India's 'Subaltern Elites' and the Tokyo Trial

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Indian involvement in the Tokyo Trial (1946-48) was marked by a remarkable diversity of voices. Given India’s transitional political status, from colony to independent state, during the trial (India achieved independence from British rule on 15 August 1947), there was little scope for developing a national strategy towards the trial in the manner of some of the other participant countries. However, the very ambiguity of India’s decolonizing status allowed for certain actors to leave a dominant, and individualized, influence, from enabling the country’s very (late) entry into the trial (through a maelstrom of race-inflected debate) to challenging the fundamental premises of the trial itself, including in relation to the vital questions of colonialism and state sovereignty. It might even be said that in the case of no other participating country at Tokyo was the individualized nature of intervention so striking and the lack of any effective ‘national’ policy so obvious. A biographical approach is therefore especially fruitful in analysing Indian contributions to the trial. I focus in particular on two key actors: Girja Shankar Bajpai (1891-1954), the Agent General for India in Washington, who was instrumental in ensuring the entry of an Indian judge into the trial; and Radhabinod Pal (1886-1967), the Indian judge himself.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTranscultural Justice at the Tokyo Tribunal: The Allied Struggle for Justice, 1946-48
EditorsKerstin von Lingen
Place of PublicationLeiden
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9789004361058
ISBN (Print)9789004359970
Publication statusPublished - 6 Mar 2018

Publication series

NameHistory of Warfare
ISSN (Electronic)1385-7827


  • Intellectual history
  • Legal History
  • Global history
  • Second World War
  • Colonialism
  • Decolonization
  • Asia
  • India
  • East Asia
  • Postcolonial Studies
  • Japan


Dive into the research topics of 'India's 'Subaltern Elites' and the Tokyo Trial'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this