Despite the flurry of works over the past 20 years or so which have explored the course and consequences of colonial rule in India, and increasingly the impact that such rule had upon British society, the period before the Battle of Plassey has remained for the most part insulated from questions about the ideologies and operations of territorial governance.
Popular references to Calcutta (now Kolkata) – once the gleaming capital of British India – in Anglo-American contexts often conjure images of poverty, crowded city streets, unbearable traffic, smog, and residents that require a savior.
Some years ago, in the midst of a conversation about tourism and travelling, a friend from one of Britain’s former colonies remarked how shocked she had been to see ‘white people begging’ during her first trip abroad to Australia.
This book uses the story of one family and its legal battles to uncover relationships between religion, race, gender, identity, and personal law in south India in the first half of the 19th century. Matthew Abrahams was an Indian Roman Catholic of lowly background but increasing wealth.
Although photography was introduced to India soon after its 1839 European invention, it was not until 1857 that the new technology proliferated in the subcontinent. In Zahid R. Chaudhary’s heavily illustrated study, focused on colonial photographic practices following the Sepoy Revolt by Indian recruits (1857–8), this proliferation is central.
7 May 1954 is a day that helped to alter the course of American history. It was on this day that French troops, under siege for two months by Ho Chi Minh’s Vietminh forces, were roundly defeated, signaling the end of France’s efforts to re-exert control over its former Southeast Asian colony. American involvement, however, was to begin to ramp up and continue for the next 21 years.
In 1920, Sir Lionel Abrahams, an Assistant Under Secretary of State at the India Office, likened India’s finances in Britain to ‘rivers running into a lake on one side and so many rivers running out of the lake at the other side’.
The historical literature on Afghanistan and the various armed conflicts fought on its soil has greatly increased in recent years, due to the tragic events following the American-led invasion of the country in October 2001.
These engaging tomes, a two-volume collection of translations on pan-Asianism and a collection of articles in an edited volume on the same topic, offer a mint of scholarship on what has long been a troubling issue to decipher for students limited to the English language – namely, what is the deal with Pan-Asianism? What does it all mean, who talked about it, why and where?
With contemporary Japanese-Korean relations so inextricably entrenched within contentious politics of national identity and divergent expressions of historical consciousness, Jun Uchida’s Brokers of Empire could not be a more welcome addition to the field of modern East Asian history.