs and its relation to other national policies managing and shaping national expansion westward. Throughout the nineteenth century, Indian affairs were at the center of concerns about national politics, the national economy, and national social issues. Rockwell describes how a vibrant and complicated national administrative state operated from the earliest days of the republic, long before the Progressive era and the New Deal.