Tobunken-Seminar "Looking Beyond Flags: the 1940s in India"

We are very happy to announce that Professor Indivar Kamtekar (JNU, India) is going to give a seminar on the State and Society in India in the 1940s. We look forward to seeing many of you at the seminar.

Date&Time: 27th March 2018, 17:00-19:00

Venue: Seminar Room No 2 (3F), Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia, the University of Tokyo


Speaker: Professor Indivar Kamtekar, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), India

Title: Looking Beyond Flags: the 1940s in India

The standard interpretation of the 1940s in India focuses on the contest between the forces of imperialism and nationalism, leading to Indian independence in August 1947, when the British flag was lowered, and India’s tricolour was unfurled. By looking in detail at the workings of the state, it is however possible to reveal a picture which the standard interpretation has overshadowed so far. After sketching the institutions of the late colonial state, the transformations it underwent are analyzed. We look at the numbers of people it employed; the economic controls it enforced; the tasks (like rationing of foodgrains), which it began to undertake; and the operations of its police force. A new interpretation emerges which, by highlighting the enduring effects of the Second World War on the relationship between society and the state, enables us to understand some crucial aspects of Indian history in the forty years after independence.
In the new perspective, these decades can be seen as a time when, as a result of the Second World War, Indian society came to be held more tightly within the embrace of the state.

Indivar Kamtekar teaches modern Indian history at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. He is currently a visiting professor at the South Asia Institute of Heidelberg University. He holds a B.Sc. in physics from Delhi University, an M.A. from JNU, and a Ph.D. from Cambridge. He has been a faculty member of the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta; Visiting Senior Fellow at the National University of Singapore; Visiting Professor at the University of Goettingen; and the Indian Council for Cultural Relations Professor of Indian Studies at Victoria University, New Zealand. With the photographer Aditya Arya, he has co-authored a book titled History in the Making: The Visual Archives of Kulwant Roy.