Modern South Asia : History, Culture, Political Economy book cover
4th Edition

Modern South Asia
History, Culture, Political Economy

ISBN 9781138243682
Published September 22, 2017 by Routledge
298 Pages 38 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Drawing on the newest historical research and scholarship in the field, Modern South Asia provides challenging insights into the history of this fascinating region over the past three centuries. Jointly authored by two leading Indian and Pakistani historians, it offers a rare depth of historical understanding of the politics, cultures, and economies that have shaped the lives of more than a fifth of humanity.

In this comprehensive study, the authors interpret and debate key developments in modern South Asian history and historical writing, covering the diverse spectrum of the region’s social, economic and political past. This fourth edition brings the debate up to the present day, discussing recent events and exploring new themes such as the capture of state power in India by the forces of religious majoritarianism, economic development in the context of the 'rise' of Asia, and strategic shifts occasioned by the US withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Providing new insights into the structure and ideology of the British raj, the meaning of subaltern resistance, the refashioning of social relations along the lines of caste, class, community and gender, the different strands of anti-colonial nationalism and the dynamics of decolonization, this is an essential resource for all students of the modern history of South Asia.

Table of Contents

List of illustrations. Preface to the Fourth Edition. Preface to the Third Edition. Preface to the Second Edition. Preface to the First Edition. Acknowledgements. 1. South Asian history: an introduction.  2. Modernity and antiquity: interpretations of ancient India  3. Pre-modern accommodations of difference: the making of Indo-Islamic cultures  4. The Mughal empire: state, economy and society  5. India between empires: decline or decentralization?  6. The transition to colonialism: resistance and collaboration  7. The first century of British rule, 1757 to 1857: state and economy  8. Company raj and Indian society, 1757 to 1857: re-invention and reform of tradition  9. 1857: rebellion, collaboration and the transition to crown raj  10. High noon of colonialism, 1858 to 1914: state and political economy  11. A nation in making? ‘Rational’ reform, ‘religious’ revival and swadeshi nationalism, 1858 to 1914  12. Colonialism under siege: state and political economy after World War I  13. Gandhian nationalism and mass politics in the 1920s  14. The Depression decade: society, economics and politics  15. Nationalism and colonialism during World War II and its aftermath: economic crisis and political confrontation  16. The partition of India and the creation of Pakistan  17. 1947: memories and meanings  18. Post-colonial South Asia: state and economy, society and politics, 1947 to 1971  19. Post-colonial South Asia: state and economy, society and politics, 1971 to 2017  20. Decolonizing South Asian history: a view from the new millennium  Glossary. A chronological outline. Select bibliography and notes. Index.

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Sugata Bose is Gardiner Professor of History at Harvard University, USA. His publications include A Hundred Horizons: The Indian Ocean in the Age of Global Empire (2006) and His Majesty’s Opponent: Subhas Chandra Bose and India’s Struggle against Empire (2011).

Ayesha Jalal is Mary Richardson Professor of History at Tufts University, USA. Her publications include Partisans of Allah: Jihad in South Asia (2010) and The Pity of Partition: Manto’s Life, Times, and Work across the India–Pakistan Divide (2013).


"World-renowned scholars Ayesha Jalal and Sugata Bose offer a compelling interpretation of events and influences that have shaped the history of the subcontinent, from the discovery of the enigmatic Indus Valley civilization that probably thrived in the third millennium BCE to the most recent elections in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. Narrated with panache and passion, this book will continue to inspire generations of students to explore and understand South Asia."

Neeti Nair, University of Virginia, USA

"This book provides an excellent introduction to South Asian history. For undergraduates this book is a must-read. Written in a lucid and clear language it familiarizes students with both events and various interpretations of events in South Asian history."

Subho Basu, McGill University, Canada