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British Military Policy in India, 1900-1945: Colonial Constraints and Declining Power

Anirudh Deshpande (Author)
Synopsis The decline of British imperialism had far reaching colonial and post-colonial consequences. British policy and Indian history, for obvious reasons, unfolded in the foreground of this decline from 1900 onwards. This volume contextualizes crucial aspects of modern India’s military past. It contends that British imperialism, like all empires, declined due to its inherent contradictions. Managing the military affairs of the British Raj comprised a crucial element of these contradictions. While mentioning the challenges posed by India’s military system to British policy this volume highlights the tension between the imperatives of reform and the compulsions of economy and traditions felt both by the British and Indians involved in managing colonial military affairs. Between 1900 and 1939 the colonial Indian war machine could be refurbished only up to a point primarily because of the very system which had produced it. The significance of military reform and decolonization were first underscored by the Great War (1914-18) and subsequently even more by the Second World War (1939-45). This socio-political history of the colonial Indian military organization investigates why reform remained largely theoretical even as the British used Indian resources to defend a weakening empire through two World Wars. Ultimately World War II transformed the Indian armed forces but eventually, as this book asserts, this transformation worked against the British.
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About the author

Anirudh Deshpande

Anirudh Deshpande is a former UGC and ICHR Fellow, and is presently Fellow at the Centre for Contemporary Studies, Nehru Memorial Museum & Library (NMML), researching visual history in modern India. He has co-edited with the late Professor Partha Sarathi Gupta The British Raj and its Indian Armed Forces, 1857-1939 (2002). He has published papers, commentaries, reviews and articles regularly since 1987 in various journals and newspapers. In the year 2000 he wrote a scientific paper on opium production in India and its regulation by the colonial and post-colonial Indian state as a national consultant historian for the United Nations Drug Control Programme (UNDCP). His recent publications include an NMML Monograph The Stigma of Defeat: Indian Military History in Comparative Perspective and a paper titled ‘Interpretative Possibilities of Historical Fiction: A Perspective on Kiran Nagarkar’s Cuckold’, in Yasmeen Lukmani (ed.), The Shifting Worlds of Kiran Nagarkar’s Fiction (2004).

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Bibliographic information

Title British Military Policy in India, 1900-1945: Colonial Constraints and Declining Power
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.01.2005
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 8173045836
length 223p., Notes; Tables; Bibliography; Index; 23cm.
Subjects History