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Race as Government

This topics takes into consideration of how the colonial regime in India used race – for purposes of social categorization and discrimination but also as a tool of recruitment, particularly for the ‘martial races, or for criminialization, as with the so-called ‘criminal tribes’. How central, then, was race to the way in which the British organized and ran India and why did race (as well as religion, caste and community) become so important to them?

For the martial races ideology (and its practice), see Metcalf, Ideologies [61], Omissi, Sepoy and the Raj [66], and Streets’ Martial Races [18] see, too, the articles by Kausik [52] and Peers [69, 70] for the Indian Army There is some useful discussion of colonial ideas and practices in the work of Cohn [5]. The use of caste categories and the rise of the ‘criminal tribes’ is discussed in the article by Nigam from 1990 [65] and by Dirks in his Castes of Mind [38]. From an anthropological perspective, see too Christopher Pinney, ‘Colonial anthropology in “the laboratory of mankind”, in Bayly, The Raj, pp. 252-63 [26], and Susan Bayly, ‘Caste and race in the colonial ethnography of India’, in the Robb, Concept of Race volume [73], also Guha [44].