The role of armies and warfare in shaping colonialism in South Asia has not received much attention in academic history-writing. The sepoy army constituted the largest government employer for the colonized. Military service under the colonial regime also moulded the structure and ethos of the subject populace. Part of the prestigious Themes in Indian History series, this volume analyses the complex dialectics between warfare, the British-Indian war machine, and colonial society.
The reader considers the social and cultural dimensions of colonialism and also assesses the nature of the colonial state. Spatially and temporally, it covers a wide canvas. The essays are arranged chronologically within broad thematic heads. The first segment deals with coercion, discipline, and dissent in the sepoy armies while reopening the significant debate on whether sepoys were mercenaries or professional army men. The next part discusses the military cultures, symbols, and martial constructs introduced by the British. The concluding section investigates the torturous transition of the colonial army and state from waging limited warfare to large-scale industrial warfare.
Providing a wide historiographical landscape, Roy throws new light on key aspects of colonial warfare. He also examines the debates on principal aspects of British-Indian military history delineating changing perspectives and emerging concerns. Integrating military history with broader social and cultural studies, this book brings together landmark writings from across the globe.
About the Author
Kaushik Roy Lecturer, Department of History, Presidency College, Kolkata