The Transnational Mission of an Indian War Correspondent: P. R. S. Mani in Southeast Asia, 1944-1946

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Modern Asian Studies, 2017, 51 (6), pp. 1936 - 1968
Issue Date:
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© Copyright Cambridge University Press 2018. This article, based on new archival materials, reconstructs the experiences and observations of an Indian war correspondent from 1944 to 1946 as he covered the advance of Indian soldiers of the British-led Indian Army from northeast India, through Burma to Malaya at the war's end, then to their eventual deployment with the South East Asian Command in Java after the Japanese surrender. As it transpired, Captain P. R. S. Mani worked as an enlisted public relations officer of the British-led Indian Army but also sustained his commitment as a patriotic Indian nationalist, who gathered intelligence on the Indian diaspora in Southeast Asia and on the impact of Subhas Chandra Bose's Indian National Army. Relatively little scholarship has focused on Asian war journalism. Mani's tension-ridden role as a self-styled 'Indian Army observer' provides an illuminating insight into the way in which Britain's lines of communication were appropriated and subverted during wartime and beyond, and into the way his own nationalism was reshaped by his unofficial transnational activities.
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