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The Oxford History of the British Empire: Volume IV: The Twentieth Century$
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Judith Brown and Wm Roger Louis

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780198205647

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198205647.001.0001

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(p.421) 18 India
The Oxford History of the British Empire: Volume IV: The Twentieth Century


Oxford University Press

This chapter primarily focuses on the political dimensions of India's experience, though these, of course, reflected the changing realities of social and economic power. After a brief ‘scene-setting’ description, it investigates four themes that were central to the Imperial relationship between Britain and the subcontinent in its closing stages. These are: the longer-term erosion of Britain's interests in India as the context in which the Imperial power made key decisions about constitutional arrangements for India's government, which in turn affected Britain's ability to control India in the interest of a worldwide British Empire; the emergence of a nationalist movement and, opposed to its broad claims and attempted international image under Gandhi's guidance, the realities and limitations of its support, its political ideology, and strategic effectiveness; the changing nature and increasing vulnerability of the Imperial state; and the ways in which there are continuities between the colonial order and that established by independent states. The Indian experience suggests that the British Raj was clearly changing in the 20th century and proved capable of fairly profound adaptation in response to changing conditions.

Keywords:   India, British Empire, Britain, Gandhi, social power, economic power, Imperial power, Imperial state, government, British Raj

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