During World War II, several hundred Kazakhs from Xinjiang took refuge in Bhopal. Based on material culled from the National Archives of India, this presentation will explore what brought these Kazakhs all the way to Bhopal, nearly 2500 Kms away from their homeland. The plight of these refugees en route to India, and while they were resident in India for several years, will be described. The presentation will analyse how these Kazakhs survived and maintained their identity as a group, while navigating the complexities of war and turmoil in China, and an alien environment in India, while the governments of British-ruled India, the princely state of Bhopal, and Nationalist China all tussled over who would exercise control over them. It argues that the story of these Kazakh refugees is illustrative of the unprecedented diversity and flexibility in India-China interactions during the War.
About the Speaker
Madhavi Thampi is an Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Chinese Studies, New Delhi, and former editor of the journal China Report. She taught Chinese History at the Department of East Asian Studies of the University of Delhi for many years. Her major publications include Indians in China, 1800-1949 (2005) and China and the Making of Bombay (with Shalini Saksena, 2009). She also edited the volume India and China in the Colonial World (2005, 2010). She has coordinated a project to catalogue materials on modern China in the National Archives of India. Her main research interest lies in uncovering various aspects of the interactions between India and China in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
About the Chair
Patricia Uberoi is currently an Emeritus Fellow at the Institute of Chinese Studies (ICS), Delhi. She served as the Chairperson of the Institute of Chinese Studies from 2015-2021. A sociologist by training, Dr. Uberoi has taught Sociology at the University of Delhi and the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, and retired as Professor of Social Change and Development at the Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi. Her research interests centre on aspects of family, kinship, gender, popular culture and social policy in respect to both India and China.’.
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