Small Wars and Pacification in the British Empire: A Case Study of Lushai Hills, 1850–1900

Journal article

Roy, Kaushik (2022) Small Wars and Pacification in the British Empire: A Case Study of Lushai Hills, 1850–1900, The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History. DOI: 10.1080/03086534.2022.2116151.

Download Reviewed, pre-typeset version

This is the Reviewed, pre-typeset version of the article. The final, definitive version can be found at the journal’s website. This publication may be subject to copyright: please visit the publisher’s website for details. All rights reserved.

Read the article here

The British Empire was at the height of its power in the late nineteenth century. Most scholars focus on imperial expansion. However, not much light has been shed on the process of consolidation, which I term pacification. This paper tries to cover this historiographical slip by making a case study of British pacification of the Lushai Hills of North-East India. While analysing this micro region, I shall contextualise it within the broader policies of the British imperium. Both Callwell and some of the modern commentators are wrong in asserting that British Empire building involved a display of brute force in curbing the insurrectionary natives. Overall, British consolidation policy was more complex. Repeated application of a moderate amount of violence through the medium of small war prepared the ground for pacification. The non-military components of pacification (construction of roads, schools and a job creation programme) are equivalent to what modern-day scholars term winning the hearts and minds of the populace of the disturbed regions. Use of proportionate force and implementation of certain non-military schemes enabled a small number of white men to rule over millions of brown people for more than a century.

An error has occurred. This application may no longer respond until reloaded. Reload 🗙