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Histories of Indian Citizenship in the Age of Decolonisation

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 March 2021

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This essay discusses the important contributions of three new works on Indian citizenship by Ornit Shani, Uditi Sen, and Oliver Godsmark. Their books discuss the territorial partition of the subcontinent into India and Pakistan in 1947, the framing and inauguration of the Indian Constitution in 1950, the preparation of voter rolls and the first democratic elections, and linguistic reorganisation of Indian states in 1956, alongside questions of refugee rehabilitation, counterinsurgency measures and rising ethnonationalisms. The emphasis is not only on the legal regimes of national citizenship, but also how it is unevenly mapped and experienced. This emphasis on territoriality is an invitation to ask questions about continuity and change in the transition from empires to nation-states, as well as invented pasts and imagined futures that transcend national borders set up after the end of colonial rule.

Review Essay
Copyright © The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of Research Institute for History, Leiden University

Godsmark, Oliver. Citizenship, Community and Democracy in India: From Bombay to Maharashtra, c. 1930–1960. London: Routledge, 2018. 204 pages. ISBN: 9780815393627, HC $155. ISBN: 9780367892937, PB $ 47.95.

Sen, Uditi. Citizen Refugee: Forging the Indian Nation after Partition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018. 300 pages. ISBN: 9781108425612, $99.

Shani, Ornit. How India Became Democratic: Citizenship and the Making of the Universal Franchise. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018. 294 pages. ISBN: 9781107673540, $34.99.

In July 1950, twenty-year-old Antonio Cecil Pereira filled out an application for a passport to Malaya before a district magistrate in the state of Travancore-CochinFootnote 1 in newly independent India. He wished to join his uncle, a Mr. A. L. Fernandez, chief clerk at the Saringgit Estate in Semenyih, Malaya. He supplied the authorities with the necessary paperwork: an application form listing the date and place of birth, his height, the colour of eyes and hair, and visible distinguishing marks, letters from the local parish priest affirming that his parents lived in the district, and clearances from the police authorities. He also enclosed, per passport regulations, a black-and-white photograph, hair neatly parted in the middle, eyes looking straight into the camera, a collared shirt crisply ironed. The application is unremarkable except for two details: in response to the question, “Do you claim to be Indian?,” he wrote “yes.” In response to “Have you made a declaration of allegiance to the Dominion of India?,” he wrote “yes” in blue ink. Two months later, he wrote to the chief secretary of Travancore-Cochin, noting that “due to a slip,” he had written “yes” in response to a declaration of allegiance to India. It was his “fervant [sic] prayer” that his “yes” be struck out and replaced with “nil.” In the departmental files relating to his passport application, Pereira's original “yes” is scratched out with a pencil, but is, critically, not replaced with a “nil.” His passport endorsed for Malaya was issued on the same day. Imagine Pereira, leaving India and preparing for his voyage across the Bay of Bengal and the eastern Indian Ocean in pursuit of a new life, faint echoes still of the celebrations that followed India's political independence from British rule in 1947 and as a new constitution promised him and millions like him, new freedoms. In these first years of decolonisation in South Asia, ostensibly a time of great anticipation and hope, why did Pereira choose to leave, altering his initial answer about political allegiance to India?

In three new books on citizenship in India, by Ornit Shani, Oliver Godsmark, and Uditi Sen, decolonisation - the last two decades of colonial rule and the first three decades of political independence in India, from the 1930s to the 1970s - is marked not by fanfare and celebrations at the departure of imperial rulers, but by the mundane work of administering a newly independent nation-state, by encounters like Pereira's. These encounters are explored, understood, and reimagined in terms of the profound implications for ordinary people's lives. Individuals, communities, and organizations rethought, in encounters with the state, the terms of negotiation in light of independent India's democratic and developmental imperatives, ostensibly freed from the exigencies and exploitative practices of imperial rule. In these deeply researched and archivally grounded works, citizenship in the age of decolonisation is not only marked by the triumph of anticolonial nationalisms, but by the complex pasts of fractures that mark political imaginations in South Asia today.Footnote 2 By centring ordinary encounters with the state, such as an application for a passport, the delimitation of constituencies, or the registration for welfare schemes, these scholars explore not only the meaning citizenship, but also locate it in institutional contexts that made citizenship claims legible.

Even as they explore the formation of national citizenship regimes in the age of decolonisation, Shani, Sen, and Godsmark provoke questions to ask of citizenship beyond the nation-state. Their books discuss well-known events of first two decades of independent India – the territorial partition of the subcontinent into India and Pakistan in 1947, the framing and inauguration of the Indian Constitution in 1950, and linguistic reorganisation of Indian states in 1956, alongside questions of refugee rehabilitation, counterinsurgency measures and rising ethnonationalisms. The emphasis is not only on the development of a national citizenship, but also how it is unevenly mapped and experienced. This emphasis on territoriality is an invitation to ask questions about continuity and change, invented pasts and imagined futures that transcend national borders set up after the end of colonial rule.

The books under review are indebted to two important works on Indian citizenship by Anupama Roy and Niraja Gopal Jayal.Footnote 3 Both Roy and Jayal explore the conceptual underpinnings of Indian citizenship, while grounding it in the historical context of decolonisation and independence in South Asia. Jayal looks at citizenship from three perspectives: as status, as a bundle of rights and entitlements, and in terms of identity and belonging.Footnote 4 Roy's work emphasizes reforms in citizenship legislation between 1947 and 2003 as a reflection of broader sociopolitical changes in independent India. Both emphasise the centrality of the territorial partition of India and Pakistan in 1947 – often referred to as “the Partition” in scholarship - in which the challenges of dealing with more than twenty million people forced to cross new international borders influenced the making of constitutional provisions and later, citizenship legislation in India. While Jayal looks at the myriad sites where citizenship is claimed and performed—courts, panchayats, and refugee camps, for example—Roy emphasises the role of the migrant “outsider”, created through the Partition, tracing the practices of inclusion and exclusion up to the rise of economic neoliberalism in India in the 1980s.

As Jayal and Roy show, the legal definition of Indian citizenship - as status - is spread across many different pieces of legislation, but the most important references are in the Indian Constitution of 1950 and the Citizenship Act of 1955. Provisions on citizenship (Articles 5–11) came into force in 1948, before the rest of the Constitution in 1950, to deal with the uncertainties of legal status caused by the violence and tumult following the Partition. According to the Indian Constitution, one could become a citizen of India through birth, descent, naturalisation, or registration. Unlike in Sri Lanka or Myanmar, neighbouring South Asian countries that also gained independence from British rule in 1948 and introduced dedicated citizenship legislation in the same year, India's legislation—the Citizenship Act—did not come into force until 1955, a legislative process over which the Partition cast its long shadow. While the constitutional provisions relating to citizenship have not been amended, the 1955 Act has periodically undergone changes, most significantly in 1986, 2003, 2016, and 2019, moving towards the idea of citizenship based on descent (jus sanguinis), privileging those who can “prove” that one's paternal ancestors lived within the borders of present-day India.

To these accounts, scholars of Indian constitutional history have contributed rich, archivally grounded narratives of the experience of citizenship in the age of decolonisation; as rights and entitlements to use Jayal's terms. In contrast to a focus on the constitutional legal doctrine, these contributions have focused on constitutional ideals such as secularism or affirmative action, or on those who have been excluded from exercising the full range of rights and entitlements of citizenship, including those marginalized on the basis of religion, caste, and gender.Footnote 5 In A People's Constitution: The Everyday Life of Law in the Indian Republic, Rohit De shows how the Indian Constitution became a “field of practice” from being an aspirational legal text, a transformation during which ordinary citizens were able to assert their rights and freedoms, seeking new legal remedies and drawing public attention to their plight.Footnote 6 Using previously unexplored records of the Supreme Court, the highest judicial body tasked with interpreting the Indian Constitution, De offers a vivid account of how appellate litigation challenged a range of legislative interventions of the first years of the Indian republic - from prohibitions on the sale and consumption of alcohol to restrictions on cow slaughter that impinged on the right to freedom of trade and profession. As De demonstrates in a broader body of work, constitutional history is a history of social and economic citizenship. It encompassed and shaped the most critical issues in the experience of citizenship in the first two decades of independent India - from land reform and postcolonial property regimes to security and counterinsurgency operations.Footnote 7 This chapter in the history of citizenship and decolonisation in South Asia continues to spark rich and vibrant conversations.Footnote 8

But citizenship as rights and entitlements are inextricably linked to citizenship as legal status; and as scholars have shown, the constitutions of India and Pakistan, including provisions on citizenship, were drafted and debated in the shadow of the Partition; and the Partition remains the pre-eminent point of reference for histories of Indian citizenship. Historians of the 1947 Partition – which affected the colonial Indian provinces of Punjab and Sind on the western border, and Assam and Bengal on the eastern border - have offered rich, nuanced accounts of citizenship in the age of decolonisation in South Asia.Footnote 9 The books under review draw on Joya Chatterji's wide-ranging, incisive scholarship over the past three decades of the social and political dimensions of the partition of Bengal on the subcontinent's eastern border and of the legacies of the Partition in South Asian diasporas globally. While citizenship was marked by the legacies of the 1947 Partition, the process of formulating rules, ordinances, notices, and guidelines around the practice of post-partition citizenship was not confined to the realm of political deliberations. Vazira Zamindar and Haimanti Roy have shown, people's everyday lives were lived and experienced in excess of the territorial borders that we see today on the map of South Asia.Footnote 10 Citizenship here is less the assertion of a political status, and more the acquisition of a permit to travel to visit family on the other side of the Partition border, or a claim for compensation for properties abandoned in haste during post-Partition riots. During what Zamindar has memorably called the “long partition”, there was a marked difference between Partition-influenced displacement on the eastern and western borders of British India, when the provinces of Bengal and the Punjab were divided. The border between India and Bangladesh (formerly East Pakistan), nearly four thousand kilometres long, was not sealed off until East Pakistan achieved independence as Bangladesh in 1971. Between 1947 and 1971, the mobility and migration of people and goods—people numbering nearly five million—unsettled the neat lines drawn between citizenship and territory, and as Antara Datta shows, affective ties reimagined administrative boundaries.Footnote 11

The displacements following the Partition shaped the legal debates on citizenship, but migration and mobility has also been central to the understanding of Indian citizenship, before “illegal migration” from Pakistan and Bangladesh to India became the subject of heated parliamentary debate in the 2000s. By the 1950s, people had been traveling from India to places in Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean – as slaves, indentured workers, wage laborers, traders, clerks, teachers, merchants - within and alongside imperial networks at least for a century and a half. The first stirrings of a rights-based claim towards equal (imperial) citizenship mapped on to these networks of mobility, in Natal in the 1920s, for example, or as Renisa Mawani and Radhika Mongia show in tracing the restrictions on migration and movement across the oceans, in other settler dominions of the British empire like Canada as well.Footnote 12 Political identities began to crystallize, and loyalties were assumed, in the context of immigration agreements between India and other British colonies in the 1940s with the rise of ethnonationalisms that marked migrants and settlers off from “original” inhabitants. With Partition, these calls for bold lines to be drawn between citizens and others swelled; the ebbs and flows of Indian nationalism were felt, as Sana Aiyar shows, on the opposite shores of the western Indian Ocean, echoing the discourse in the subcontinent.Footnote 13 For example, in Kenya and Uganda, former British colonies in East Africa to which many people from India travelled as traders and laborers, as Deborah Sutton shows, every Muslim was treated as a putative Pakistani.Footnote 14 In Sri Lanka, Burma, and Malaya, former British colonies where Indian diasporas persisted after independence in the 1940s and 1950s, migrants became minorities. For people in these former British colonies and nation-states in the making in Southeast Asia, Indian citizenship, as Sunil Amrith has shown, was premised on a “disavowal of migration”.Footnote 15

There are also lesser-known accounts of migrants attributed Indianness that disavowed Indian citizenship; a glimpse of what might have prompted Pereira to alter his answer about his allegiance to India in 1950. For example, under the transitional provisions for citizenship in the Indian Constitution (1948–50), the descendants of those born within the territory of India who had settled in Burma, Sri Lanka, or Malaya (defined as “Greater India” in the 1935 Government of India Act) could apply for Indian citizenship. Take Ceylon, for example. By 1950, Ceylon's citizenship legislation (1948–9) had come into force. India's had not. These provisions created widespread panic among Indians “ordinarily resident” in Ceylon: traders, labourers, students, and working professionals, particularly in light of a rising majoritarian sentiment that outsiders were taking over Sinhalese peasant lands, and migrant workers occupying government jobs that Ceylonese should have.Footnote 16 Migrants from India, even those who had never returned to their ancestral villages from Ceylon, wondered whether they could acquire Indian citizenship at a later date.Footnote 17 Since Ceylon was not a “foreign” country but rather part of the British Commonwealth, the Indian High Commission in Colombo tentatively answered in the affirmative. The Commission for the Registration of Indian and Pakistani Residents (1949–57) received nearly 750,000 applications for Ceylonese citizenship, including those from plantation labourers brought over to Ceylon from southern India from the mid-nineteenth century onwards.Footnote 18 Nevertheless, when the Indian High Commission opened citizens’ registers in Colombo and Kandy, very few nationals turned up to register themselves as Indian citizens. Even as plantation labourers faced the charge of being “Indian” in Sri Lanka, the Indian government encouraged them to accept Ceylonese nationality. In Sri Lanka, it was not until 2003 that those rendered stateless through these governmental registration and repatriation exercises were finally granted citizenship. In India, “repatriates” that have lived in India for decades, remain beholden to the whims of judges in order to apply for citizenship or exercise any rights outside refugee camps.

In these ways, histories of Indian citizenship in an age of decolonisation continue to grapple with the jagged, exclusionary, and often violent transition from empires to nation-states. But while the broad strokes of the political history of Indian citizenship and decolonisation in South Asia is well established, the multiple, overlapping, and intersecting trajectories of Indian citizenship remain generative for scholarly inquiry. Shani, Sen, and Godsmark build on, and contribute to, this rich, vibrant field of scholarship that interrogates and establishes the relationship of territory to sovereignty, partitions to citizenship, and displacement to decolonisation from the perspective of the former Indian empire and its global diasporas.

Ornit Shani's How India Became Democratic: Citizenship and the Making of the Universal Franchise shows how the exercise of voting rights was and is the founding premise of Indian democracy, and by extension, citizenship. Indians were voters before they were citizens, showing how the creation of electoral rolls recognising universal franchise in 1947–50 took place before the enactment of citizenship legislation in 1955 (5). The exercise of compiling the rolls for 173 million people, a massive majority of whom had never voted before and were largely illiterate, was unprecedented. She mines the extensive, previously unexplored archives of the Election Commission and the Constituent Assembly Secretariat and interviews key bureaucrats of the Indian Civil Service, offering an intimate view on the making of Indian democracy. Shani begins with the preliminary preparations made by the Constituent Assembly Secretariat, detailing how provincial governments fine-tuned the processes to survey at the level of the individual, rather than that of the household or the district. The first challenge that the Election Commission encountered, she notes, was that of registering partition refugees who were in a state of legal limbo (chapter 2). Subsequently, the electoral rolls provided a “democratic cartography” (130) for the making of Indian federalism (chapter 4), as some provinces were more affected than others by the partition, and for bringing former princely states under British indirect rule into the fold of an all-India citizenship regime.

At first glance, Shani's book might appear to be a triumphalist account of the initial years of Indian democracy, showcasing the almost heroic efforts of bureaucrats like B. N. Rau and K. V. Padmanabhan, among others who worked with the Constituent Assembly and the Election Commission. As she writes: “It has been truly impossible, as a reader of these records, not to be profoundly inspired by them” (9). But Shani's work also offers new trajectories for the study of Indian citizenship. Where Jayal's intellectual history traced the colonial genealogy of the “subject-citizen,” focusing on constitutional developments leading up to 1950, Shani's archivally informed work fills in a crucial chapter in this history: how the creation of the electoral rolls preceded deliberations on citizenship during constitutional negotiations. If Jayal's account relies on the gap between constitutional promise and sociopolitical realities, Shani's work shows how the “serialised epic” of preparing the electoral rolls—played out in press notes and information pamphlets—drew people into the project of becoming a voting public (chapter 3). Ordinary people wrote letters with proposals as to how the electoral rolls should be prepared. While a Mr. Vora from Bombay wrote to Rajendra Prasad, the chairman of the Constituent Assembly, to suggest allowing those imminently turning twenty-one to vote in the first general elections (108), a Mr. Jagan Nath from Ambala in East Punjab prepared his case for deleting the column on caste from the electoral roll so as to maintain the “purity of election” (111). If Jayal highlights the plight of people insufficiently documented or incompletely incorporated into the body politic, then Shani explores the role of India's emergent federal structure, noting how places considered marginal to the emergent Indian nation-state (in particular, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, the “Tribal Areas” of Assam, and Jammu and Kashmir) challenged the territorial limits of inclusive citizenship in different ways (223; chapter 6).

The deep salience of territory to the making of Indian citizenship regimes is the centrepiece of Uditi Sen's Citizen Refugee: Forging the Indian Nation after Partition. It demonstrates how refugees from East Pakistan (present-day Bangladesh) were perceived not just as temporary and “illegal” but also as unwanted. Sen shows how both the Indian government and the general public were violently opposed to unchecked migration across the India–East Pakistan border, viewing these displaced peoples as a drain on state resources. This popular response was prompted by a deliberate mistranslation of bureaucratic logic: in order to make claims on the Indian state, those displaced from East Pakistan had to claim to be both “refugees” and putative “citizens.” This double imperative posed a conundrum for the Indian government, which had to incorporate these citizen-refugees simultaneously into projects of rehabilitation and governance (3). Sen includes not only the familiar sites of refugee resettlement in India—Calcutta in particular—but also the less familiar Andaman Islands, an archipelago in the Bay of Bengal that territorially belongs to India but is geographically proximate to Myanmar.Footnote 19 Sen harnesses an exciting “alternative archive” of oral history transcripts, memoirs, recollections, and little-known publications in Bengali alongside state archives to reconstruct the lives of her subjects.

Sen's fine-grained archival and ethnographic work unpacks some of the popular perceptions around histories of the Partition and continue to shape discourses on citizenship and refugeedom.Footnote 20 For example, it is commonly believed that Hindus who resided in Bangladesh had a path to citizenship in India, while Muslims did not. To parse the complexity of the Hindu East Bengali experience, Sen employs memoirs by “street-level bureaucrats”Footnote 21 (i.e., those involved in refugee rehabilitation schemes in Bengal) to distinguish it from the experience in the Punjab, which form the basis for these generalisations about divergent Hindu and Muslim experiences. Sen demonstrates how the caste background of refugees was central to the access and implementation of refugee rehabilitation policies. She studies both the Dalit and Namasudra peasants who were resettled through colonisation schemes in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands (chapter 3) as well as the bhadralok/middle-class refugees who occupied colonies in urban centres like Calcutta (chapter 4). In the case of the latter, she reveals how caste and kinship ties afforded refugee “squatters” access to state resources, where they have often been portrayed as revolutionaries who challenged the state. Sen also reframes the ways in which refugee women have been portrayed either as victims of rape or abduction or their bodies as sites on which to enact the project of nationalism.Footnote 22 The Indian government's rehabilitation schemes, instead of recognising women as heads of their households or as economic actors, acknowledged them only as dependents or liabilities. But these women are not wholly devoid of agency in Sen's narrative. Many chose to enter and to campaign within “permanent liability” camps set up by the government to involve these “unattached” women in schemes of social development (chapter 5).

In this way, Sen skilfully brings displacement and development, often two parallel discourses about decolonisation in South Asia, into the same narrative. The figure of the citizen-refugee receives a complex and nuanced treatment, particularly in the discussion of the rehabilitation schemes on the Andamans archipelago, where they were employed as agricultural colonisers who would restore the communal balance between Hindus and Muslims on the island (94–107; chapter 3), Sen's account of the development and governance schemes in which they participated shows how easily the institutional framework of postcolonial “development” was deployed for refugee rehabilitation. For example, the Grow More Food campaign, which began during World War II, becomes the impetus for the (re)colonisation of the Andaman Islands and its transformation from a penal colony to a settler colony that would contribute to agricultural self-sufficiency in India (89–90). However, as Sen notes, the Andamans were never described as being part of the Grow More Food campaign, but nonetheless, they provided a means for resettling Hindu East Bengali refugees in the name of development (91). Sen also refers to the Dandakaranya Development Authority, which oversaw the construction of two large irrigation projects, roads and railways, and iron and woodworking projects across multiple states in present-day central India (94). The Dandakaranya project and the Marichjhapi massacre that followed in 1978 has previously been the subject of scholarly discussion around refugee resettlement but this has tended, with exceptions, to focus on the electoral politics of this period, highlighting the caste and class dimensions of this dark chapter of Bengal's postcolonial history.Footnote 23 Sen astutely notes how the language of development, particularly “postcolonial dreams of rapid development of ‘backward’ areas” (109) was used to erase the stigma around refugee resettlement, provoking questions about the institutional and administrative frameworks of the early years of development and centralised planning in India, became commensurable with refugee rehabilitation as a “field of governance” (108). Sen's examples show why the language of “development” is premised not only on one kind of displacement, but many: colonisation schemes in the Andamans and Tripura alienated and displaced indigenous communities, who were labelled in the same instance as “backward” (109). The long-term consequences of deploying colonialist descriptions continue to inflect the discourse of citizenship and identity in India, as Godsmark's book— discussed below— shows.

Oliver Godsmark's Citizenship, Community, and Democracy in India: From Bombay to Maharashtra, c. 1930–1960 argues that linguistic reorganisation, which created the present-day states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Gujarat, was as critical as independence and the Partition for understanding decolonisation in South Asia. Among works that have tackled the different facets of minoritisation in India during decolonisation, Taylor Sherman's is important, and Godsmark draws on Sherman's examination of how and why Urdu was designated as a “minority” language in India. Following Sherman, Godsmark understands belonging as the affective ties that bind people to territory, and citizenship as “the performance of a sense of belonging” (22).Footnote 24 Sherman describes claims to citizenship from Muslims who remained in India after Partition in relation to education, employment, and linguistic rights. Rather than study the provinces of the Punjab and Bengal, as much of the literature on the Partition does, she focuses on Hyderabad, a large “princely state” in southern India, a Hindu-majority state with a Muslim ruler, the Nizam.Footnote 25 For Muslims in Hyderabad, citizenship claims were not only shaped by Hindu-Muslim “communal” conflict, but also by the demands for linguistic reorganisation in southern India in 1956, when the territory of Hyderabad was partitioned, with parts going to the present-day states of Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Telangana. As a result, present-day Maharashtrians speak Marathi, Gujarati, and Kannada, among other languages. Godsmark builds on Sherman's framework, but rather than focus on the borderland districts between Maharashtra and former Hyderabad, he instead turns to one of the epicentres of the linguistic reorganisation movement in postcolonial India.

The central argument in this book does not focus on the event/process of Partition. Instead, Godsmark draws parallels between linguistic claims in Maharashtra and Muslim demands for Pakistan. Focusing on the Samyukta Maharashtra Movement in Bombay, which demanded the creation of a separate state for Marathi-speaking people, Godsmark follows demands for linguistic reorganisation from the interwar years through the partition of the short-lived Bombay state into Gujarat and Maharashtra, from the demand for separate electorates in the 1920s to the demand for separate provinces in the 1950s. Recalling Ayesha Jalal's argument that Mohammed Ali Jinnah's demand for Pakistan as a separate homeland for Muslims was only a bargaining chip for a federal solution within undivided India, rather than a territorial unit outside it, Godsmark argues that the demand for linguistic reorganisation, particularly in western India, can also be viewed as an attempt to strengthen Indian federalism (55). In other words, the demand for Pakistan was only one of many political imaginaries where identity-by-number was linked to territory. Proponents of the Samyukta Maharashtra strove to show that Marathi-speakers were a numerical majority in Bombay, just as Jinnah argued that the Punjab and Bengal were Muslim-majority provinces. Godsmark calls this the “territorialization of number.”

Godsmark explores how claims to social citizenship - education and employment - were marked not by the political equality found in the introduction of the vote, as Shani would argue, but—as we began to see with Sen's analysis—were deeply shaped by language and caste. Caste, especially, is central to these demands: the leading Dalit leader from Maharashtra and the Chairman of the Drafting Committee of the Indian Constitution, B. R. Ambedkar, made similar claims for a “Dalitsthan”.Footnote 26 But since Dalits were spread out across the country (as opposed to being in the majority in any one province), this claim was politically infeasible (72–5). The idea of linguistic provinces in the 1950s, by contrast, was not. Godsmark's argument relies extensively on similar evidence from politicians, officials, and scholars that lent credibility to constitutional reforms on linguistic reorganisation. To give another example, an oft-cited work for historians of southern India is that of D. R. Gadgil, the first director of the Gokhale Institute for Politics and Economics, who wrote The Federal Problem in 1947, arguing that language, not religion, divided the peoples of southern India (58–9). Gadgil later went on to represent the case for Samyukta Maharashtra before the Linguistic Provinces Commission in 1950 and the States Reorganisation Commission in 1954, two governmental bodies set up to tackle the administrative and institutional frameworks necessary to carry out the linguistic partitioning of the southern Indian states.

In demonstrating the complex institutional processes that enabled linguistic reconfiguration, and in which men like Gadgil participated, Godsmark places caste squarely in the realm of political reform, rather than that of social or religious reform.Footnote 27 Noting how the non-Brahmin movement in Maharashtra, which led the demand for a Samyukta Maharashtra, failed to build solidarities with Dalits, and erased earlier attempts by leaders like Jotirao and Savitri Bai Phule, Godsmark focuses instead on how institutional and bureaucratic responses to linguistic reorganisation made new kinds of claims to citizenship possible. He shows how this played out in the selection of electoral candidates for provincial elections conducted in 1937 (chapter 4), with the creation of affirmative action policies following the introduction of non-discrimination in the 1950 Constitution (chapter 5), and in the decennial census, where the collection of data on “mother tongue” acquired a new salience in the context of demands for linguistic reorganisation (chapter 6). The last chapter on the postcolonial decennial census is a particularly powerful articulation of Godsmark's core argument. Here, we can see the bureaucracy of the decennial census at work, particularly the role of enumerators and supervisors who collected data on language (141). Reference to the census also echoes Shani's argument about “old” technologies and “new” institutions: citizens-in-the-making could successfully deploy the logic of colonial enumeration to achieve new aims.

Alongside Godsmark's discussion on postcolonial developments in peninsular India, Sunil Purushotham's From Raj to Republic: Sovereignty, Violence, and Democracy in India offers a perspective on postcolonial sovereignty from the perspective of the army-led integration of Hyderabad into the Indian Union in 1948 (“Police Action”) and the revolutionary uprisings in Telangana between 1946 and 1952 led by the Andhra Mahasabha and the Communist Party of India, both events that commanded international attention. Through these examples, like Shani and Godsmark, Purushotham shows that decolonisation was marked by both integration and disintegration, inclusion and exclusion. In a particularly compelling chapter titled “The Camp and the Citizen”, that may be productively read alongside Sen's discussion on the Andamans resettlement of Dalit refugees, Purushotham notes that the Adivasi communities in northern Telangana who joined the guerrilla warfare that marked the Telangana counterinsurgency and demands over caste inequalities, landlessness, and debt were housed in camps by the Indian government, when the uprisings were quelled. These camps, he observes, became the place where the civilizing mission of the colonial state met the developmental imperatives of the new Indian nation-state for economically productive citizens. Unlike the refugee camps of the Partition that were liminal spaces for citizens-in-waiting of new nation-states, the camps for rehabilitating adivasis in Telangana contributed to the erasure of indigenous claims to land in building the regime of national citizenship (chapter 6).

Collectively, by drawing attention to the everyday minutiae of the political process of decolonisation, Sen, Shani, and Godsmark show how national citizenship is unevenly mapped and experienced, both as legal status and as administrative practice. Through their archivally informed inquiries of institutional and administrative frameworks, they show how the Indian nation-state was manifested, and introduce generative concepts: the creation of a “democratic cartography” in Shani's work, through deciding political fortunes in “territory-by-number” in Godsmark's work, and through the erasure of foundational displacement and the expulsion of the “citizen-refugee” from national territory in Sen's. Rather than tethered and bounded by political events, these concepts rethink decolonisation in terms of ordinary encounters framed as a reckoning with invented pasts and uncertain futures.

These invented pasts and uncertain futures loom large in any discussion of postcolonial sovereignty, inviting readers to reflect on continuity and change, not only in terms of ideas but also in terms of institutions. To discern traces of being “worked over” by colonialism, to use a felicitous turn of phrase employed by Gyan Prakash, Michael Laffan, and Nikhil Menon in their framing of the postcolonial “moment” in South and Southeast Asia, Shani, Sen, and Godsmark turn to their archival sources. Shani's admirably careful attention to archival detail invokes a discussion of colonial continuity and change: the preparation of electoral rolls on the basis of universal franchise, she notes, was distinct from colonial practices of enumeration (25). In its most forceful articulation, Shani notes that electoral rolls recognised people as “citizen-sovereigns, not people as population, subjects-targets of democratic governance” (26). But she shows too how there was evidence to the contrary – take for example, the rehabilitation measures for partition refugees, the complexities of identifying their legal residence and consequently, their right to vote as citizens, or in another instance, the exceptions to the universal franchise in the Frontier Tracts and Tribal Areas of Assam that were formulated, based on colonial notions of “backwardness” (63). So, while universal franchise was a “clean break” from colonial practices in India, where 85 percent of the population was not legally allowed to vote in elections because they were perceived as insufficiently prepared to exercise it, the preparation of electoral rolls and its institutional scaffolding, nonetheless, bore the imprints of imperial rule (25).Footnote 28

This unevenness is both temporal and spatial. Shani's reference to the impact of partition on the experience of citizenship in former princely states like Kashmir or Travancore or the region now labelled “The Northeast” of India is critical. For example, Cabieri Robinson shows how the legal category of “hereditary state subject” that marked the Kashmiri refugee off from the Partition refugee during decolonisation is an opportunity to look beyond Kashmir as a territorial contest in perpetuity between India and Pakistan, and to think through it in terms of citizenship and political belonging; of people's challenges to the rule of the Dogra Maharajas – the kings of the princely state of Kashmir - rather than the nation-states of India and Pakistan.Footnote 29 Similarly, by pointing to multiple layers of contested sovereignty, historians of borderlands also have brought up empire, indigeneity, and violence in the context of citizenship.Footnote 30 These histories of citizenship, relegated to the realm of “regional” histories outside the territorial boundaries of colonial India, invites us to think of India itself in imperial terms, since a theme that runs through the three books that interrogate the creation of a “national” territory through administrative practice.Footnote 31

In Sanjib Baruah's In the Name of the Nation: India and Its Northeast, he highlights the legacies of colonial administrative policies that marked the “Northeast” as a frontier, border, and exception during the nineteenth century. Along with Bengal and the Punjab, Assam was also affected by the Partition, as migrants from newly created Bangladesh moved to the Indian state. Baruah highlights, following David Ludden, the specific plight of Sylhet, a district that formerly belonged to the state of Assam and which is now located in Bangladesh, which has had its own version of a “long partition.”Footnote 32 For instance, in his work, Baruah discusses the use of the term “Miya Muslim” instead of “Muslims of Bengali descent” to describe the peasant population that migrated from East Bengal to Assam during the early part of the twentieth century and speaks Assamese, rather than Bengali, as its first language.Footnote 33 Proponents of the Axomiya movement in Assam assert that Miya Muslims are new migrants who adopt Assamese as their language, and thus dilute Assamese identity. Miya Muslims are questioned on their credentials as Indian citizens, most recently before foreigners’ tribunals in Assam set up to adjudicate claims from those excluded from Assam's National Register of Citizens.Footnote 34 In uncovering the complex history of ethno-nationalism in Assam, Baruah shows how the dominant understanding of divisive citizenship as rooted in religious identities and communal conflict is only a partial view, complicated by the recognition that mainland India harboured, and continues to harbour, its own imperial ambitions.

But as Godsmark shows, institutional reforms are also predicated on origin myths, often intertwined with territoriality, forged in the fires of nationalism but chiselled and perfected in the mundane business of administering a nation-state. Before delving into the intricacies of political reform, Godsmark describes how the proponents of the Samyukta Maharashtra Movement created their own version of a hoary “Maratha” past, drawing on particular ideals of caste (Kunbi) and gender (marathmola) (26–37).Footnote 35 It offers a complement to Faisal Devji's account of the creation of Pakistan, where he shows that Pakistan was an ideological construct which rested on ossified categories of “religion,” i.e., Islam.Footnote 36 Godsmark offers a complementary account from the perspective of the linguistic reorganisation movement in peninsular India; a similar account might be written about attempts to recover ancient Tamil identity in service of linguistic nationalisms that similarly serviced decolonisation's demand for authenticity and originality.Footnote 37 Godsmark's discussion of administrative and institutional reforms around linguistic reorganization prompt us to rethink questions of partitions and political imagination in terms of the everyday minutiae of the state. Invented pasts in an age of decolonisation are marked by the legacies of empire and rest on a politics of exclusion, even as new nation-states attempt to break free of them by imagining new democratic futures premised on equity and equality.

Such invented pasts and imagined futures also reshaped sociopolitical identities in the age of decolonisation. Historians have explored identity formation in South Asia, particularly how colonial governmentality—led by a desire for a “complete” knowledge of people, places, and things under colonial rule—resulted in collections, documentation, categorisation, and enumeration that oversimplified and excluded lived realities. Here, we might think, as Godsmark, Shani, and Sen do, of the colonial census or linguistic surveys, the printing and distribution of district gazetteers, or the elaborate topographical maps used to name colonial landscapes.Footnote 38 While acknowledging that “caste” or “religion” cannot be exclusively the product of colonial knowledge production, the questions about identities in political transition might be similarly repurposed in terms of the transition from imperial to democratic rule. Godsmark and Sen address how this process unfolded in Bombay and Bengal respectively, emphasizing the institutional and administrative processes that make and translate identities into claims for political citizenship.

Finally, people participated in the making of citizenship and the body politic in this political transition. As opposed to an elite class of national leaders, putative citizens were architects of their own fate. A history of citizenship “from below”, as in De's work, centres ordinary people, showing how constitutional remedies offered a new set of strategies for minoritized communities. For Shani, the making of electoral rolls was not merely a figment of colonised bureaucratic imaginations, but one in which ordinary people were interested and engaged. The contingent choices that marginalised East Bengali refugees made are a dominant theme in Sen's narrative. Despite this focus on the “ordinary”, these works are not triumphalist accounts of historical agency. Instead, the state and its institutional frameworks are ever present, not a distant abstract edifice, but a haunting presence in everyday encounters, shaping how people experienced, performed, and negotiated citizenship. But they go further, allowing the reader to conclude for themselves that procedural equality and technical expertise, which are the hubris of institutional frameworks, often do not result in equitable solutions. Historical agency is reintroduced within new regimes of welfare and governance.

As this essay indicates, the insights in this rich body of work by Shani, Sen, and Godsmark on institutional and administrative continuity and change to think about identity, territory, borders to histories of Indian citizenship in the age of decolonisation. Given their emphasis on territoriality and mapping citizenship, it also prompts us to rethink how citizenship and decolonisation is often mapped and oriented in the scholarship. Histories of Indian citizenship must untangle the complex institutional frameworks, economic imperatives, demographic pressures, and personal narratives that centre these seemingly mundane bureaucratic exercises.Footnote 39 This involves writing histories across regions now labelled ‘‘South Asia’’, ‘‘Southeast Asia’’, and ‘‘Africa’’. Thus far, citizenship in the age of decolonisation in Asia and Africa has by and large referenced Britain, for obvious reasons. Or it has been compared to the model of citizenship and political thought that decolonial thinkers Leopold Senghor or Aime Cesaire imagined during the (French) decolonisation in Africa and the Caribbean.Footnote 40 Following Sen, Shani, and Godsmark's work offers the opportunity to follow other itineraries beyond the accepted territorial borders of the nation-state, the research and writing necessarily transcend the Cold War divisions of area studies within which they are often framed: a ‘‘South Asian’’ history of citizenship that is not partitioned off from a ‘‘Southeast Asian’’ history of citizenship, for example.Footnote 41 (Dis)connected histories of citizenship in Asia and Africa could also go further, following the often-unexpected itineraries of places, people, ideas, and things in the age of decolonisation at multiple scalar geographies. Finally, these histories must necessarily also transcend the territorial boundaries of empires. Pamila Gupta's work on decolonisation from the perspective of Portuguese India and Jessica Namakkal's forthcoming work on decolonisation of French India provides exciting new models for multiple, intersecting, and overlapping temporalities and critiques of Indian citizenship in the age of decolonisation.Footnote 42 In following the lives of those who embarked on oceanic journeys from Indian shores, as Pereira did in 1950, questions of migration and return, displacement and exile might be rethought from the perspective of South Asia's many partitions.

And so we might briefly return to the archival vignette with which this essay began: why did Antonio Cecil Pereira change his mind about his political allegiance to India on the passport application form he submitted to the Government of Travancore-Cochin in 1950?

Pereira's place and date of birth on the application form offers an important archival lead. The form notes the year and place of his birth as 1929 in Malaya, just before the years of the global economic depression that profoundly affected the labour economies that connected southern India to plantations and mines in Malaya, and necessitated labour repatriation. After World War II ended, migrations between South and Southeast Asia opened up again, offering opportunities for social and economic mobility through employment in middle-class occupations.Footnote 43 In 1950, the year that he applied for a passport, Pereira would have been one of many thousands of clerks, teachers, and others who travelled to Malaya and Singapore from southern India.

Between 1945 and 1957, as elsewhere in the former British empire, a number of political reconfigurations and constitutional changes took place in Malaya. Malaya faced the challenge, as did British India at the time, of formulating a constitutional framework for a multiracial and multiethnic society. Under the terms of “common citizenship” for Malayan Union citizenship (1946–8), all those born and permanently resident in Malaya were to become citizens by operation of law, and “aliens” had to apply for citizenship through a registration process. This initial proposal was roundly rejected by Malay nationalists, led by the United Malays National Organisation. In 1948, the Federation of Malaya was formed within the British Commonwealth (Penang, Malacca, and the Federated Malay States) with special guarantees for Malay rights. Minority rights, including for those of Indian origin in Malaya, were limited.Footnote 44 Immediately following this new constitutional arrangement, Malaya plunged into widespread violence, tumult, and chaos, marked by clashes between the Malayan Communist Party and British military forces, a period referred to in imperial histories as the “Emergency.” K. P. Kesava Menon, the founder of the Malayalam newspaper, Mathrubhumi and Indian National Congress party member, and practising lawyer in Malaya before the Second World War who preceded Pereira on his voyage across the Bay of Bengal from Kerala, wrote that “peaceful” Malaya was on the brink of falling “prey” to communism and being impeded by a communal outlook.Footnote 45 The history of citizenship and decolonisation in Malaya and Singapore is often written from the perspective of these constitutional changes.

But what if, following insights by Shani, Sen, and Godsmark, the narrative began with Pereira's application for a passport? Although marked by murder, looting, and plunder, Malaya possibly held the promise of a “better” citizenship for men like Pereira. As we saw earlier, India's citizenship legislation was not settled by 1950. Between 1947 and 1950, Pereira and his parents would have witnessed a change in citizenship status from Travancorean citizens to putative Indian citizenship, after the integration of Travancore into the Indian Union, a development that Shani traces. While it is unclear where Pereira was born in British Malaya (Penang, Malacca, Singapore, or one of the Malay States), he possibly had access to Malayan citizenship. As a British subject born in Malaya or Singapore (constituted as a separate Crown colony in 1948), Pereira would have had access to the citizenship of the United Kingdom and colonies under the terms of the British Nationality Act, 1948. What awaited Pereira on the opposite shore of the Bay of Bengal was uncertainty; we know, for example, that the chief targets for militant communism were the British-owned plantations and mines, one of which was presumably Pereira's future employer in Malaya. All of these calculations could have been playing in the minds of Pereira and his extended family as they considered the question of political loyalty and citizenship. What happened in reality is unclear; the archival trail runs cold here.

Prompted by Sen, Godsmark and Purushotham's suggestions, we might attempt to sketch the details out a bit further. By August 1949, just before Pereira was to arrive in Malaya, Sardar Baudh Singh replaced the well-known former agent of the Government of India, John Thivy, as the head of the Malayan Indian Congress, the most prominent political association representing Indian interests in Malaya. Singh believed that the Congress ought to represent only those Indians who permanently resided in Malaya. More “recent arrivals,” he argued, would not have a political stake in Malaya.Footnote 46 Here, the comparisons and connection with discussions with territory, identity, and refugeedom in Sen's work, simultaneously indispensable for development but resented as migrants and outsiders are generative and worth comparing to. Singh's stance met with a hostile response from immigrant Indians employed on the plantations potentially those like Pereira's uncle, who constituted the bulk of the membership of the Malayan Indian Congress and who feared that it would fracture the unity of Indian interests. We might think, following Godsmark, of ways in which caste, class, language and religion were invoked in the political developments in India during decolonisation; these resonated far beyond its territorial borders in diasporic communities too. A rapidly changing political situation in Malaya—the place of his future employment—might explain why Pereira did not want to be perceived as having sworn loyalty to India. These are but some of the questions that this new scholarship on Indian citizenship prompts.


Beyond a scholarly stocktaking, any history of Indian citizenship in the age of decolonisation must reckon with the present. Over the year 2019 – ’20 as this essay was drafted, headlines in the media have been dominated by news of people-led protests against amendments to India's citizenship legislation. These amendments offer a fast-track to naturalised citizenship for those professing Hindu, Christian, Parsi, Buddhist, and Sikh faiths from India's neighbouring countries of Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh. Muslims, including communities like the Ahmadis from Pakistan or the Rohingya from Myanmar, against whom state discrimination is well documented, are conspicuous by their absence in this list. Buddhists from the Tibetan Autonomous Region and Sri Lankan Tamils who are Hindu are also missing from consideration. Scholars and commentators have pointed out that these absences are akin to a “second partition,” marking Muslims off from other religious groups in the subcontinent and affording them an inferior citizenship.Footnote 47 The protests also question proposals to introduce an India-wide National Register of Citizens, a National Population Register that asks for the date and place of one's parents birth, and a National Social Register, like the controversy-ridden biometric identification scheme, Aadhaar designed to streamline access to the Indian government's welfare schemes. Taken together, these legislative and administrative exercises significantly alter the scaffolding of Indian citizenship, where one's ancestry and origin story might always be questioned by the state, one's patterns of mobility and migration is rendered suspect, and where one's social, political and legal identity is always inadequately documented.

As these developments show, the deeply polarised political debates over citizenship in contemporary India are perhaps not as discontinuous with the past as one might think; Shani, Sen, and Godsmark provide a much-needed historical perspective on these contemporary questions. Showing how decolonisation is an ongoing process in South Asia, the protests reflect an outpouring of long-simmering resentments over the meaning of democracy, the limitations of discourses on development, and the erasure of migration and displacement from popular debates over legal citizenship. Reading these histories of citizenship in the present also suggests that beyond supplying the analytical and philosophical category of “citizenship” with content and context, these books also productively sketch out the multiple relations between territory, boundary, citizen and state, relationships that are constantly evolving, entangled, reprising and reimagining the legacies of imperialism. These histories demand, as Shani, Sen, Godsmark and the communities of scholars referenced in this essay powerfully show, a tremendous patience with the procedural aspects of administering states, to imagine and narrate the seemingly mundane business of building institutions, to be keenly aware of uneven legal geographies and practices of exclusion, and their profound implications for ordinary peoples’ lives. This meticulous intellectual labour ensures that Pereira's passport application and documented journey across the Bay of Bengal will be viewed not only as an archival fragment, but as an opportunity to explore the meaning and experience of citizenship in an age of decolonisation.



Kalyani Ramnath is a Prize Fellow in Economics, History, and Politics at the Center for History and Economics, Harvard University. She holds a PhD in history from Princeton University, and law degrees from the National Law School of India University and the Yale Law School.

1 File No. 14936/50, dated 19 September 1950, Confidential Section Department, Political Section, Government Secretariat Office, Travancore-Cochin Government (Kerala State Archives, Thiruvananthapuram).

2 On political imaginations and decolonisation in South Asia, see Reference GoswamiGoswami, “Imaginary Futures and Colonial Internationalisms”; Reference DatlaDatla, “Sovereignty and the End of Empire”; Reference LeakeLeake, The Defiant Border; Reference Mantena and MantenaMantena and Mantena, “Introduction: Political Imaginaries at the End of Empire”; and Reference Chatterji, Thomas and ThompsonChatterji, “Decolonization in South Asia.”

3 Reference RoyRoy, Mapping Citizenship in India; and Reference JayalJayal, Citizenship and Its Discontents.

4 Reference JayalJayal, Citizenship and Its Discontents, 2.

5 Tejani, Indian Secularism; Reference RaoRao, The Caste Question; Reference SundarSundar, “The rule of law and citizenship in central India”; Reference NewbiginNewbigin, The Hindu Family and the Emergence of Modern India.

6 Reference DeDe, A people's constitution. See also Reference DeDe, “Rebellion, dacoity, and equality: the emergence of the constitutional field in postcolonial India.”

7 Reference DeDe, “The Indian Constitution: Moments, epics and everyday lives.”

8 Reference KannabiranKannabiran, “Constitution-As-Commons”. See also Reference KapurKapur, “Evacuee or Citizen?”; Reference ShahaniShahani, “Sindh is not a piece of territory.”

9 See overviews in Reference ChatterjiChatterji, “South Asian Histories of Citizenship”; and idem, “Partition Studies.” See also Reference Sherman, Gould and AnsariSherman, Gould, and Ansari, From Subjects to Citizens; Reference Ansari and GouldAnsari and Gould, Boundaries of Belonging; Reference ZamindarZamindar, The Long Partition; Kaur, Since 1947; and Reference RoyRoy, Gendered Citizenship.

10 Zamindar, The Long Partition; Reference RoyRoy, Partitioned Lives.

11 Reference SenSen, Citizen Refugee, 7; see also Reference DattaDatta, Refugees and Borders; and Reference ConsCons, Sensitive Space.

12 Reference BashfordBashford, “Immigration Restriction”; Reference MongiaMongia, Indian Migration and Empire; Mawani, Across Oceans of Law. See also Reference SinhaSinha, “Premonitions of the Past.”

13 Reference AiyarAiyar, “Anticolonial Homelands across the Indian Ocean”; Reference AiyarAiyar, Indians in Kenya.

14 Reference SuttonSutton, “Imagined Sovereignty and the Indian Subject.”

15 Reference AmrithAmrith, “Struggles for Citizenship around the Bay of Bengal.”

16 See Reference KanapathipillaiKanapathipillai, Citizenship and Statelessness.

17 Recognition as Indian citizens of persons of Indian origin to whom the High Commission of India in Ceylon issued Indian travel documents—Registration of persons as Indian Citizens—Question whether the Mission can register persons of Indian origin under article 8 of the Constitution instead of section 5(1)(b) of the Citizenship Act, 1955. File No. 20/93/58-IC, National Archives of India.

18 Reference PeeblesPeebles, The Plantation Tamils; and Wenzlhuemer, From Coffee to Tea Cultivation.

19 See Reference Gould and LeggGould and Legg, “Spaces before Partition.”

20 See also Reference SenSen, “The Myths Refugees Live By.”

21 Reference LipskyLipsky, Street-Level Bureaucracy.

22 See, e.g., Reference Menon and BhasinMenon and Bhasin, Borders & Boundaries; Reference ButaliaButalia, The Other Side of Silence; and Reference DasDas, Life and Words.

23 Reference MallickMallick, “Refugee Resettlement”; Reference ChatterjiChatterji, The Spoils of Partition; Reference SenguptaSengupta, “From Dandakaranya to Marichjhapi”; but see also Reference KudaisyaKudaisya “Divided Landscapes, Fragmented Identities”; and Reference JalaisJalais “Dwelling on Morichjhanpi.”

24 Reference ShermanSherman, Muslim Belonging in Secular India.

25 See also Reference DatlaDatla, “Sovereignty and the End of Empire”; Reference PurushothamPurushotham, “Federating the Raj.”

26 See also Reference Cháirez-GarzaCháirez-Garza, “B. R. Ambedkar.”

27 See e.g. Viswanath, The Pariah Problem.

28 See also Reference Gilmartin, Chakrabarty, Majumdar and SartoriGilmartin, “Election Law and the ‘People’.”

29 Reference RobinsonRobinson, “Too Much Nationality”; idem, Chapter 1, Body of Victim, Body of Warrior; Zutshi, Languages of Belonging. idem, “Rethinking Kashmir's History.”

30 Reference BaruahBaruah, In the Name of the Nation. See also Reference Guyot-RéchardGuyot-Réchard, Shadow States; Reference Leake and HainesLeake and Haines, “Lines of (In)Convenience”; Reference WalkerWalker, “Decolonisation in the 1960s.”

31 See Reference KaulKaul “Indian Empire.” See also Reference ChawlaChawla et al., “Who is a Citizen in Contemporary India?”

32 Reference LuddenLudden, “The First Boundary”; and idem, “The Politics of Independence.”

34 Reference BhatBhat, “Twilight Citizenship.”

35 See also Reference DeshpandeDeshpande, “Caste as Maratha.”

36 Reference DevjiDevji, Muslim Zion.

37 Reference RamaswamyRamaswamy, Passions of the Tongue; Reference Raman and LaffanRaman, “Calling the Other Shore.”

38 Cohn, Colonialism and Its Forms of Knowledge.

39 Reference RamnathRamnath, “Boats in a Storm.”; idem, “Intertwined Itineraries.”

40 Reference CooperCooper, Citizenship between Empire and Nation; Reference HunterHunter, Political Thought and the Public Sphere in Tanzania; Reference GetachewGetachew, Worldmaking after Empire; See also Reference HunterHunter, Citizenship, Belonging, and Political Community in Africa.

42 Reference GuptaGupta, Portuguese Decolonization; Reference NamakkalNamakkal “Transgressing the Boundaries”; idem, “The Terror of Decolonization”; and Ramnath, “Intertwined Itineraries.”

43 Reference AmrithAmrith, “Indians Overseas?”

44 Reference CarnellCarnell, “Malayan Citizenship Legislation.”

45 Reference MenonMenon, “Politics and Parties in Malaya.”

46 Reference AmpalavanarAmpalavanar, The Indian Minority and Political Change in Malaya.

47 Reference JayalJayal, “Reconfiguring Citizenship in Contemporary India.”


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