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War & Military Culture in South Asia 1757-1947

War & Military in South East Asia

Series Editor’s Preface

The aim of this academic historical series is to produce well-researched monographs on the wars and armed forces of South Asia, concentrating mainly on the East India Company and the Indian armed forces from 1757 until 1947. Books in the series will examine the military history of the period as well as social, cultural, political and economic factors, although inevitably the armies of the East India Company and the Indian Army will dominate the series. In addition, edited volumes of conference papers, memoirs and campaign histories will also be published. It is hoped this series will be of interest to both serious historians and the general military history reader.

The resurgence of interest in the history of warfare in South Asia has been very apparent in the growing historiography of the colonial period, particularly in the era of the World Wars.  For example in the field of Second World War studies and the period until Partition, Daniel Marston and Tim Moreman have spearheaded this historical research with their volumes: the prize-winning Phoenix from the Ashes: The Indian Army in the Burma Campaign (2003), The Indian Army and the End of the Raj (2014)and The Jungle, the Japanese and the Commonwealth Armies at War (2005) respectively. These are complemented by Raymond Callahan’s Churchill and His Generals (2007), a seminal work published in the United States that deserves better attention in the United Kingdom, and Steven Wilkinson’s Army and Nation: The Military and Indian Democracy since Independence (2015). In addition, are the important wider studies of Christopher Bayly and Tim Harper, Forgotten Armies: The Fall of British Asia, 1941-1945 (2004) and Ashley Jackson on The British Empire and the Second World War (2006). The most recent publications include Approach to Battle: Training the Indian Army during the Second World War (2017) published in this series, as well as Tarak Barkawi’s Soldiers of Empire: Indian and British Armies in World War II (2017) and Raymond Callahan’s Triumph at Imphal-Kohima: How the Indian Army Finally Stopped the Japanese Juggernaut (2017). Furthermore the Indian home front has been covered in Yasmin Khan’s social history of the period entitled The Raj at War: A People’s History of India’s Second World War (2015).

The aforementioned rise in interest has been mirrored in India as eight volumes of the official histories of the Indian Armed Forces during the Second World War were reprinted in India in 2012 and another four in 2014 (they were originally published between 1954 and 1960). As Squadron Leader Rana Chhina stated at the launch of the reprints: ‘As a resurgent India seeks to be a major player on the world stage, it behoves it to discard its narrow post-colonial world view to step up to reclaim the role that its armed forces played out on a global scale’ during the Second World War. This resurgence is amply demonstrated by the publication of Srinath Raghavan’s excellent overview India’s Wars : The Making of Modern South Asia (2016), alongside the Kaushik Roy’s India and World II: War, Armed Forces, and Society, 1939-45 (2016) snd Anirudh Deshpande’s Hope and Despair: Mutiny, Rebellion and Death in India, 1946 (2016). However, even in this crowded arena, there is still much research and work to be published on both war and military culture in South Asia during the Second World War.

The series editors, members of the editorial advisory board and our publisher, Duncan Rogers of Helion, are all delighted to be involved in this series, most of the volumes of which are also being published in India under the Primus imprint. We hope it will be of interest in the UK, India but also globally.

Alan Jeffreys