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.

chapter |17 pages


Armed Forces, Society, and Culture in Colonial South Asia

chapter 1|24 pages

‘Birds of Prey and Passage’

The Armies and Societies of British India, 1824–57

chapter 2|21 pages

Discipline and Publish

Order, Identity, and Honour in the Practice of Military Law in the Company Era, 1820–60

chapter 3|20 pages

Making of a Meta-Uprising

Rebellion and Subversion of Colonial State in North East India, 1857–61

chapter 4|19 pages

Metamorphosis of Military Technology

Ordnance Factories of the East India Company, 1770–1857

chapter 5|20 pages

Dacoits, Dragoons, and Diplomats

Amir Khan Pindari and the British Pacification of Malwa and Rajputana, 1803–18

chapter 6|21 pages

‘Small Wars’ and State-Building

Lushai Hills, 1765–1898

chapter 7|15 pages

Thorn in the Heel

Articulating the Centrality of Gun in British Encounter with Indigenous Hill People in the India-Burma Frontier

chapter 8|24 pages

Debating the Doctrine of ‘Minimum Force’

Small Wars in the North-West Frontier of India and Afghanistan, 1860–1920

chapter 9|21 pages

Logistics and British Imperialism

Supplying the British Imperial Army during the Second Afghan War, 1878–1880

chapter 10|21 pages

Donning the Khaki

Revisiting Recruitment in Punjab during World War I

chapter 11|22 pages

War in Indian Languages Print

North Indian Soldiers and the First World War