King's College London

Research portal

Ms Diya Gupta

Research interests

I am interested in the intersections between life-writing, visual culture and literature, particularly in response to war. Two-and-a-half million men from undivided India served the British during the Second World War.  Their experiences are little remembered today, neither in the UK where a Eurocentric memory of the war dominates, nor in South Asia, which privileges nationalist histories of independence from the British Empire.  What was it like fighting for the British at a time when the struggle for India’s freedom from British rule was at its most incendiary? Responding to this gap, my PhD research seeks to provide the first literary and cultural analysis of the Indian soldiers’ experiences in the Second World War. 

My research draws upon diverse sources and authors. I start with letters, interviews and memoirs – ranging from the rank-and-file soldier to the newly recruited Indian officer – along with materials from visual culture to understand how the visual and textual relate to one another. I then examine how political philosophy and literary texts interrogate the Indian war experience. 

Watch a short film on my research here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hbKO-C-kZ8A.

Participation in workshop, seminar, course

‘Writing Transnational Histories of Global Warfare’ workshop at King’s, organised by the Department of History

Diya Gupta (Invited speaker)
27 Nov 2018

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in workshop, seminar, course

Global Dome 2016 PhD workshop organised by Notre Dame, Oxford and Edinburgh universities, and King's College London

Diya Gupta (Participant)
27 Jun 201615 Jul 2016

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in workshop, seminar, course

Types of External academic engagement - Hosting an academic visitor

Convenor of the 'King's in Conversation with…' postcolonial speaker series, hosting Elleke Boehmer, Leela Gandhi and Antoinette Burton among academic guests

Diya Gupta (Host)
Dec 2015Feb 2017

Activity: OtherTypes of External academic engagement - Hosting an academic visitor

Member of organising committee for the English Department's research seminars

Diya Gupta (Member)
Sep 2015Apr 2016

Activity: OtherTypes of External academic engagement - Hosting an academic visitor

Editorial activity

Co-editor for King's English - the English Department's research blog (Publisher)

Diya Gupta (Editor)
Jan 2017 → …

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workEditorial activity

Participation in conference

'The Human Body in World War 2' international conference at the University of Oxford

Diya Gupta (Speaker)
23 Mar 201824 Mar 2018

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

Invited speaker for roundtable discussion on Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Early Career Researcher Experience at the 'English: Shared Futures' 2017 conference

Diya Gupta (Invited speaker)
5 Jul 20177 Jul 2017

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

Interviewer at the English Association Literary Salon at the 'English: Shared Futures' 2017 conference – Elleke Boehmer in conversation with Diya Gupta and Barbara Gallego Larrarte

Diya Gupta (Chair)
5 Jul 20177 Jul 2017

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

'6th French Network for Asian Studies International Conference' at SciencesPo, Paris

Diya Gupta (Speaker)
26 Jun 201728 Jun 2017

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

'When East meets West: The Second World War in Global Perspective' conference at King's College London

Diya Gupta (Speaker)
22 Jun 201723 Jun 2017

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

The BBC and the World Service: Debts and Legacies conference at King's College London

Diya Gupta (Speaker)
3 Feb 20174 Feb 2017

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

Life of Testimony/Testimony of Lives conference at Queen Mary University

Diya Gupta (Speaker)
5 May 20166 May 2016

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

Second World War and BBC Monitoring archives workshop at the Imperial War Museums

Diya Gupta (Invited speaker)
19 Jan 2016

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

Texts in Times of Conflict, in association with the British Association for Modernist Studies, at De Montfort University

Diya Gupta (Speaker)
8 Sep 2015

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

Race, Ethnicity and Postcolonial Studies (REPS) Symposium at LSE

Diya Gupta (Speaker)
5 Jun 2015

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

Types of Public engagement and outreach - Media article or participation

Guest blog post for the British Library's 'Untold Lives' section, entitled '"Pierce your heart": Letters from Europe and North Africa by Indian prisoners in the Second World War'

Diya Gupta (Speaker)
18 Sep 2018

Activity: OtherTypes of Public engagement and outreach - Media article or participation

Invited speaker for public talk organised by the British Federation of Women Graduates, entitled 'WW2 Indian soldiers' experiences: photographs and letters'

Diya Gupta (Speaker)
23 May 2018

Activity: OtherTypes of Public engagement and outreach - Media article or participation

Blog post on King's English research blog, entitled 'Teaching Literature in the Age of Trump and Brexit: Some Reflections'

Diya Gupta (Speaker)
22 Nov 2017

Activity: OtherTypes of Public engagement and outreach - Media article or participation

Feature piece for The Conversation, entitled 'Why remembrance of Indian soldiers who fought for the British in World War II is so political'

Diya Gupta (Speaker)
10 Nov 2017

Activity: OtherTypes of Public engagement and outreach - Media article or participation

Feature piece for CNN News 18, entitled 'Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk and the Cultural Memory of a Global War'

Diya Gupta (Speaker)
16 Aug 2017

Activity: OtherTypes of Public engagement and outreach - Media article or participation

Guest post for the Imperial War Museums' Research Blog, entitled "'V' for Victory?"

Diya Gupta (Speaker)
8 May 2017

Activity: OtherTypes of Public engagement and outreach - Media article or participation

Guest blog post for the British Library's 'Untold Lives' section, entitled 'The "Kashmir of Europe" and other exoticisms: Indian soldiers’ tales of travel in the Second World War'

Diya Gupta (Speaker)
23 Feb 2017

Activity: OtherTypes of Public engagement and outreach - Media article or participation

Guest post for Edinburgh University's blog, entitled 'Organising a speaker series at your university: is it worth the time?'

Diya Gupta (Speaker)
17 Feb 2017

Activity: OtherTypes of Public engagement and outreach - Media article or participation

Feature piece for Funhouse Magazine, entitled 'Touching from a Distance: Reflections on the Art of Wartime Letter Writing'

Diya Gupta (Speaker)
17 Feb 2017

Activity: OtherTypes of Public engagement and outreach - Media article or participation

Guest blog post for the British Library's 'Untold Lives' section, entitled ' "We become crazy as lunatics": Responding to the Bengal famine in Indian letters from the Second World War'

Diya Gupta (Speaker)
24 Jan 2017

Activity: OtherTypes of Public engagement and outreach - Media article or participation

Guest blog post for the British Library's 'Untold Lives' section, entitled 'Exploring emotional worlds: Indian soldiers’ letters from the Second World War'

Diya Gupta (Speaker)
20 Dec 2016

Activity: OtherTypes of Public engagement and outreach - Media article or participation

Guest blog post for Edinburgh University's blog, entitled 'The Writing Game: Attending a PhD Writing Workshop'

Diya Gupta (Speaker)
9 Sep 2016

Activity: OtherTypes of Public engagement and outreach - Media article or participation

Blog post for King's English research blog, entitled 'Loving, Living and Resisting: A Postcolonial Conversation'

Diya Gupta (Speaker)
26 Jul 2016

Activity: OtherTypes of Public engagement and outreach - Media article or participation

Short film on the Indian soldier in the Second World War, promoting Arts and Humanities projects at King's

Diya Gupta (Presenter)
3 Nov 2015

Activity: OtherTypes of Public engagement and outreach - Media article or participation

Bengal boys of 'the good war', published as lead Sunday supplement story in The Telegraph (India)

Diya Gupta (Speaker)
5 Apr 2015

Activity: OtherTypes of Public engagement and outreach - Media article or participation

© 2018 King's College London | Strand | London WC2R 2LS | England | United Kingdom | Tel +44 (0)20 7836 5454