Associate Professor (2006 )
Office Hours: Tuesdays, 4 to 6 pm
Office: 234 Nau Hall
Phone: (434) 924-6417
Email: nn2v (at) virginia.edu
Fields & SpecialtiesModern South Asia
B.A. – St. Stephen’s College, Delhi University, 1998
M.A. – Tufts University, 2000
Ph.D. – Tufts University, 2005
Changing Homelands: Hindu Politics and the Partition of India, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press and Delhi: Permanent Black, 2011.
* Reviewed in The American Historical Review, Asian Affairs, The Book Review, Canadian Journal of History, Contemporary South Asia, The Hindu, India International Centre Quarterly, The Daily Star, Journal of Genocide Research, Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient, Social History, South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies, South Asian Review, Refugee Watch Online.
'Delhi University's Undergraduate Programme: Notes from the Archives' in Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 48, No. 21, May 25, 2013.
'Beyond the "communal" 1920s: the problem of intention, legislative pragmatism, and the making of section 295A of the Indian Penal Code' in The Indian Economic and Social History Review, Vol. 50, No. 3, September 2013.
‘“Partition” and “minority rights” in Punjabi Hindu Debates, 1920-1947’ in Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 46, No. 52, December 24, 2011, pp. 61-69.
‘Hindu Mahasabha’, ‘Pt Madan Mohan Malaviya’, ‘Rangila Rasul’, ‘Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’, ‘Sanatan Dharm’, ‘Shuddhi’, ‘Swami Shraddhanand.’ Encyclopedia entries in Ayesha Jalal ed., Oxford Companion to Pakistani History, Karachi: Oxford University Press, 2012.
‘Bhagat Singh as “satyagrahi”: the limits to non-violence in late colonial India’ in Modern Asian Studies, 43, 3, May 2009, pp. 649-681.
‘“We Left our Keys with our Neighbors”: Memory and the Search for Meaning in post-Partitioned India’, Rosemarie Rogers Working Paper # 29, MIT, November 2004.
Review of Yasmin Saikia, Women, War, and the Making of Bangladesh: Remembering 1971 in The American Historical Review, 118, 1 (2013): 169-70.
Review of Parna Sengupta, Pedagogy for Religion: Missionary Education and the Fashioning of Hindus and Muslims in Bengal in Social History, 37, 3 (2012): 341-43.
Review of Ian Talbot and Gurharpal Singh, The Partition of India in Journal of Islamic Studies, 21, 3 (2010): 464-67.
Review of Tarun K. Saint, Witnessing Partition: Memory, History, Fiction in Seminar 610 (2010): 57-61.
Review of Stanley Wolpert, Shameful Flight: the last years of the British Empire in India in Journal of British Studies, 47, 2 (2008): 475-76.
Review of Reeta Grewal and Sheena Pall eds., Precolonial and Colonial Punjab: Society, Economy, Politics and Culture, Essays for Indu Banga in Journal of Asian Studies, 66, 2 (2007): 568-71.
Review of Geeti Sen ed., India: A National Culture? in Contemporary South Asia, 14, 1 (2005): 113-15.
Review of Tai Yong Tan and Gyanesh Kudaisya eds., The Aftermath of Partition in South Asia in Seminar 534 (2004): 74-76.
‘riyaaz, saadhana, taiyyari: life practices’, Seminar 632 (2012): 27-30.
‘Restraint vs. Denial: The Struggle between India and Pakistan’ Harvard International Review (web), 6 February 2009.
‘The Truth of Geography’, Outlook India (web), 4 December 2008.
My first book Changing Homelands: Hindu Politics and the Partition of India (Harvard and Permanent Black, 2011) traces the politics of Punjabi Hindus in the first half of the twentieth century. A religiously defined minority in undivided Punjab, these Hindus aligned themselves with Punjabi Muslims and Sikhs during various critical anti-colonial national movements. But almost simultaneously they inched eastward, towards the rest of Hindu-majority India, styling themselves 'communalists' and their politics 'communal'. I study their politics, mark their particular motivations, and account for the suddenness with which Partition and Partition violence struck - both in history and in memory. I also raise and answer the critical question: was Partition inevitable?
More recently, I have begun working on a history of higher education in independent India. I am particularly interested in how discussions of autonomy, secularism, minority rights and internationalization dovetailed with debates about the 'character' of India's universities.
For a full CV, see http://neetinair.wordpress.com