How did the modern state emerge in the non-European world? What was the relationship between colonialism and modern ideas about time? The Domination of Strangers offers the first account of British rule in India that connects the history of political thought to the anxious, everyday world of colonial governance. It argues that the process of colonial state-building in the province of Bengal occurred in response to uncertainties present within the practical encounter between Britons and Indians. New, characteristically modern forms of law and education emerged in India as the British sought stable forms of meaning in a world they found impossible to understand. The response of Indians to those anxieties played a central role in the formation of contemporary South Asian notions of society, culture and nationhood. Connecting a theoretical perspective on colonial history with an impressive grasp of empirical detail, The Domination of Strangers shows how the colonial encounter generated concepts about the state and civil society with no precedent in Europe or South Asia. The British did not simply import European ideas. Rather, they developed a new approach to government in order to rule people they perceived as strangers. Fundamental to those ideas - and to modern politics throughout the subcontinent since - was a new, restless attitude towards time.