In the twenty-first century, India and the United States are two closely connected states. Some of this is economic, and with it comes a concern that jobs in the United States are being outsourced to India. The two countries also face concerns over terrorism, engage in cultural dialogue with each other, and lay claim to being two of the largest and most powerful democracies in the world.
However, while many people might be aware of that status for the contemporary world, they are less aware of the long history between the two countries. Dr. Nico Slate
’s Lord Cornwallis is Dead: The Struggle for Democracy in the United States and India
(Harvard University Press, 2019) draws attention to this long and storied history. Drawing from early mercantile ties, the spiritual and philosophical inspirations that thinkers have drawn from in both countries, cultural connections, criticism of race and caste, and the political engagement that exists between both countries, Slate paints a picture of the two countries as learning perpetually from each other. This can even be elucidated through a close study of language, and in one fascinating chapter Slate traces the complicated history, appropriation, and counter-appropriation of the word “thug.” Ultimately, it all connects to the different struggles for democracy in both countries, and Slate suggests that reformers in both countries have much to learn from their earlier U.S. and Indian counterparts.
Zeb Larson is a PhD Candidate in History at The Ohio State University. His research is about the anti-apartheid movement in the United States. To suggest a recent title or to contact him, please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.