This book offers diverse and original perspectives on South Asia’s imperial military history. Unlike prevailing studies, the chapters in the volume emphasize both the vital role of culture in framing imperial military practice and the multiple cultural effects of colonial military service and engagements. The volume spans from the early East India Company period through to the Second World War and India’s independence, exploring themes such as the military in the field and at leisure, as well as examining the effects of imperial deployments in South Asia and across the British Empire. Drawing extensively on new archival research, the book integrates previously disparate accounts of imperial military history and raises new questions about culture and operational practice in the colonial Indian Army. This work will be of interest to scholars and researchers of modern South Asian history, war and strategic studies, military history, the British Empire, as well as politics and international relations.
"These innovative essays compel us to reevaluate our understanding of the Cold War as a predominantly political and military event. Their consideration of a broad range of cultural forms---from literature and film to glossy magazines and body-building---reminds us that the Cold War's influence on culture and its producers was as varied and complex as the Southeast Asian countries it touched. Lively and insightful, this rich collection is a valuable contribution to both Cold War studies and the modern histories of Southeast Asia."---Richard A. Ruth, Ph.D., Department of History, U.S. Naval Academy; and author of In Buddha's Company: Thai Soldiers in the Vietnam War Cultures at War examines how the cultures of postcolonial Southeast Asia responded to the Cold War. Based on fieldwork throughout the diverse region, these essays analyze the ways in which art, literature, theater, film, physical fitness programs, and the popular press reflected complex Southeast Asian reactions to the ideological conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union, and, to a degree, China. Determined to remain "nonaligned," artists synthesized traditional and modern, local and international sources to produce a vibrant constellation of work. For each of the national cultures discussed here, any Cold War tendency toward anxiety and conformity was challenged by creative pluralism and individual expression
This book looks at how the fledgling British East India Company state of the 1760s developed into the mature Anglo-Indian empire of the 19th century. It investigates the bureaucratic culture of early Company administrators, primarily at the district level, and the influence of that culture on the nature and scope of colonial government in India. Drawing on a host of archival material and secondary sources, James Lees details the power relationship between local officials and their superiors at Fort William in Calcutta, and examines the wider implications of that relationship for Indian society. The book brings to the fore the manner in which the Company’s roots in India were established despite its limited military resources and lack of governmental experience. It underlines how the early colonial polity was shaped by European administrators’ attitudes towards personal and corporate reputation, financial gain, and military governance. A thoughtful intervention in understanding the impact of the Company’s government on Indian society, this volume will be of interest to researchers working within South Asian studies, British studies, administrative history, military history, and the history of colonialism.
This book explores the lives and social histories of Indians soldiers who fought in the First World War. It focuses on their motivations, experiences, and lives after returning from service in Europe, Mesopotamia, East Africa, and Palestine, to present a more complete picture of Indian participation in the war. The book looks at the Indian support to the war for political concessions from the British government and its repercussions through the perspective of the role played by more than one million Indian soldiers and labourers. It examines the social and cultural aspects of the experience of fighting on foreign soil in a deadly battle and their contributions which remain largely unrecognised. From micro-histories of fighting soldiers, aspects of recruitment and deployment, to macro-histories connecting different aspects of the War, the volume explores a variety of themes including: the material incentives, coercion and training which converted peasants into combatants; encounters of travelling Indian soldiers with other societies; and the contributions of returned soldiers in Indian society. The book will be useful to researchers and students of history, post-colonial studies, sociology, literature, and cultural studies as well as for those interested in military history, World War I, and colonial history.
This book focuses on the relation between technology, warfare and state in South Asia in the eighteenth and the nineteenth centuries. It explores how gunpowder and artillery played a pivotal role in the military ascendancy of the East India Company in India. The monograph argues that the contemporary Indian military landscape was extremely dynamic, with contemporary indigenous polities (Mysore, the Maratha Confederacy and the Khalsa Kingdom) attempting to transform their military systems by modelling their armies on European lines. It shows how the Company established an edge through an efficient bureaucracy and a standardised manufacturing system, while the Indian powers primarily focused on continuous innovation and failed to introduce standardisation of production. Drawing on archival records from India and the UK, this volume makes a significant intervention in our understanding of the rise of the British Empire in South Asia. It will be of great interest to scholars and researchers of history, especially military history, military and strategic studies and South Asian studies.
This book explores the intricate and intimate relationship between military organization, imperial policy, and society in colonial South Asia. The chapters in the volume focus on technology, logistics, and state building. The present volume highlights the salient features of expansion and consolidation of imperial control over the subcontinent, and ultimate demise of the Raj. Further, it turns the spotlight on to subaltern challenges to imperialism as well as the role of non-combatants in warfare. The volume: • Deals with both conventional and guerrilla conflicts and focuses on the frontiers (both North-West and North-East, including Burma); • Looks at the army as an institution rather than present a chronological account of military operations, which highlights the complex and tortuous relationship between combat institution, colonial state, and Indian society; • Integrates top-down approaches in military and strategic studies with the bottom-up perspectives and discusses on how the conduct of war (organisation and technology) is related to the economic, societal, and cultural impact of war. A rich account of the British ‘Army in India’, this book will be essential reading for scholars and researchers of South Asian history, military history, political history, colonialism, and the British Empire.
This book offers a detailed investigation of George S. White’s career in the British Army. It explores late Victorian military conflicts, British power dynamics in Africa and Asia, civil-military relations on the fringes of the empire, and networks of advancement in the army. White served in the Indian Rebellion and, twenty years later, the Second Anglo-Afghan War, where he earned the Victoria Cross. After serving in the Sudan campaign, White returned to India and held commands during the conquest and pacification of Upper Burma and the extension of British control over Balochistan, and, as Commander-in-Chief, sent expeditions to the North-West Frontier and oversaw major military reforms. Just before the start of the South African War, White was given the command of the Natal Field Force. This force was besieged in Ladysmith for 118 days. Relieved in 1900, White was heralded as the “Defender of Ladysmith.” He was made Field-Marshal in 1903.
A powerful reassessment of a seminal moment in the history of India and the British Empire--the Amritsar Massacre--to mark its 100th anniversary The Amritsar Massacre of 1919 was a seminal moment in the history of the British Empire, yet it remains poorly understood. In this dramatic account, Kim A. Wagner details the perspectives of ordinary people and argues that General Dyer's order to open fire at Jallianwalla Bagh was an act of fear. Situating the massacre within the "deep" context of British colonial mentality and the local dynamics of Indian nationalism, Wagner provides a genuinely nuanced approach to the bloody history of the British Empire.
This volume offers a critical re-examination of colonial and anti-colonial resistance imageries and practices in imperial history. It offers a fresh critique of both pejorative and celebratory readings of ‘insurgent peoples’, and it seeks to revitalize the study of ‘resistance’ as an analytical field in the comparative history of Western colonialisms. It explores how to read and (de)code these issues in archival documents – and how to conjugate documental approaches with oral history, indigenous memories, and international histories of empire. The topics explored include runaway slaves and slave rebellions, mutiny and banditry, memories and practices of guerrilla and liberation, diplomatic negotiations and cross-border confrontations, theft, collaboration, and even the subversive effects of nature in colonial projects of labor exploitation.
Fighting Rommel examines how and why some armies innovate under pressure while others do not. Focusing on the learning culture of the British Imperial Forces, it looks at the Allied campaign during the Second World War against the Afrika Korps of Rommel. The volume highlights the hitherto unexplored yet key role of the British Indian Army, the largest volunteer force in the world. It also introduces ‘learning culture’ as a heuristic device. Further, it goes on to analyze military innovation on the battlefield, in victory and defeat. A major intervention in the study of the Second World War, this book will be indispensable to scholars and researchers of military history, especially British and German, battlefield history, and defence and strategic studies.
The story of Isandlwana, the battle that shocked the British empire at its zenith, and Rorke's Drift, which immediately followed it and went some way to restoring wounded British pride: how they were fought, how they have been remembered, and what they mean for us today.