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In this essay, I look at a curious intersection – the emergence of Indian diplomacy in the interwar era and the end of indentured labor. A genealogical reading suggests that Indian diplomacy takes “birth” primarily to articulate the political and civic rights of the new, seemingly upper caste Indian, in contrast to the lower caste “coolie” of the past. Diplomacy here becomes a practice through which this difference between the upper caste Indian migrant as a rights-bearing individual, and the lower caste Indian migrant as a non-rights bearing individual is enacted. This interrogation of Indian diplomatic practice is primarily an effort to reveal the ways in which caste, rarely explored as a factor in Indian diplomacy, is indeed central to its making.

Open Access
In: Diplomatica