Rajmohan Gandhi’s book could not have been timed better. The idea of south India as a distinct socio-territorial entity has a longer history, but has become more visible in recent political imaginations, with a growing perception by the Union government. Amidst such stirrings, Rajmohan Gandhi‘s book traces the history of the region since the fall of the Vijayanagara empire with entry of the Dutch, British and the French East India companies.
Anchoring the early narration around the evolution of operations of the British East India Company in the south, Gandhi, much like William Darlymple in his White Mughals, maps the shift in native-colonial relations from being marked by interactions on equal terms to one tinged with racial markings as the company established political control. Moving on to the late colonial and then to post-colonial developments, the book ends with short commentaries on latest events, the rise of the Hindu right-wing forces in particular.