This is a pioneering work in ethnohistory. It uses a variety of inter-disciplinary means to reconstruct the socio-cultural history of a small warrior polity in south India. This polity, which eventually became the colonial princely State of Pudukottai (today a district in Tamil Nadu), was ruled by the Kalan King from the seventeenth century to independence. Although the focus is on Pudukottai, the theme of the book is the nature of the relationship between the Indian staff and Indian society. It also examines the manner in which this relationship was transformed under colonial rule. Central to this theme is the belief that comparative sociology has ignored the importance of the political base of Indian society by emphasising the religious nature of caste.