1st Edition

Warfare and Society in British India, 1757–1947

Edited By Ashutosh Kumar, Kaushik Roy Copyright 2023
    278 Pages
    by Routledge India

    278 Pages
    by Routledge India

    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.

    Introduction: Armed Forces, Society and Culture in Colonial South Asia

    Kaushik Roy and Ashutosh Kumar                


    1. ‘Birds of Prey and Passage’: The Armies and Societies of British India, 1824-1857

    Peter Stanley  


    2. Discipline and Publish: Military Law and the Negotiation of Order and Identity in the Company Era, 1820–1860

    Douglas M Peers                                           


    3. The Making of a Meta-Uprising: Rebellion and Subversion of Colonial State in North East India, 1857–1861

    Sajal Nag                                           


    4. Metamorphosis of Military Technology: Ordnance Factories of the East India Company, 1770–1857

    Moumita Chowdhury                                     


    5. Dacoits, Dragoons, and Diplomats: Amir Khan Pindari and the British Pacification of Malwa and Rajputana, 1803–1818

    Aryama Ghosh                                               


    6. ‘Small Wars’ and State-building in the Lushai Hills: 1765–1898

    Sohini Mitra                                                   


    7. Thorn in the Heel: Articulating the Centrality of Gun in British encounter with Indigenous Hill People in the India-Burma Frontier

    Pum Khan Pau                                               


    8. Debating the Doctrine of ‘Minimum Force’: Small Wars in the North-Western Frontier of India and Afghanistan, 1860–1920

    Arka Chowdhury


    9. Logistics and British Imperialism: Supplying the British Imperial Army during the Second Afghan War, 1878–1880

    Kaushik Roy


    10. Donning the Khaki: Revisiting Recruitment in Punjab during World War I

    K. C. Yadav


    11. War in Indian Languages Print: North Indian Soldiers and the First World War

    Ashutosh Kumar                                            


    12. Royal Engineers and Military Logistics from Britain to Burma and India in World War II

    Michael Charney                   



    Ashutosh Kumar is Associate Professor of History at Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, India.

    Kaushik Roy is Guru Nanak Chair Professor in the Department of History, Jadavpur University, Kolkata, and is a Global Fellow at Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO), Norway.