Dr William Gould

Email: w.r.gould@leeds.ac.uk


Professor of Indian History

Historian of the Hindu Right & Hindu Nationalism

Specialist research areas:

Modern Indian History; Hindu right & Hindu nationalism, the Congress in north India, corruption/anti-corruption and the state in India, ‘Criminal/Denotified Tribes’; South Asian Diasporas.

Available for consultation in the following areas:

Third sector engagement (corruption & anti-corruption); media interviews; editorials.


Professor William Gould did his BA (1992-5), MPhil (1995-6) and PhD (1996 – 2000) at the University of Cambridge, Pembroke College as an undergraduate (up to the MPhil), then Trinity College as a PhD student – looking at ‘Hindu nationalism and the politics of the Congress in UP, 1930 – 1947’.  Before coming to Leeds he was a Research Fellow at the Centre of South Asian Studies, University of Cambridge (2000 – 2003). Since 2003 he has worked in the School of History, University of Leeds. In 2004, he published his PhD research as a monograph – looking more broadly at Hindu nationalism and the language of politics in late colonial India (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004).

Professor Gould is currently writing a co-authored book with Sarah Ansari, entitled ‘Boundaries of Belonging’ which will appear in 2018.  The book explores quotidian experiences of citizenship in the cities of India and Pakistan from 1947 to the 1960s.

He is also working on two further projects.  Firstly, he is writing a book exploring the history of the Hindu right in India, entitled ‘Saffron Lotus: Populism, authoritarianism and the rise of the Hindu Right in India’.  This book explores how the changing relationship between the Indian state and political parties, has opened up increasing opportunities for authoritarian populism to thrive.  In particular, it explores the ways in which alternative forms of historical and scientific information are generated and promoted by the right as part of those larger movements.  Secondly, he is running a collaboration with a film-maker in western India, exploring the experiences of two ‘Denotified Tribes’ (erstwhile ‘Criminal Tribes’) of the transition to Independence, which ostensibly brought an end to these communities’ definition as ‘criminal’, but which was replaced by the Habitual Offender’s Act.  This project employs methodological approaches drawn from my other projects on corruption, citizenship and the state, and will result in a historical documentary, a co-authored journal article, a short history and eventually, a monograph.  This project was funded by the British Academy.

He has also been the Principal Investigator, recently, on a project exploring Indian citizens’ experiences of the newly independent state of India between 1947 and 1964, as part of a larger AHRC project (see more below).  I am also continuing to research and write on the politics of religious conflict and ‘communalism’ in South Asia, and the historical narratives of South Asian migrants to the UK after 1947.