I am a historian of South Asia, finalizing a dissertation titled Airborne Colony: The Culture and Politics of Aviation in India, 1910-1939. Whereas the Western historiography on aviation draws out a narrative of spectacle and propaganda, I focus on aviation as a tool of empire and as an object lesson of technological modernity in British India. My dissertation makes a case for the colonial aviatic that absorbed and deflected the contesting registers of airborne power and privilege. The airplanes in British India were at once a coercive apparatus of colonial governmentality, a claim-making machine of imperial grandstanding and an instrument of negotiations around aerial sovereignty before the colonial subjects could embrace it as a signifier of modernity.
Besides my work on colonial aviation, my academic research in the near future will span the history of media technology, media archaeology and phenomenology of sound. I am interested in exploring the acoustic unconscious in South Asia mediated through phonographs, gramophones, radio, public address systems, and sound films in late 19th and early 20th centuries.
This academic year, I am a Graduate Fellow at the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies. Before coming to Princeton, I worked on a three-year digital humanities project on the history of Indian cinema, in Kolkata. I received an M.A. in Film Studies from Jadavpur University, Kolkata, and a B.A. (Honors) in History from Delhi University.