India’s War: World War II and the Making of Modern South Asia

Srinath Raghavan. Basic, $35 (560p) ISBN 978-0-465-03022-4
In this durable and occasionally thrilling account of India’s role in WWII, Raghavan (War and Peace in Modern India), a senior fellow at the Center for Policy Research and a lecturer at King’s College London, restores significance to a period of modern Indian history often left out of dominant narratives on both WWII and the rise of the Indian nationalist movement. Dragged into the war as an unwilling participant, India would muster the largest volunteer army in history in the service of the British Empire, while leaders such as Jawaharlal Nehru and B.R. Ambedkar simultaneously condemned the war effort and sought to leverage it for political gain. Raghavan’s retelling of this hugely important story tends to become submerged in the details of military campaigns, with the promise of the book’s subtitle remaining largely unfulfilled, despite the attention paid to India’s regional sub-empire and the effect of the warfare state on postwar political mobilization. But the book provides a much-needed window into the wartime experiences of ordinary Indians. As imperial subjects fighting Nazi tyranny, yet denied freedom themselves, the subalterns of the Indian Army found themselves caught between sovereignty and liberty in unknown lands. In making these forgotten voices heard, Raghavan succeeds admirably. Maps & illus. Agent: Melanie Jackson, Melanie Jackson Agency. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/14/2016
Release date: 05/01/2016
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 592 pages - 978-0-465-09862-0
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