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Title: Sovereign skies : aviation and the Indian state, 1939-53
Author: Iqbal, Aashique Ahmed
ISNI:       0000 0004 6495 5367
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis traces the Indian state's engagement with aviation during the period of its transformation from British colony to Indian republic. It argues that the aeroplane played a critical role in securing and legitimating the Indian state during the first years of its independence. Further, the use of aircraftis revealing of the ways in which the new state conceptualised and projected its sovereignty. The thesis is divided into five chapters organised in broadly chronological order each of which is centred on one of five major themes; expansion, partition, escalation, integration and nationalisation. The first of these studies the complex consequences of the expansion of Indian aviation during the Second World War which transformed India's anaemic aviation sector into one of Asia's leading aviation powerhouses portending the passing of colonial rule. Chapter two traces the effects of partition in 1947 on aviation as well as the critical role played by aircraft in refugee evacuation and the restoration of order. The third chapter investigates the ways in which civil and military aviation helped initiate, sustain and then escalate war between India and Pakistan over Kashmir later that year. The fourth chapter highlights the ways in which India's semi-autonomous princely states invested in aviation in the hopes of legitimising their states through an appeal to modernity with differing results in the decade before their integration into independent India. The fifth and final chapter focuses on the emergence of the Republic of India in 1950, a fully sovereign state with a coherent national ideology capable of exerting its will on recalcitrant neighbours and confident enough in its socialist vision to nationalise its airline companies. Indian aviation this thesis will conclude was critical in shaping the outcomes of decolonisation and was in turn moulded in important ways by the Indian state.
Supervisor: Khan, Yasmin ; Johnson, Robert Sponsor: Felix Scholarship ; Royal Historical Society
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Indian aviation ; Indian Air Force ; Technology ; Indian Air Force ; Decolonisation ; Sovereignty ; India