Crisis, Captivity, and Containment: A History of Encampment and Internment in India (1937-1967)
My research aims to explore the ways through which the camp came to be institutionalized as a mode of captivity and governance, a motif of marginalization and sovereign preponderance, a structure of power but also a site of resistance, during the extended period of transition of the Indian state: from colonial to post-colonial times. I zoom in on diverse historical actors such as rebellious imperial subjects, enemy aliens, prisoners of war, recalcitrant refugees, and ethnic minorities who were (and often continue to be) encamped and interned in times of crisis. I do this to understand the nature of the state, its codes, personnel, and institutions, and to lay bare hitherto unacknowledged ambivalences in international law, national citizenship regimes, and individual and group claims of belonging. I seek to foreground the camp as a weapon of asymmetric warfare and colonial counterinsurgency, as a locus for (re)negotiating metropole-colony relations, as a tool for targeted discrimination, disenfranchisement, and dispossession, and also as a stimulus for generating political opposition and legal innovations. Although my spatial focus is on the Indian subcontinent, this project is very much a social history of 'foreigners' in India, as it is a critical study of the British Empire during the Second World War and the nascent Indian nation-state through the long partition and the 1962 war with China.
Before beginning my DPhil, I did an MSt in Global and Imperial History from the University of Oxford (2022) and a BA (Hons.) in History from St. Stephen's College, Delhi (2021). My graduate studies in Oxford are funded by a Rhodes Scholarship.