This book largely builds on my PhD dissertation, “Red Turbans on the Bund: Sikh Migrants, Policemen, and Revolutionaries in Shanghai, 1885–1945”, which was written in the Department of History, National University of Singapore from 2011 to 2015. I owe great thanks to so many people for their support, advice, and encouragement as I worked on this project.

I have been very lucky throughout my study to obtain the help of the professional librarians, archivists and staff at the following: the Central Library at National University of Singapore, the Main Library at the University of Hong Kong, Shanghai Municipal Library, Shanghai Municipal Archives, the Library of Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, the British National Archives at Kew, the Indian National Archives, Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, and the South Asian American Digital Archive.

I have benefited tremendously from the generous financial support from nus. Without the President’s Graduate Fellowship, the research fieldtrip grants, and the international conference funding provided by nus, it is hard to imagine that this work could be completed in such a coherent pace. At a later stage of this project, I have been funded by the Center for Global Asia at New York University (Shanghai), the Department of History at Sun Yat-sen University, and the Department of History at the University of Macau.

In addition to the support from institutions, individuals are equally significant for this intellectual enterprise. Scholars who I admire and whose work I am indebted to are cited throughout this book. I am especially grateful to Prof. Prasenjit Duara, who not only provided invaluable suggestions to my research at the very beginning but also gave me consistent encouragement. I also thank my supervisors in NUS, Prof. Yang Bin, Prof. Huang Jianli, and Prof. Kudaisya Medha. Throughout my PhD candidateship in Singapore, they were always supportive to my research and career. This work could not be done without their inspiration. I owe a lot to Prof. Bruce Lockhart, who is always ready to encourage me and help me, whether it is my study or my life. Prof. Poo Mu-chou and Prof. Ji Xiangxiang gave me great encouragement when I was applying for the PhD program. I also want to express my gratitude to them.

I am indebted to Prof. Maitrii Aung-Thwin, Prof. Brian Farrell, Prof. Lee Seung-joon, Prof. Tansen Sen, Prof. George Wei, Prof. Robert Bickers, Prof. Heather Streets-Salter, Prof. Yu Jianhua, Prof. Pan Guang, Prof. Wu Yixiong, Prof. Hou Xudong, Dr. Fang Xiaoping, and Dr. Isabella Jackson. Their suggestions and insightful critique have greatly enriched my scholarship and expanded my vision.

I have to admit that the weekly drinking session with my nus classmates, Mr. Phyo Win Latt, Mr. Anisur Rahman, and Mr. Kisho Tsuchiya in particular, brought me countless happy and relieving moments when I was struggling with my writing. I also appreciate my time with Dr. Sandeep Ray, who is not only an intellectual, but also a real activist. Mr. Marek Rutkowski and I spent almost four years together in the graduate room. I truly enjoy our everyday chat.

Last but not the least, I would like to thank my family. Their unconditional support is the cornerstone of my research and career. This book is for Suzy Shu Zhou, a sweet troublemaker.

Yin Cao

Mawlamyine, Myanmar

20 Aug. 2017