John A. Rorabacher, BS 1967; MA, The University of Texas at Austin (1970); and PhD, The University of Minnesota-Minneapolis (1978)
The last three years have been spent researching and writing. Recently, the first of two books that emerged from that three-year exercise was accepted for publication by Manohar Publishers, a largely academic books publisher in India. I choose to publish in India since that is where my interests lie and where better to get one’s message about India out? The current volume is tentatively titled: Property, Land, Revenue, and Policy: The East India Company, circa 1757-1825. It deals with the social, political, and economic consequences of the British imposition of European ideas regarding property and ownership on a society where rights to land were based more on custom and multiple rights of use, than on ownership; and the role of British colonialism and the rule of law. The interplay of philosophies, goals, trade, jurisprudence, prejudices, and personalities served to drive the British, in the form of the East India Company, inexorably, toward empire and conquest. A second volume, Mithila: The Historical Roots of Backwardness, is a follow-on work that examines our current concepts of what constitutes ‘development’ and why the largest concentration of “backward” districts in India exist in the State of Bihar and specifically in the northern half of that state, north of the Ganga River, in a cultural area commonly referred to as Mithila. The real causes of this area’s ‘backwardness’ is seldom addressed by mainstream economic developmentalists nor domestic or international development agencies.