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CBSE - XII Humanities - History - Through the Eyes of Travellers

Pls explain " Berniers account influence western theorists from 18th century ?
Read in notes but still confused 

Asked by Nakul 5th October 2017, 4:58 PM
Answered by Expert


The descriptive account of India given by Bernier influenced the western theorists and people from 18th century onwards. People in western nations formed their opinion about the Indian people, their customs, religious beliefs and the land revenue system based on the accounts provided by Bernier who visited the country in the 17th century.
Bernier wrote that all lands in India belonged to the Mughal rulers and they distributed lands amongst the nobles. As land could not be passed to children, land holders did not make any investments in improving the quality of land which proved disastrous for agricultural production. Oppression of peasantry and decline in the standard of living of people were some other results of the absence of private property. 
It was the above assumption by Bernier which influenced the Western theorists. This idea was used by Montesquieu to develop the idea of  oriental despotism (the idea that in Asian societies, king was all powerfull and the common people were opressed). Marx also used Bernier's writings to point out that whatever surplus was produced in Asian societies was utilised by the kings and nobles while the common people largely remained poor. 
Thus, we can say that Bernier's writings influenced the western theorists who described Asian kings as autocrats and societies as opressed and uncivilised.
Answered by Expert 6th October 2017, 3:40 PM

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