Sexual Violence in History: A Bibliography

compiled by Stefan Blaschke


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First published: March 1, 2024 - Last updated: March 1, 2024


Speaker: Niyati Shenoy

Title: The Rajah, the Rapist, and the Resident

Subtitle: Border-Wars in 19th-Century Bharatpur

Conference: Annual Conference of the Association for Asian Studies (March 1: Virtual, March 14-17, 2024: In-Person) - Online Program

Session: A043: The Politized Princely States of South Asia (Chair: Rama Mantena)

Place: Seattle, Washington, United States

Date: March 14, 2024

Language: English

Keywords: Modern History: 19th Century | Asian History: Indian History | Types: Rape / Child Sexual Abuse; Victims: Age and Gender / Female Children


Link: -



Abstract: »In 1823, the East India Company’s British agent in Delhi, Sir David Ochterlony, wrote a series of dispatches to Calcutta documenting a year-long military affray between two neighboring Company-allied princely states, Bharatpur and Firozepur. This minor war occasioned hundreds of casualties on both sides, and reignited rivalry between a prince and a nawab who had poached each other’s territories for the past decade. It arose from a feud between two border communities over a cowherd’s sexual assault of an eleven-year-old Meo Rapjut girl. Upon being prevented from killing the rapist to avenge their loss of caste status, her kin assembled in thousands and rampaged through the countryside in rebellion, burning dozens of villages and laying land to waste. The matter remained unresolved despite Ochterlony’s intervention and confounded his attempts to claim jurisdiction for Company Regulations, implement ‘rule of law’—and even ultimately to argue for the further conquest of Bharatpur.
Written exchanges between the princes, the resident, and their agents—which touch on topics such as the care of subjects, political obligation, corruption, and the expenditure of ‘moral advantage’ by the raped girl’s kin—represent a mine of information about the relation between moral ecology, diplomacy, and violence, and between state, sovereign, village, and zamindar. Through this material, I investigate complex interactions between caste identity and a colonial sociological understanding of honour in caste-stratified societies, which distorts the specific forms of politics enacted by Firozepur's Meo subjects.« (Source: Online Program)

Wikipedia: History of Asia: History of India / Bharatpur State | Sex and the law: Rape | Sex and the law: Child sexual abuse