Essays On Sumit Programs

Essays in Frontier History: India, China and the Disputed Border . By Parshotam Mehra . ( New Delhi, India : Oxford University Press , 2007 . Pp. xi, 206 . $49.95 .)

In 1962 India and the People's Republic of China (PRC) fought a bitter, brutal, and costly war along their Himalayan frontier. The war led to a fundamental transformation of India's defense policies, contributed to a major program of military modernization, and shattered long-held Indian hopes of amity with its behemoth northern neighbor. Since the late 1970s, India has made fitful attempts to improve relations with the PRC, and has made some progress. However, the core dispute related to the delineation of the Himalayan border still remains unresolved. Many rounds of high-level negotiations and bilateral discussions have only contributed to glacial progress.

The reasons for the lack of progress on this vexed border question are straightforward. India refuses to concede the territory that the PRC still claims in India's northeast. The PRC, for its part, is in no particular hurry to settle the dispute because it successfully managed during the 1962 war to seize some strategic territory that it had claimed in India's northwest. Control over this sliver of territory enabled it to link Tibet with Xinjiang province.

Scholarship on this dispute has been significantly stunted because of an acute paucity of access to the relevant archives. Both Indian and PRC archives remain closed, so scholars have been forced to peruse the occasional diplomatic or military memoir, scan newspaper reports, and make judgments on the basis of inference and attribution. Consequently, a great deal remains unknown about the postcolonial origins of the dispute, the bilateral discussions prior to the war, and the precise decisions on both sides (especially within the PRC) that led to the war. Worse still, the work of some analysts, most notably Neville Maxwell, on the origins of the war were quite partisan. Indeed, it was not until the publication of Steven Hoffman's India and the China Crisis that a dispassionate account of the border conflict became available. John Garner, another American political scientist, has chronicled the subsequent evolution of the border dispute and placed it within the overall context of Sino–Indian relations.

Parshotam Mehra, an Indian diplomatic historian of some repute, toiled hard in his earlier contributions to make some preliminary judgments about the origins of the border dispute through his work in the British colonial archives. This book, however, does not represent his best scholarship. Instead, it is a curious amalgam of past writings and bibliographic annotations on recent scholarship on Sino-Indian relations cobbled together with a brief autobiographical introduction. Although there is some thematic coherence to the selection of his past writings and recent jottings, there is little or nothing that is new in this volume. Consequently, it does not add in any meaningful fashion to the existing corpus of scholarship on this important dispute between Asia's two emergent giants.

38660 • Spring 2016
Meets M 3:00PM-6:00PM GAR 0.132
(also listed as ANS 361)

India: The struggle to build an Asian democracy, 1947-2008

HIS 350 L (38660); ANS 361 (30820). Meets Mondays 3-6 PM, GAR 0.132

Instructor: Sumit Guha

Office: GAR 2.140 Email:

Office hours: Wed. 2-4 PM & by appointment


The republic of India was the largest of the many Asian and African states that emerged from the retreat of Western empires after 1945. It emerged in unpropitious circumstances of bloodshed and acute poverty, but has uniquely avoided both civil war and dictatorship through the decades that followed. Students in this course will explore the dangers that beset the fledgling democracy and the many efforts needed to sustain and widen it.

            This course carries a Writing Flag. Such classes meet the Core Communications objectives of Critical Thinking, Communication, Teamwork, and Personal Responsibility as established by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Writing Flag courses are designed to improve student expertise with writing in an academic discipline, in this case, History.  This course teaches students two distinct and graduated forms of analytic writing. One is the art of reviewing: it begins with learning to summarize (present the main points of another text concisely) and is completed by learning the skill of evaluating texts in comparison with other texts.


Ramachandra Guha India after Gandhi: The History of the World’s Largest Democracy. New York: Harper Collins, 2008. Paperback edition. ISBN: 9780060958589. Required

Mukulika Banerjee Why India Votes? London: Routledge 2014. ISBN 978-1-138-01971-3 Required

Other readings will be available free on Canvas, or online via the UT Library system.


Attendance and participation 33%

Précis of early reading 10%.

Book Review draft and final version 22%

Final essay draft and final 35%

Points will be converted to letter grades as follows:


86-100=       A

70-85=         B

55-69=          C

40-54=         D

Below 40=   F

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