Wednesday 20 November 2019


Dr Tripurdaman Singh will join the Institute of Commonwealth Studies (ICWS) on 21 November, where he will explore decolonisation, imperialism and nationalism in South Asia.

He is among this year’s group of academics to benefit from the British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship Scheme, its flagship programme for early career academics, based at universities around the UK.

The prestigious fellowships are awarded annually to a select cohort of outstanding early-career scholars, providing recipients with three years of funding to strengthen their experience of research and teaching in a university environment of their choice. The primary emphasis is on completing a significant piece of publishable research, giving award holders a base on which to build a successful academic career.

Commenting on the fellowship, Dr Singh said, ‘I am thrilled to be joining the only academic institution in the world devoted to the study of the Commonwealth. Holding a fellowship here is a great privilege, and I am really looking forward to being a part of such a great research set up.’

On 15 August 1947, nationalist politicians took power in British India. But in the princely states ruled by nominally sovereign Maharajas, where Praja Mandals (People’s Associations) substituted for political parties, constitutional negotiations extended well into the 1950s.

In these negotiations and the flexible institutional structures they led to – such as double member parliamentary constituencies – Praja Mandals were crucial players. Independence and the integration of the states was not only negotiated by the British, the princes and the nationalist politicians – but also by the public figures within those states.

Through his British Academy funded project, Negotiating Decolonisation in India's Princely States, Dr Singh will investigate the constitution of such associations and their important role in the dissolution of princely rule and transition to democratic politics. It will trace Indian nationalism beyond responses to colonial rule and use unprecedented access to private papers to expand and revise conventional accounts of independence and transfer of power in India – one of the pivotal events of 20th-century imperial and commonwealth history.

‘The ICWS has for decades been a focus for scholars studying the history of decolonisation. It is wonderful that Dr Singh will be continuing that tradition, and his work on the Indian princes adds an important new dimension to the expertise of the institute,’ said Professor Philip Murphy, director of the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, a member of the School of Advanced Study, University of London.

Welcoming the 2019 cohort to the Academy, its chief executive Robin Jackson, said ‘Providing support for the next generation of researchers is a major priority for the British Academy. We wish the fellows every success and look forward to seeing the results of their work.’


Notes for editors

  1. For further information, please contact: Maureen McTaggart, Media and Public Relations Officer, School of Advanced Study, University of London +44 (0)20 7862 8859 /
  2. The Institute of Commonwealth Studies (ICWS) is the only postgraduate academic institution in the UK devoted to the study of the Commonwealth. Founded in 1949, its purpose is to promote interdisciplinary and inter-regional research on the Commonwealth and its member nations in the fields of history, politics and other social sciences.  Its areas of specialism include international development, governance, human rights, north-south relations and conflict and security. The Institute of Commonwealth Studies is a member institute of the School of Advanced Study, University of London. or follow the institute on Twitter at @ICWS_SAS
  3. The School of Advanced Study (SAS), University of London, is the UK’s national centre for the promotion and support of research in the humanities. SAS and its member institutes offer unparalleled resources, facilities and academic opportunities across a wide range of subject areas for the benefit of the national and international scholarly community. Last year SAS welcomed 786 research fellows and associates, held 2,007 events highlighting the latest research in the humanities, received 24.4 million online visits to its research resources and platforms, and hosted 194,145 visits to its specialist libraries and collections. The School also leads Being Human, the UK’s only nationwide festival of the humanities. Find out more at or follow SAS on Twitter at @SASNews.
  4. The University of London is a federal University and is one of the oldest, largest and most diverse universities in the UK. Established by Royal Charter in 1836, the University is recognised globally as a world leader in higher education. Its members are 18 self-governing member institutions and nine research institutes of outstanding reputation. Learn more about the University of London at