War, Culture and Society in Early Modern South Asia, 1740-1849: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

War, Culture and Society in Early Modern South Asia, 1740-1849

1st Edition

By Kaushik Roy


256 pages | 10 B/W Illus.

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This book argues that the role of the British East India Company in transforming warfare in South Asia has been overestimated. Although it agrees with conventional wisdom that, before the British, the nature of Indian society made it difficult for central authorities to establish themselves fully and develop a monopoly over armed force, the book argues that changes to warfare in South Asia were more gradual, and the result of more complicated socio-economic forces than has been hitherto acknowledged.

The book covers the period from 1740, when the British first became a major power broker in south India, to 1849, when the British eliminated the last substantial indigenous kingdom in the sub-continent. Placing South Asian military history in a global, comparative context, it examines military innovations; armies and how they conducted themselves; navies and naval warfare; major Indian military powers - such as the Mysore and Khalsa kingdoms, the Maratha confederacy - and the British, explaining why they succeeded.


"A good basic introduction to the history of Britain's conquest of India. Summing Up: Recommended. Undergraduate and general collections."--P. P. Barua, CHOICE (January 2012)

Table of Contents

1. Naval Warfare in South Asia: 1500-1850 2. The Changing Pattern of Later Mughal Warfare 3. Army, State and Political Economy of the East India Company 4. Armies, Warfare and Political Economy of Mysore: 1760-1799 5. The Maratha Confederacy: Armies, Economy and Warfare 6. Khalsa Kingdom against the East India Company, 1780-1849

About the Author

Kaushik Roy is Reader in History at Jadavpur University, India and a Senior Researcher at the Centre for the Study of Civil War (CSCW) at the International Peace Research Institute, Oslo (PRIO). His latest publication is The Oxford Companion to Modern Warfare in India.

About the Series

Asian States and Empires

The importance of Asia will continue to grow in the twenty-first century, but remarkably little is available in English on the history of the polities that constitute this critical area.  Most current work on Asia is hindered by the extremely limited state of knowledge of the Asian past in general, and the history of Asian states and empires in particular.  Asian States and Empires is a book series that will provide detailed accounts of the history of states and empires across Asia from earliest times until the present.  It aims to explain and describe the formation, maintenance and collapse of Asian states and empires, and the means by which this was accomplished, making available the history of more than half the world’s population at a level of detail comparable to the history of Western polities.  In so doing, it will demonstrate that Asian peoples and civilizations had their own histories apart from the West, and provide the basis for understanding contemporary Asia in terms of its actual histories, rather than broad generalizations informed by Western categories of knowledge.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Asia / India & South Asia
HISTORY / Military / Other
HISTORY / Modern / 19th Century
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General