SOAS Research Online

A Free Database of the Latest Research by SOAS Academics and PhD Students

[skip to content]

Thakur, Vineet and Davis, Alexander E. (2017) 'A Communal Affair over International Affairs: The arrival of IR in Late Colonial India.' South Asia: Journal of South Asia Studies, 40 (4). pp. 689-705.

Text - Accepted Version
Download (755kB) | Preview


This paper makes an archival journey into the making of institutes of international affairs in late colonial India. By exploring the intertwined lives of two such institutions, it unearths an ideational fight over the study of international affairs in India between the Indian Institute of International Affairs (IIIA), established in 1936, and the Indian Council for World Affairs (ICWA), established in the 1940s. From the outset, the IIIA was strongly pro-government and saw the ICWA as an institutional rival and a propaganda front for the Indian National Congress (INC). Closer to independence, the two institutes were increasingly divided on communal and nationalist political lines. The IIIA’s leadership became dominated by Muslims and the Muslim League and the ICWA by Brahmin Hindus and the INC. In this context, a battle for legitimacy and recognition ensued over participation in international conferences and the ability to publish meaningful research. The ICWA successfully organized the Asian Relations Conference in March 1947, which sealed the fate of the IIIA, which moved to Pakistan with Partition and quietly closed down, after coexisting briefly with the Pakistan Institute for International Affairs (PIIA).

Item Type: Journal Article
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of Politics & International Studies
Legacy Departments > Faculty of Law and Social Sciences > Department of Politics and International Studies
ISSN: 14790270
Copyright Statement: © 2017 South Asian Studies Association of Australia. This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in South Asia: Journal of South Asia Studies on 31 Jul 2017, available online:
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 09 Jun 2017 08:42

Altmetric Data


Download activity - last 12 monthsShow export options
Downloads since deposit
6 month trend
6 month trend
Accesses by country - last 12 monthsShow export options
Accesses by referrer - last 12 monthsShow export options

Repository staff only

Edit Item Edit Item