South Asia Seminar: Hindu Militarism, P.D. Tandon and the Politics of Scale in 1940s Uttar Pradesh


Convener: Dr Faisal Devji

Speaker: William Gould

There are two broad trends in historical scholarship on partition: On the one hand, older work traced high politics, and the ‘end-game’ of Empire. On the other, more recent and extensive histories recover partition experiences, refugee politics and everyday violence. Uttar Pradesh and its urban centres were not in partition’s immediate hinterland but were pivotal, this paper argues, at an alternative scale of political mobilisation around volunteer movements. Taking P.D. Tandon’s Hind Rakshak Dal as its central case study, it argues that early 1940s militaristic and drilling organisations were ideologically pivotal to the meaning of ‘Pakistan’ in UP.  The paper draws some new conclusions about the significance of these movements’ ideologies of violence to India’s long partition.

William Gould is Professor of Indian History at the University of Leeds and has worked there since 2003. Before that he completed his BA and PhD at the University of Cambridge.  His major publications include Hindu nationalism and the language of politics in late colonial India (2004), Bureaucracy, Community and Influence (2011) and Religion and Conflict in South Asia (2012). He is currently working on a co-authored monograph with Professor Sarah Ansari.

Enquiries: or 01865-274559.

Further Information

The South Asia Seminar is organised with the support of the History Faculty.

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