The Newsletter 61 Autumn 2012

Science and technology

Lewis Pyenson

Reviewed publication:
Sinha, Jagdish N. 2008. Science, War and Imperialism: India in the Second World War, Leiden: Brill, 278 pages, ISBN 9789004166455 (paperback)

In Science, War and Imperialism, Jagdish N. Sinha recalls that British rule focused overwhelmingly on India as a colonial possession useful for Britain. Government institutions of higher learning in India were largely practical in nature โ€“ concerned with stimulating agriculture, curing disease, or extracting natural resources. The colonial regime deliberately avoided introducing the modernist ethos, according to which practical results would stem from the prosecution of pure science. Over the first part of the century, Indians advocated for modernity โ€“ science education and industrialization โ€“ in the face of substantial anti-modernist sentiment by revolutionaries like Mohandas Gandhi. The Second World War tipped the balance in favor of science as, indeed, the war accelerated independence.

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