chapter  3
31 Pages

Lyautey's Protectorate and Legacy

One of Lyautey's most prominent credentials as a colonialist thinker and administrator was his adherence to the concept of indirect rule, according to which any colonial administration should work with, not against, native socio-political elites and respect pre-colonial customs and traditions. This principle concurred with his aristocratic biases and respect for what he considered to be the 'natural leadership3 of native societies. He felt as comfortable in the presence of the Muslim educated élite of Fez and Salé as he had once felt among the mandarins of Tonkin. He was impressed by the power of the marabouts^ the popular saints whose charismatic authority was derived from the universal belief in a supernatural blessing (haraka) which they could bestow upon their followers.3 According to Daniel Bivet, for Lyautey 'indirect rule [was] a spontaneous translation of his aristocratisme and not only ... a stratagem to govern at a low cost the indigenous mass.54