Confronting the Body: The Politics of Physicality in Colonial and Post-Colonial India

James Mills, Satadru Sen

Research output: Book/ReportBook


The human body in modern South Asia has been continually manipulated into political enterprise. The body was central to the project of British colonialism, as it was in the Indian response to colonial rule. By constructing British bodies as normative and disciplined, and Indian bodies as deviant and undisciplined, the British could fashion an ideology of their own fitness for political power and defense of colonialism itself. The politics of physicality then manifested in reverse in many ways, not least through Ghandi's use of his body as public experiment in discipline, as well as a living rejection of British rule and norms of physicality.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2004


  • colonialism
  • south asia
  • politics of physicality
  • human body

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