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This article aims at an examination of the colonial career of the modern construction of race and its traces in post-coloniality. It locates race in regimes of legality and illegality attendant to British colonial rule over India to underscore the defining role of colonialism in modern constructions of race. The first part recounts the modern grammar of racial difference rooted in the colonial encounter between modern Europe and its colonies. The second part identifies three specific sites of deployment of colonial racial stereotypes in colonial India, namely, "martial races," "criminal tribes," and indentured labor. The last part traces the shadow of the colonial discourse of race on anti-colonial nationalism and post-colonial designs of governance in South Asia.