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Dr Partha Pratim Shil

Dr Partha Pratim Shil

Junior Research Fellow, Trinity College, Cambridge


I am an historian of modern South Asia and I work on state formation in colonial eastern India through a history of security workers at the lowest rungs of the colonial state, such as police constables and village watchmen. I finished my PhD at Faculty of History, University of Cambridge in 2017. My doctoral dissertation, entitled, ‘Police labour and state formation in Bengal, c.1860-1950’, was shortlisted for the Bayly Prize 2018. [The Bayly Prize was instituted in memory of Prof. C A Bayly, “for a distinguished thesis in an Asian subject falling within the scope of the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society or of Modern Asian Studies”. ]

 Currently, I am working on the manuscript of my first book, provisionally entitled, Sovereign Labour and the Making of the Modern State in Eastern India, c. 1860-1950.


Subject groups/Research projects

World History:

Departments and Institutes

Trinity College:

Research Interests

Modern South Asian history; history of police constables and village watchmen in colonial eastern India; state formation in South Asia; military labour; history of government workers; labour history.


  • Histories of Colonialism
  • Economic, Social History
  • Imperial History

Key Publications

‘The “Threatened” Constabulary Strikes of Early Twentieth-Century Bengal’, South Asian Studies, 33:2 (2017), 165-179.


‘Towards Postcolonial Statehood: Constabulary Strikes and the Question of Colonial “Inheritance”, British India 1945-7’, in India: Democracy and Violence, ed. Samir Kumar Das (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2015), 29-57.