India’s role in World War II has long been overlooked. But as Srinath Raghavan shows in this authoritative account, India did not fight the war as merely an appendage of the British Empire. From the start, India defended its own sub-empire from Imperial Japan and assisted its allies in battles in Italy, East Africa, and the Pacific. The war also brought great changes to the subcontinent. By the war’s end, the Indian Army had become the largest volunteer force in history, while many millions more Indians had worked in their nation’s rapidly expanding industry and agriculture. This nationwide commitment to victory altered the country’s social landscape, overturning assumptions about class and opening up new opportunities for India’s most disadvantaged people. The first major account of India during World War II, India’s War chronicles how the demands of war forever transformed the country, its economy, its politics, and its people, laying the groundwork for the rise of modern South Asia.
Srinath Raghavan is a New Delhi-based historian and a Senior Fellow at the Centre for Policy Research, as well as a Lecturer in Defense Studies at King’s College London. He received his MA and PhD in War Studies from King’s College, before which he spent six years in the Indian Army. He is the author of War and Peace in Modern India: A Strategic History of the Nehru Years (which was chosen as a Book of the Year by Outlook, an Indian magazine), as well as 1971: A Global History of the Creation of Bangladesh. Raghavan writes columns in the Asian Age, the Deccan Chronicle, and the Telegraph, and regularly reviews books in the Times of India and the Indian Express. Raghavan lives in New Delhi.