The story of the transformation of the old British Empire into the modern Commonwealth had often been told from the point of view of Great Britain and the ‘white dominions’. No attempt had so far been made to describe the decisive role of India in the shaping of the multi-racial Commonwealth of today. Originally published in 1965, the main theme of this work by an Indian author is the growth of the idea of Commonwealth in India from 1885, the year in which the Indian National Congress was organized, to 1929, when Congress declared ‘complete independence’ to be its goal. What did the British Empire mean to early Indian nationalists? How did the ideal of self-government of India on the Dominion model grow? What was India’s continued association with the Commonwealth valued in India and in Britain? Answers to these and similar questions are attempted in this book.
Despite its great importance, the role of India in the Commonwealth in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries had received little attention from scholars. Dr Mehrotra’s clear, incisive, informed and balanced study was therefore the more welcome, not only for its source, but because it lent a new dimension to our understanding of India’s part in defining and enlarging the idea of Commonwealth. It is an important contribution to Commonwealth and to modern Indian history.
Table of Contents
Foreword by Professor C. H. Philips. Introduction. 1. The Growth of Indian Nationalism and British Policy in India, 1885–1910. 2. War and a New Angle of Vision 3. The Indian National Congress and the Commonwealth 4. The National Liberal Federation of India and the Commonwealth 5. The All-India Muslim League and the Commonwealth 6. India, Britain and the Commonwealth, 1917–29. Some Concluding Reflections. Select Bibliography. Index.
S. R. Mehrotra