The Birth of an Indian Profession is the first comprehensive history of engineers in modern India. Charting the development of the engineering profession in the country from 1900 to 1947, it explores how engineers, their roles, and their organization were transformed during the politically tumultuous interwar years. Through detailed case studies of engineers in public works, railways, and private industry, the book argues that the profession, once dominated by expatriate British engineers closely associated with the state, saw an increasing proportion of Indian members, and an emerging emphasis on industrial engineering. In the process, it fashioned for itself an Indian identity.
Turning the spotlight on practitioners of technology and their professional lives, Ramnath explores several themes including the work culture of engineers, their conception of their own identity, their status in society, and their relationship with the evolving colonial state. In so doing, he provides a fresh perspective on the history of science and technology in twentieth-century India.