A Forgotten History of how the Study of International Affairs came to India

Free Public Lecture

A Forgotten History of how the Study of International Affairs came to India

This talk will explore a lost narrative of how the study of international affairs came to late colonial India. By exploring the intertwined lives of two institutions, it unearths colonial India’s ideational fight over the study of international affairs.

The first Chatham House affiliated institute of international relations in India was the Indian Institute of International Affairs (IIIA), established in 1936. Headed by Zafrulla Khan, the IIIA comprised Indian liberals and civil servants. In the early 1940s a rival emerged – the Indian Council for World Affairs (ICWA). The IIIA saw the ICWA as an institutional rival and a propaganda front for the Indian National Congress. The two institutes were divided on communal lines. The IIIA became dominated by Muslims and the ICWA by Brahmin Hindus. A battle for legitimacy and recognition ensued over participation in international conferences and the production of research. The ICWA successfully organized the Asian Relations Conference in March 1947. This sealed the fate of the IIIA, which moved to Pakistan with Partition and subsequently closed down unceremoniously.

Dr Alexander Davis is a New Generation Network Scholar with La Trobe University and the Australia-India Institute.

PresentersDr Alex Davis

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