20 August, 2012

Brown Warriors of the Raj: Recruitment and the Mechanics of Command in the Sepoy Army, 1859-1913

Brown Warriors of the Raj: Recruitment and the Mechanics of Command in the Sepoy Army, 1859-1913

By- Kaushik Roy

The Sepoy Army was one of the pivots of Britain’s overseas empire. After 1857, this army policed the subcontinent as well as Britain’s extra-Indian overseas possessions. The importance of the Sepoy Army for the Raj could be gleaned from the fact that it consumed about 30 per cent of the government’s revenue. For the colonized also, the colonial army was one of the largest government employers in India. Nevertheless, it remains an underdog both in Indian and the British-Imperial historiography. This volume focuses on recruitment and the mechanics of command. It attempts to answer pertinent questions like: who were recruited and why, how the recruits were conditioned into soldiers, etc.

Recruitment was the product of two opposing ideologies: the Martial Race ideology and the Anti-Martial Race ideology. The Sepoy Army was the largest volunteer army in the world. The Indians joined the army and remained loyal to it mostly because of a host of tangible and intangible incentives offered to the soldiers and institutionalization of the coercive apparatus by the British command.

The Study begins at 1859 and ends at 1913. This is because after the 1857 Uprising, the Bengal Army experienced a sea change in its organization and social architecture. And again, 1914 constituted a break since the army went through a fivefold expansion.

The author attempts a cross-cultural comparative analysis with other armies in order to flesh out the specificity of the Sepoy Army. This much awaited study is invaluable for scholars of military and modern Indian history.

Kaushik Roy, speacializes in miltary history of South Asia. He has done his Ph.D. from Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University. Previously a fellow of Nehru Memorial Museum & Library, New Delhi; Roy is currently a lecturer in history, at Presidency College, Kolkata and associate researcher at the Centre for the Study of Civil War (CSCW), Inter-national Peace Research Institute, Oslo. He is the author of three books and two dozen articles in academic journals. He is also one of the general editors of Anthem Press.

ISBN 81-7304-754-5 2008 350p. Rs.875/ Pounds 50

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