India and World War II: War, Armed Forces and Society, 1939–1945


Roy, Kaushik (2016) India and World War II: War, Armed Forces and Society, 1939–1945. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.


​​The Second World War remains a defining chapter in modern world history. Colonial Indiaas involvement in the war has often been studied against the backdrop of the ongoing freedom struggle, the varying attitudes of the Indian National Congress and the Muslim League, and the formation of the Azad Hind Fauj under Subhas Chandra Bose. Moving beyond the claims of how Indian resources and soldiers aided the Allies in winning the war, this volume explores the complex interrelationship between the Indian armed forces, the Indian society, and the war. Drawing on archival data, this book focuses on understanding the impact of large-scale mobilization of manpower and resources on an underdeveloped agrarian society; the communities which joined the Indian armed forces; why the Indian soldiers remained loyal to the Raj; and how they defeated the Japanese in Burma and the Italians and the Germans in Africa and Italy. Rather than merely providing a chronological account of military operations, Roy fuses ideas and institutions of violence with the prevalent social and cultural contexts.

He further asserts that nationalism was not a strong sentiment among the Indian soldiers involved in the war, who were quite content with the British military service.

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Kaushik Roy

Kaushik Roy

PRIO Global Fellow; Senior Researcher