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14. Army, Ethnicity and Society in British India

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Chapter Summary

This chapter discusses power, ethnicity and military organization in British imperial context, and of the 'class' or communal organization of the post-mutiny Indian Army. It turns to the character of ethnic relations in the Indian Army in the Second World War. The chapter takes up the question of military anthropology. Much of the work done on 'colonial forms of knowledge', and from which the chapter's analysis is derived, has focused on texts produced by colonial officials, scholars and other intellectuals who created the knowledges through which India was governed. Henry Lawrence conceived of ethnicity as a realm that could be variably managed because in his lifetime East India Company forces had used different models for the military organization of ethnicity, paradigmatically so in the differing attitudes towards caste of the Bombay and Bengal armies.

Keywords:British Indian army; colonial society; ethnicity; Henry Lawrence; military organization; Second World War



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