From Policemen to Revolutionaries: A Sikh Diaspora in Global Shanghai, 1885-1945


From Policemen to Revolutionaries uncovers the less-known story of Sikh emigrants in Shanghai in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Yin Cao argues that the cross-border circulation of personnel and knowledge across the British colonial and the Sikh diasporic networks, facilitated the formation of the Sikh community in Shanghai, eventually making this Chinese city one of the overseas hubs of the Indian nationalist struggle. By adopting a translocal approach, this study elaborates on how the flow of Sikh emigrants, largely regarded as subalterns, initially strengthened but eventually unhinged British colonial rule in East and Southeast Asia.
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Biographical Note

Yin Cao, Ph.D. (2016), National University of Singapore, is Associate Professor in the Department of History, Tsinghua University, China.

Table of contents

List of Illustrations

 Sikh Migration in the Context of Global Migration
 Shanghai in the Translocal Networks
 Revisiting Sikh Diaspora and British Imperial History
 Rescuing Shanghai Sikhs from Nation
 Sources and Structure

1 Establishing the Sikh Police Unit in Shanghai
 Hong Kong as the Reference
 The Rise and Decline of the Localization Policy in the smp
 A Martial Race in Motion
 “They were Unsuitable for Shanghai”: Rejecting the Sikh Scheme
 New Bottle with Old Wine: Revival of the Sikh Scheme

2 The Journey of Isser Singh: A Sikh Migrant in Shanghai
 A Peasant’s Son in the Punjab
 Optimizing the Migration Plan
 The Road to Shanghai
 Accommodating the Sikhs
 Policing Hongkou
 “A Man Who Gives Considerable Trouble”
 An Unending End

3 Kill Buddha Singh: The Indian Nationalist Movement in Shanghai, 1914–1927
 Go to North America!
 The Rise of the Ghadar Party
 The Politicization of Sikhs in Shanghai
 Turning to the Left
 From Hankou to Shanghai: The Ghadar Hubs in China
 “I kill Him Because He was a Bad Man”
 The Rise of a Surveillance Network

4 A Lone Islet or A Center of Communications? Shanghai Sikhs and The Indian National Army
 The Birth of the ina and the Unification of Shanghai Sikhs
 The ina in Crisis and the Hardship of Shanghai Sikhs
 Subhas Chandra Bose and the Total Mobilization
 The Mobilization of the Sikhs in Shanghai
 The End of a Legend

Conclusion: Circulation, Networks, and Subalterns in Global History



Specialists and postgraduate students who have an interest in global history, modern Chinese history, and Indian diaspora.


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