“This is not just about what India did for the war. I also look at what the war did to India. The South Asia of today is in very many ways the product of India’s Second World War.”
—Thus a succinct Srinath Raghavan in his new book, India’s War: The Making of Modern South Asia, 1939-1945.
At just 39, the unassuming and charismatic Raghavan, a senior fellow at the Centre for Policy Research in Delhi, is now considered to be a leading military historian and writer on strategic studies. His book is an exhaustive account of the Second World War told from a uniquely Indian perspective. Raghavan looks at vital questions, like the Raj having a sub-imperial system of its own that stood ready to defend its own empire, the international dimensions of India’s war (Indians fought in the China-Burma-India theatre, West Asia, north and east Africa and Italy), how imperial war aims influenced these crucially formative years of...