By D. A. Low
At the eve of the 50th anniversary of Indian independence Anthony Low examines anew the precise personality of possibly the main momentous fight of the 20th century. He exhibits how the fight used to be conditioned through the paradox of the British place, decided to carry quickly to their Indian empire but reluctant to supply unyielding resistance to their nationalist rivals. Britain and Indian Nationalism makes an important contribution to the historiography of recent India, to Britain's kin with its empire, and to the historical past of decolonization within the 20th century.
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Extra resources for Britain and Indian Nationalism: The Imprint of Amibiguity 1929-1942
However, in the face of the next great wave of Indian agitation between 1928 and 1931, they first bent and sought to apply the newly evolving formula of Dominion Status, which appeared to be satisfying Canada, South Africa, and even, to begin with, Ireland, in the hope that it might satisfy India too. But in the event neither the Irwin Declaration of 1929, nor the first Indian Round Table Conference of 1930, nor the Gandhi-Irwin Pact of 1931 succeeded in checking Congress's commitment to Gandhi's Civil Disobedience, and that created a deep crisis for the British over precisely what they should do next.
There was frequently great antipathy too to the wanton use of force - by no means only at Delhi in 1858, or at Amritsar in 191966 - as exemplified in the antislavery and aborigines protection movements through much of the nineteenth century, and more particularly in the denunciations of Governor Eyre in Jamaica in 1869, of the 'methods of barbarism' employed in South Africa in 1901-2, and most recently of the Black and Tans in Ireland. There had long been much enthusiastic British support for independence movements in other people's empires - in the Spanish and Portuguese empires in Latin America; in the Austro-Hungarian empire in Italy and central Europe; and in the Ottoman empire in Greece, Bulgaria, and most recently in the Near East.
Apart from all other objections, sentimental or practical, the English democracy will never allow such a policy to be firmly and continuously pursued . . We must go forward; to stand still and simply resist is not in our power, even if we were convinced it would be the safest course.
Britain and Indian Nationalism: The Imprint of Amibiguity 1929-1942 by D. A. Low