The Decolonization of British India and the Relative Emergence of an Independent South Asia (1919-1984): from the Second Constitutional Reform of the Colonial System to the End of the Post-Nehruvian Era
At the end of the First World War, the Raj remained economically or even strategically more central than ever in the general colonial architecture of the British Empire . However, the "sub-Empire" of British India , the “Jewel in the crown", was a complex network of territories: directly administered provinces, states under Princely rule, Crown colonies and peripheral zones. Yet, between the two World Wars, the colonial régime hung only by a thread when confronted with the rising popularity of the nationalist movements. As a result, independence was granted in 1947 to this major component of the Empire, a truly cataclysmic event for the remainder of the world. Chronologically, this global event was situated half-way between two major dates in the history of this former British colony: 1919 and 1984.
1919 was the date of the Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms which, in theory, planned to lead India to the full recovery of its sovereignty. But the gradualist strategy adopted by the British colonial authorities – also present in the 1935 Reform – only caused frustration and violence in the country. Soon, a poorly controlled law and order situation led to a spiral of violence, shown in the rise of Partition killings. This stark reality conflicts with the idea that a well-managed, peaceful "decolonization process" was launched by the British authorities. The independence of British India proceeded at the same speed as the Partition of British India which had both immediate and distant, but surely terrible, consequences: the assassination of Gandhi, the father of the Indian nation, the forced integration of Princely States such as Kashmir, the 1962 war with China, the 1971 war with Pakistan over Bangladesh, etc. and the various cultural, ethnic, religious and class conflicts that still plague South Asia today. However, there was also continuity with the British constitutional model, as India became a democracy in 1950. Finally, in 1984, Rajiv Gandhi’s actions as Prime Minister marked the beginning of a South Asia overcoming the trauma of colonization and becoming progressively more open.
Contributions might look into the following questions:
· How and why did the British presence in India prove so fragile and chaotic between 1919 and 1947?
· To what extent did South Asia’s newly independent States distinguish themselves from other formerly colonized areas of the British Empire between 1947 and 1984?
Deadline for abstracts – 300 words maximum: July 1, 2012
Information to the authors: July 15, 2012
Full article – ideal word length: around 7,000 words: September 30, 2012
Projected publication: early 2013
"French Review of British Studies”
(RFCB, Revue française de civilisation britannique)
Send comments and questions to H-Net
Webstaff. H-Net reproduces announcements that have been submitted to us as a
free service to the academic community. If you are interested in an announcement
listed here, please contact the organizers or patrons directly. Though we strive
to provide accurate information, H-Net cannot accept responsibility for the text of
announcements appearing in this service. (Administration)