Beyond Colonial Intermediary: A New History of the Princely State of Hyderabad’s Relations with Japan

Conference: AAS-in-Asia2020 (AAS-in-Asia2020)
Title: Beyond Colonial Intermediary: A New History of the Princely State of Hyderabad’s Relations with Japan
Stream: History
Presentation Type: Panel Presentation
Yuki Meno, Kokushikan University, Japan (organizer, presenter)
Tariq Sheikh, English and Foreign Languages University, India (presenter)
George Pullattu Abraham, Jawaharlal Nehru University, India (chair)
Kensaku Mamiya, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, Japan (discussant)


The history of the interaction between India and Japan in the modern era has almost always been looked at through the lens of British colonialism. Historians have looked at Indian freedom fighters who considered Japan an ally in the struggle against British colonialism, and have studied Indian intellectuals who looked up to Japan as a model Asian country that achieved development without ever being colonised.

However, the interactions between the princely states of India and Japan have largely been overlooked. The largest princely state of India, Hyderabad, although under British suzerainty, was a Hindu majority state ruled by a Muslim ruler which claimed independence during the partition of India in 1947. The rulers of the princely state envisioned a future which would be separate from those of India and Pakistan. In this context, it is interesting to note that officials of the Hyderabad state had close relations with Japanese intellectuals, and that the Hyderabad state took immense interest in following the example of Japan, especially in education policy. On the other hand, the Nizam rulers of Hyderabad visited Japan and took personal interest in collecting Japanese artefacts, most of which are now exhibited in the Salar Jung Museum of Hyderabad. This panel, consisting of Indian scholars of Japanese Studies and Japanese Scholars of South Asian Studies, will look into these hitherto unexplored interactions, using approaches varying from intellectual history to maritime history, and explore a new history of India-Japan relations that goes beyond the established paradigm of colonial intermediary.