Home » Research & Talks

Research & Talks

Research interests: History of technology, twentieth-century history of South Asia, history of engineering, engineering history, history of industrial enterprises in India, Indian business history


Research Publications / Conference Papers

  • The Birth of an Indian Profession: Engineers, Industry, and the State, 1900-47 (Delhi: Oxford University Press, forthcoming [2017]).
  • ‘“Indigenous Knowledge” and “Science” in the Age of Globalization’, IIM Kozhikode Society & Management Review, Vol. 3, No. 1 (January 2014), pp. 101-107.
  • ‘International networks and aircraft manufacture in late-colonial India: Hindustan Aircraft Limited, 1940-47’, IIM Kozhikode working paper no. IIMK/WPS/205/HLA/2016/17, July 2016.
  • ‘From post-war reconstruction to nation-building: The evolution of technical education policy in India, 1938-56’, presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for the History of Technology (SHOT), Singapore (2016).
  • ‘International networks and aircraft manufacture in late-colonial India: Hindustan Aircraft Limited, 1940-47’, presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for the History of Technology (SHOT), Albuquerque (2015).
  • ‘Extra-Imperial Influences in Indian Industrialisation: The technical experts of the Tata steel works, c. 1900-40’, paper presented at the World Business History Conference, Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany (2014).
  • ‘Prospects for Business History Education in India’, presented at conference titled ‘Business History in Africa, Asia and Latin America: Integrating Course Development and New Research’, held at Harvard Business School (2014).
  • ‘Professional institutions and the engineering profession in India, nineteenth century to c. 1930’, British Society for the History of Science (BSHS) postgraduate student conference, Manchester, UK (2009).


Research Project (on-going)

Member, international project under the French National Research Agency (ANR) titled ‘ENGIND: Engineers and Society in Colonial and Postcolonial India’, coordinated by Dr Vanessa Caru, Centre for the Study of India and South Asia (CEIAS/EHESS), Paris (2014-17).


Workshop Papers

  • ‘Industrial Experts in the Age of Indianisation: The European Engineering Firms of Calcutta, 1914-47’, presented at mid-term workshop of the ENGIND project (see above), Centre for Social Sciences and Humanities, New Delhi (2016).
  • ‘Steel, Planes and Engineers: Indian Industry’s American Connection, c. 1920-50’, presented at workshop on ‘Texts, Instruments, Experts: Practices of knowledge-production in colonial South Asia’, Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, New Delhi (2014).
  • ‘A New Institution for Engineers: Change and Continuity in the Profession in India, c. 1900-1935’, paper discussed at the 4th European South Asia PhD Workshop held at Heidelberg University  (2010).


Invited Research Talks

  • ‘Race, Culture and the Ideal Engineer: The Public Works Department in India at the End of Empire’, presented at North Carolina State University (2015).
  • ‘“British Integrity, Resource and Impartiality”: Indianisation and the Culture of Public Works Engineering, 1900-40’, presented at seminar on ‘Aspects of Science, Technology & Medicine in Colonial and Post-Colonial India’, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology Madras (2015).
  • ‘International networks and the birth of aircraft manufacture in India: Hindustan Aircraft Limited, c. 1940-55’, presented in the research seminar series, IIM Bangalore (2016).
  • ‘Professional institutions and the emergence of an Indian identity among engineers, c. 1900-47’, presented in the research seminar series at IIM Calcutta (2014).
  • ‘Provincialisation, Indianisation, and the Ideal Public Works Engineer, 1900-40’, presented at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Mohali (2012).


Talks given to non-specialist audiences

  • ‘Engineers, Technology and Industry in India: Perspectives from History’, delivered at ‘R&D Day’ of Shell Technology Centre, Bangalore (2014).
  • ‘The Engineering Profession in India: A historical perspective’, delivered as part of the ‘Power Hour’ series at Ingersoll-Rand Engineering and Technology Centre, Bangalore (2013).
  • Lunchtime Lecture on ‘“Bijli Sahib”: J.W. Meares and Electrical Engineering in India, 1896-1923’ at the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), London (2010).
  • Speech on ‘History and the engineer in modern Indian culture’, delivered as part of a panel discussion during the Asian Cultural Week, Goodenough College, London (2009).


PhD thesis (Imperial College London, 2012)

  • ‘Engineers in India: Industrialisation, Indianisation and the State, 1900-47’
  • Supervisors: Prof. David Edgerton and Dr Abigail Woods
  • The thesis examines how developments in the engineering profession in India from 1900 to 1947 were interlinked with two important transformations in Indian society: the growth of private industry (industrialisation) and the increasing proportion of ‘native’ Indians in government services and private firms (Indianisation). It focuses on engineers in three key sectors: public works, railways and private industry.