British Raj

British Raj
Indian Empire



Flag Star of India
Dieu et mon Droit
"God and my right"
Royal anthem
God Save the King
The British Indian Empire, 1909
Capital Calcutta (1858–1912)
New Delhi (1912–1947)
Shimla (Summer)
Language(s) Hindustani, Urdu, English
Government Constitutional Monarchy
Emperor (1876–1947)
 - 1858–1901 Victoria 1
 - 1901–1910 Edward VII
 - 1910–1936 George V
 - 1936 Edward VIII
 - 1936–1947 George VI
Viceroy 2
 - 1858–1862 Charles Canning
 - 1947 Louis Mountbatten
Legislature Imperial Legislative Council
 - Indian Rebellion 10 May 1857
 - Government of India Act 2 August 1858
 - Indian Independence Act 15 August 1947
 - Partition of India 15 August 1947
Currency British Indian rupee
Today part of  India
1: Reigned as Empress of India from 1 May 1876, before that as Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
2: Viceroy and Governor-General of India.
Colonial India
British Indian Empire
British Indian Empire
Colonial India
Portuguese India 1510–1961
Dutch India 1605–1825
Danish India 1620–1869
French India 1759–1954
British India 1613–1947
East India Company 1612–1757
Company rule in India 1757–1857
British Raj 1858–1947
British rule in Burma 1824–1942
Princely states 1765–1947/48
Partition of India
v · d · e

British Raj (rāj, lit. "reign" in Hindustani[1]) was the British rule in the Indian subcontinent between 1858 and 1947;[2] The term can also refer to the period of dominion.[2][3] The region under British control, commonly called India in contemporary usage, included areas directly administered by the United Kingdom[4] (contemporaneously, "British India") as well as the princely states ruled by individual rulers under the paramountcy of the British Crown. After 1876, the resulting political union was officially called the Indian Empire and issued passports under that name. As India, it was a founding member of the League of Nations, and a member nation of the Summer Olympics in 1900, 1920, 1928, 1932, and 1936.

The system of governance was instituted in 1858, when the rule of the British East India Company was transferred to the Crown in the person of Queen Victoria (and who, in 1876, was proclaimed Empress of India), and lasted until 1947, when the British Indian Empire was partitioned into two sovereign dominion states, the Union of India (later the Republic of India) and the Dominion of Pakistan (later the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the eastern half of which, still later, became the People's Republic of Bangladesh). The eastern-most part of the Indian Empire became the separate colony of Burma in 1937, and this gained independence in 1948.


Geographical extent

The British Indian Empire and surrounding countries in 1909

The British Raj extended over all regions of present-day India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. In addition, at various times, it included Aden Colony (from 1858 to 1937), Lower Burma (from 1858 to 1937), Upper Burma (from 1886 to 1937), British Somaliland (briefly from 1884 to 1898), and Singapore (briefly from 1858 to 1867). Burma was directly administered by the British Crown from 1937 until its independence in 1948. The Trucial States of the Persian Gulf were theoretically princely states of British India until 1946 and used the rupee as their unit of currency.

Among other countries in the region, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) was ceded to Britain in 1802 under the Treaty of Amiens. Ceylon was a British crown colony but not part of British India. The kingdoms of Nepal and Bhutan, having fought wars with the British, subsequently signed treaties with them and were recognised by the British as independent states.[5][6] The Kingdom of Sikkim was established as a princely state after the Anglo-Sikkimese Treaty of 1861; however, the issue of sovereignty was left undefined.[7] The Maldive Islands were a British protectorate from 1887 to 1965 but not part of British India.

British India and the Native States

The British Indian Empire in 1893

India under British rule was made up of two types of territory: British India and the Native States (or Princely States). In its Interpretation Act 1889, the British Parliament adopted the following definitions:

(4.) The expression "British India" shall mean all territories and places within Her Majesty's dominions which are for the time being governed by Her Majesty through the Governor-General of India or through any governor or other officer subordinate to the Governor-General of India.
(5.) The expression "India" shall mean British India together with any territories of any native prince or chief under the suzerainty of Her Majesty exercised through the Governor-General of India, or through any governor or other officer subordinate to the Governor-General of India.[8]

In general the term "British India" had been used (and is still used) to also refer to the regions under the rule of the British East India Company in India from 1600 to 1858.[9] The term has also been used to refer to the "British in India".[10]

Suzerainty over 175 princely states, some of the largest and most important, was exercised (in the name of the British Crown) by the central government of British India under the Viceroy; the remaining approximately 500 states were dependents of the provincial governments of British India under a Governor, Lieutenant-Governor, or Chief Commissioner (as the case might have been).[11] A clear distinction between "dominion" and "suzerainty" was supplied by the jurisdiction of the courts of law: the law of British India rested upon the laws passed by the British Parliament and the legislative powers those laws vested in the various governments of British India, both central and local; in contrast, the courts of the Princely States existed under the authority of the respective rulers of those states.[11]

Major provinces

At the turn of the 20th century, British India consisted of eight provinces that were administered either by a Governor or a Lieutenant-Governor. The following table lists their areas and populations (but does not include those of the dependent Native States) circa 1907:[12]

Province of British India[12] Area (in thousands of square units) Population (in millions of inhabitants) Chief Administrative Officer
Burma 170 square miles (440 km2) 9 Lieutenant-Governor
Bengal (including present-day Bangladesh and the state of West Bengal, Bihar and Orissa) in India 151 square miles (390 km2) 75 Lieutenant-Governor
Madras 142 square miles (370 km2) 38 Governor-in-Council
Bombay 123 square miles (320 km2) 19 Governor-in-Council
United Provinces (present-day Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand) 107 square miles (280 km2) 48 Lieutenant-Governor
Central Provinces (including Berar) 104 square miles (270 km2) 13 Chief Commissioner
Punjab (including the present day Punjab province and Islamabad Capital Territory in Pakistan and the state of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh in India.) 97 square miles (250 km2) 20 Lieutenant-Governor
Assam 49 square miles (130 km2) 6 Chief Commissioner

During the partition of Bengal (1905–1911), a new province, Assam and East Bengal was created as a Lieutenant-Governorship. In 1911, East Bengal was reunited with Bengal, and the new provinces in the east became: Assam, Bengal, Bihar and Orissa.[12]

Minor provinces

In addition, there were a few minor provinces that were administered by a Chief Commissioner:[13]

Minor Province Area (in thousands of square miles) Population (in thousands of inhabitants) Chief Administrative Officer
North West Frontier Province 16 2,125 Chief Commissioner
British Baluchistan (British and Administered territory) 46 308 British Political Agent in Baluchistan served as ex-officio Chief Commissioner
Coorg 1.6 181 British Resident in Mysore served as ex-officio Chief Commissioner
Ajmer-Merwara 2.7 477 British Political Agent in Rajputana served as ex-officio Chief Commissioner
Andaman and Nicobar Islands 3 25 Chief Commissioner

Princely states

A Princely State, also called a Native State or an Indian State, was a nominally sovereign entity with an indigenous Indian ruler that was under indirect British control through the exercise of suzerainty or paramountcy. There were 565 princely states when the Indian subcontinent became independent from Britain in August 1947.[14] The princely states did not form a part of British India (i.e. the presidencies and provinces), as they were not directly under British rule.

Within the princely states the military, foreign affairs, and communications were under British control. The British also exercised a general influence over the states' internal politics, in part through the granting or withholding of recognition of individual rulers.


Following the Indian Rebellion of 1857, the Government of India Act 1858 made changes in the governance of India at three levels: in the imperial government in London, in the central government in Calcutta, and in the provincial governments in the presidencies (and later in the provinces).[15]

In London, it provided for a cabinet-level Secretary of State for India and a fifteen-member Council of India, whose members were required, as one prerequisite of membership, to have spent at least ten years in India and to have done so no more than ten years before.[16] Although the Secretary of State formulated the policy instructions to be communicated to India, he was required in most instances to consult the Council, but especially so in matters relating to spending of Indian revenues.[15] The Act envisaged a system of "double government" in which the Council ideally served both as a check on excesses in imperial policy-making and as a body of up-to-date expertise on India.[15] However, the Secretary of State also had special emergency powers that allowed him to make unilateral decisions, and, in reality, the Council's expertise was sometimes outdated.[17] From 1858 until 1947, twenty seven individuals served as Secretary of State for India and directed the India Office; these included: Sir Charles Wood (1859–1866), Marquess of Salisbury (1874–1878) (later Prime Minister of Britain), John Morley (1905–1910) (initiator of the Minto-Morley Reforms), E. S. Montagu (1917–1922) (an architect of the Montagu-Chelmsford reforms), and Frederick Pethick-Lawrence (1945–1947) (head of the 1946 Cabinet Mission to India). The size of the advisory Council was reduced over the next half-century, but its powers remained unchanged. In 1907, for the first time, two Indians were appointed to the Council.[18]

In Calcutta, the Governor-General remained head of the Government of India and now was more commonly called the Viceroy on account of his secondary role as the Crown's representative to the nominally sovereign princely states; he was, however, now responsible to the Secretary of State in London and through him to Parliament. A system of "double government" had already been in place during the Company's rule in India from the time of Pitt's India Act of 1784.[18] The Governor-General in the capital, Calcutta, and the Governor in a subordinate presidency (Madras or Bombay) was each required to consult his advisory council; executive orders in Calcutta, for example, were issued in the name of "Governor-General-in-Council" (i.e. the Governor-General with the advice of the Council).[18] The Company's system of "double government" had its critics, since, from the time of the system's inception, there had been intermittent feuding between the Governor-General and his Council; still, the Act of 1858 made no major changes in governance.[18] However, in the years immediately thereafter, which were also the years of post-rebellion reconstruction, the Viceroy Lord Canning found the collective decision-making of the Council to be too time-consuming for the pressing tasks ahead.[18] He therefore requested the "portfolio system" of an Executive Council in which the business of each government department (the "portfolio") was assigned to and became the responsibility of a single Council member.[18] Routine departmental decisions were made exclusively by the member; however, important decisions required the consent of the Governor-General and, in the absence of such consent, required discussion by the entire Executive Council. This innovation in Indian governance was promulgated in the Indian Councils Act 1861.

If the Government of India needed to enact new laws, the Councils Act allowed for a Legislative Council—an expansion of the Executive Council by up to twelve additional members, each appointed to a two-year term—with half the members consisting of British officials of the government (termed official) and allowed to vote, and the other half, comprising Indians and domiciled Britons in India (termed non-official) and serving only in an advisory capacity.[19] All laws enacted by Legislative Councils in India, whether by the Imperial Legislative Council in Calcutta or by the provincial ones in Madras and Bombay, required the final assent of the Secretary of State in London; this prompted Sir Charles Wood, the second Secretary of State, to describe the Government of India as "a despotism controlled from home".[20] Moreover, although the appointment of Indians to the Legislative Council was a response to calls after the 1857 rebellion, most notably by Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan, for more consultation with Indians, the Indians so appointed were from the landed aristocracy, often chosen for their loyalty, and far from representative.[21] Even so, the ..."...tiny advances in the practise of representative government were intended to provide safety valves for the expression of public opinion which had been so badly misjudged before the rebellion".[22] Indian affairs now also came to be more closely examined in the British Parliament and more widely discussed in the British press.[23]

The Governors-General and Viceroys

Viceroy Period of Tenure Events/Accomplishments
Charles Canning 1 Nov 1858
21 Mar 1862
1858 reorganisation of British Indian Army (contemporaneously and hereafter Indian Army)
Construction begins (1860): University of Bombay, University of Madras, and University of Calcutta
Indian Penal Code passed into law in 1860.
Upper Doab famine of 1860–61
Indian Councils Act 1861
Establishment of Archaeological Survey of India in 1861
James Wilson, financial member of Council of India reorganises customs, imposes income tax, creates paper currency.
Indian Police Act of 1861, creation of Imperial Police later known as Indian Police Service.
Lord Elgin 21 Mar 1862
20 Nov 1863
Dies prematurely in Dharamsala
John Lawrence 12 Jan 1864
12 Jan 1869
Anglo-Bhutan Duar War (1864–1865)
Orissa famine of 1866
Rajputana famine of 1869
Creation of Department of Irrigation.
Creation of Imperial Forestry Service in 1867 (now Indian Forest Service).
Possession of Nicobar Islands in 1869.
Lord Mayo 12 Jan 1869
8 Feb 1872
Creation of Department of Agriculture (now Ministry of Agriculture)
Major extension of railways, roads, and canals
Indian Councils Act of 1870
Creation of Andaman and Nicobar Islands as a Chief Commissionership (1872).
Assassination of Lord Mayo in the Andamans.
Lord Northbrook 3 May 1872
12 Apr 1876
Mortalities in Bihar famine of 1873–74 prevented by importation of rice from Burma.
Gaikwad of Baroda dethroned for misgovernment; dominions continued to a child ruler.
Indian Councils Act of 1874
Visit of the Prince of Wales, future Edward VII in 1875–76.
Lord Lytton 12 Apr 1876
8 Jun 1880
Baluchistan established as a Chief Commissionership
Queen Victoria (in absentia) proclaimed Empress of India at Delhi Durbar of 1877.
Great Famine of 1876–78: 5.25 million dead; reduced relief offered at expense of Rs. 8 crore.
Creation of Famine Commission of 1878–80 under Sir Richard Strachey.
Indian Forest Act of 1878
Second Anglo-Afghan War.
Lord Ripon 8 Jun 1880
13 Dec 1884
End of Second Anglo-Afghan War.
Repeal of Vernacular Press Act of 1878. Compromise on the Ilbert Bill.
Local Government Acts extend self-government from towns to country.
University of Punjab established in Lahore in 1882
Famine Code promulgated in 1883 by the Government of India.
Creation of the Education Commission. Creation of indigenous schools, especially for Muslims.
Repeal of import duties on cotton and of most tariffs. Railway extension.
Lord Dufferin 13 Dec 1884
10 Dec 1888
Passage of Bengal Tenancy Bill
Third Anglo-Burmese War.
Joint Anglo-Russian Boundary Commission appointed for the Afghan frontier. Russian attack on Afghans at Panjdeh (1885). The Great Game in full play.
Report of Public Services Commission of 1886-87, creation of Imperial Civil Service (later Indian Civil Service, and today Indian Administrative Service)
University of Allahabad established in 1887
Queen Victoria's Jubilee, 1887.
Lord Lansdowne 10 Dec 1888
11 Oct 1894
Strengthening of NW Frontier defence. Creation of Imperial Service Troops consisting of regiments contributed by the princely states.
Gilgit Agency leased in 1899
British Parliament passes Indian Councils Act of 1892 opening the Imperial Legislative Council to Indians.
Revolution in princely state of Manipur and subsequent reinstatement of ruler.
High point of The Great Game. Establishment of the Durand Line between British India and Afghanistan,
Railways, roads, and irrigation works begun in Burma. Border between Burma and Siam finalised in 1893.
Fall of the Rupee, resulting from the steady depreciation of silver currency worldwide (1873–93).
Indian Prisons Act of 1894
Lord Elgin 11 Oct 1894
6 Jan 1899
Reorganization of Indian Army (from Presidency System to the four Commands).
Pamir agreement Russia, 1895
The Chitral Campaign (1895), the Tirah Campaign (1896–97)
Indian famine of 1896–97 beginning in Bundelkhand.
Bubonic plague in Bombay (1896), Bubonic plague in Calcutta (1898); riots in wake of plague prevention measures.
Establishment of Provincial Legislative Councils in Burma and Punjab; the former a new Lieutenant Governorship.
Lord Curzon 6 Jan 1899
18 Nov 1905
Creation of the North West Frontier Province (now Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa) under a Chief Commissioner (1901).
Indian famine of 1899–1900.
Return of the bubonic plague, 1 million deaths
Financial Reform Act of 1899; Gold Reserve Fund created for India.
Punjab Land Alienation Act
Inauguration of Department (now Ministry) of Commerce and Industry.
Death of Queen Victoria (1901); dedication of the Victoria Memorial Hall, Calcutta as a national gallery of Indian antiquities, art, and history.
Coronation Durbar in Delhi (1903); Edward VII (in absentia) proclaimed Emperor of India.
Francis Younghusband's British expedition to Tibet (1903–04)
North-Western Provinces (previously Ceded and Conquered Provinces) and Oudh renamed United Provinces in 1904
Reorganization of Indian Universities Act (1904).
Systemization of preservation and restoration of ancient monuments by Archaeological Survey of India with Indian Ancient Monument Preservation Act.
Inauguration of agricultural banking with Cooperative Credit Societies Act of 1904
Partition of Bengal (1905); new province of East Bengal and Assam under a Lieutenant-Governor.
Lord Minto 18 Nov 1905
23 Nov 1910
Creation of the Railway Board
Anglo-Russian Convention of 1907
Indian Councils Act 1909 (also Minto-Morley Reforms)
Appointment of Indian Factories Commission in 1909.
Establishment of Department of Education in 1910 (now Ministry of Education)
Lord Hardinge 23 Nov 1910
4 Apr 1916
Visit of King George V and Queen Mary in 1911: commemoration as Emperor and Empress of India at last Delhi Durbar
King George V announces creation of new city of New Delhi to replace Calcutta as capital of India.
Indian High Courts Act of 1911
Indian Factories Act of 1911
Construction of New Delhi, 1912-1929
World War I, Indian Army in: Western Front, Belgium, 1914; German East Africa (Battle of Tanga, 1914); Mesopotamian Campaign (Battle of Ctesiphon, 1915; Siege of Kut, 1915-16); Battle of Galliopoli, 1915-16
Passage of Defence of India Act 1915
Lord Chelmsford 4 Apr 1916
2 Apr 1921
Indian Army in: Mesopotamian Campaign (Fall of Baghdad, 1917); Sinai and Palestine Campaign (Battle of Megiddo, 1918)
Passage of Rowlatt Act, 1919
Government of India Act 1919 (also Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms)
Jallianwala Bagh Massacre, 1919
Third Anglo-Afghan War, 1919
University of Rangoon established in 1920.
Lord Reading 2 Apr 1921
3 Apr 1926
University of Delhi established in 1922.
Indian Workers Compensation Act of 1923
Lord Irwin 3 Apr 1926
18 Apr 1931
Indian Trade Unions Act of 1926, Indian Forest Act, 1927
Appointment of Royal Commission of Indian Labour, 1929
Indian Constitutional Round Table Conferences, London, 1930-32, Gandhi-Irwin Pact, 1931.
Lord Willingdon 18 Apr 1931
18 Apr 1936
New Delhi inaugurated as capital of India, 1931.
Indian Workmen's Compensation Act of 1933
Indian Factories Act of 1934
Royal Indian Air Force created in 1932.
Indian Military Academy established in 1932.
Government of India Act 1935
Creation of Reserve Bank of India
Lord Linlithgow 18 Apr 1936
1 Oct 1943
Indian Payment of Wages Act of 1936
Burma administered independently after 1937 with creation of new cabinet position Secretary of State for India and Burma, and with the Burma Office separated off from the India Office
Indian Provincial Elections of 1937
Cripps' mission to India, 1942.
Indian Army in Middle East Theatre of World War II (East African campaign, 1940, Anglo-Iraqi War, 1941, Syria-Lebanon campaign, 1941, Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran, 1941

Indian Army in North African campaign (Operation Compass, Operation Crusader, First Battle of El Alamein, Second Battle of El Alamein)
Indian Army in Battle of Hong Kong, Battle of Malaya, Battle of Singapore
Burma Campaign of World War II begins in 1942.

Lord Wavell 1 Oct 1943
21 Feb 1947
Indian Army becomes, at 2.5 million men, the largest all-volunteer force in history.
World War II: Burma Campaign, 1943-45 (Battle of Kohima, Battle of Imphal)
Bengal famine of 1943
Indian Army in Italian campaign (Battle of Monte Cassino)
British Labour Party wins UK General Election of 1945 with Clement Attlee as prime minister.
1946 Cabinet Mission to India
Indian Elections of 1946.
Lord Mountbatten 21 Feb 1947
15 Aug 1947
Indian Independence Act 1947 of the British Parliament enacted on 18 July 1947.
Radcliffe Award, August 1947
Partition of India
India Office and position of Secretary of State for India abolished; ministerial responsibility within the United Kingdom for British relations with India and Pakistan is transferred to the Commonwealth Relations Office.


Aftermath of the Rebellion of 1857: Indian Critiques, British Response

Although the Great Uprising of 1857 had shaken the British enterprise in India, it had not derailed it. After the rebellion, the British became more circumspect. Much thought was devoted to the causes of the rebellion, and from it three main lessons were drawn. At a more practical level, it was felt that there needed to be more communication and camaraderie between the British and Indians—not just between British army officers and their Indian staff but in civilian life as well. The Indian army was completely reorganised: units composed of the Muslims and Brahmins of the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh, who had formed the core of the rebellion, were disbanded.[24] New regiments, like the Sikhs and Baluchis, composed of Indians who, in British estimation, had demonstrated steadfastness, were formed. From then on, the Indian army was to remain unchanged in its organisation until 1947.[25] The 1861 Census had revealed that the English population in India was 125,945. Of these only about 41,862 were civilians as compared with about 84,083 European officers and men of the Army.[26] In 1880, the standing Indian Army consisted of 66,000 British soldiers, 130,000 Natives, and 350,000 soldiers in the princely armies.[27]

It was also felt that both the princes and the large land-holders, by not joining the rebellion, had proved to be, in Lord Canning's words, "breakwaters in a storm".[24] They too were rewarded in the new British Raj by being officially recognised in the treaties each state now signed with the Crown.[25] At the same time, it was felt that the peasants, for whose benefit the large land-reforms of the United Provinces had been undertaken, had shown disloyalty, by, in many cases, fighting for their former landlords against the British. Consequently, no more land reforms were implemented for the next 90 years: Bengal and Bihar were to remain the realms of large land holdings (unlike the Punjab and Uttar Pradesh).[25]

Lastly, the British felt disenchanted with Indian reaction to social change. Until the rebellion, they had enthusiastically pushed through social reform, like the ban on suttee by Lord William Bentinck.[24] It was now felt that traditions and customs in India were too strong and too rigid to be changed easily; consequently, no more British social interventions were made, especially in matters dealing with religion, even when the British felt very strongly about the issue (as in the instance of the remarriage of Hindu child widows).[25]

Technological and economic changes: 1858-1905

In the second half of the 19th century, both the direct administration of India by the British crown and the technological change ushered in by the industrial revolution had the effect of closely intertwining the economies of India and Great Britain.[28] In fact many of the major changes in transport and communications (that are typically associated with Crown Rule of India) had already begun before the Mutiny. Since Dalhousie had embraced the technological change then rampant in Great Britain, India too saw rapid development of all those technologies. Railways, roads, canals, and bridges were rapidly built in India and telegraph links equally rapidly established in order that raw materials, such as cotton, from India's hinterland could be transported more efficiently to ports, such as Bombay, for subsequent export to England.[29] Likewise, finished goods from England, were transported back, just as efficiently, for sale in the burgeoning Indian markets.[30] However, unlike Britain itself, where the market risks for the infrastructure development were borne by private investors, in India, it was the taxpayers—primarily farmers and farm-labourers—who endured the risks, which, in the end, amounted to £50 million.[31] In spite of these costs, very little skilled employment was created for Indians. By 1920, with the fourth largest railway network in the world and a history of 60 years of its construction, only ten per cent of the "superior posts" in the Indian Railways were held by Indians.[32]

The rush of technology was also changing the agricultural economy in India: by the last decade of the 19th century, a large fraction of some raw materials—not only cotton, but also some food-grains—were being exported to faraway markets.[33] Consequently, many small farmers, dependent on the whims of those markets, lost land, animals, and equipment to money-lenders.[33] More tellingly, the latter half of the 19th century also saw an increase in the number of large-scale famines in India. Although famines were not new to the subcontinent, these were particularly severe, with tens of millions dying,[34] and with many critics, both British and Indian, laying the blame at the doorsteps of the lumbering colonial administrations.[33]

Taxes in India decreased during the colonial period for most of India's population; with the land tax revenue claiming 15% of India's national income during Mogul times compared with 1% at the end of the colonial period. The percentage of national income for the village economy increased from 44% during Mogul times to 54% by the end of colonial period. India's per capita GDP decreased from $550 in 1700 to $520 by 1857, although it had increased to $618 by 1947[35]

New Middle Class, Indian National Congress, Economic Critiques: 1860s-1890s

There were other developments too: by the early 1880s, a new middle-class had arisen in India and spread thinly across the country.[36] Moreover, there was a growing solidarity among its members, created by the "joint stimuli of encouragement and irritation."[36] The encouragement felt by this class came from its success in education and its ability to avail itself of the benefits of that education such as employment in the Indian Civil Service.[37] It came too from Queen Victoria's proclamation of 1858 in which she had declared, "We hold ourselves bound to the natives of our Indian territories by the same obligation of duty which bind us to all our other subjects."[38] Indians were especially encouraged when Canada was granted dominion status in 1867 and established an autonomous democratic constitution.[38] Lastly, the encouragement came from the work of contemporaneous Oriental scholars like Monier Monier-Williams and Max Müller, who in their works had been presenting ancient India as a great civilization.[36] The irritation, on the other hand, came not just from incidents of racial discrimination at the hands of the British in India, but also from governmental actions like the use of Indian troops in imperial campaigns (e.g. in the Second Anglo-Afghan War) and the attempts to control the vernacular press (e.g. in the Vernacular Press Act of 1878).[36]

It was, however, Viceroy Lord Ripon's partial reversal of the Ilbert Bill (1883), a legislative measure that had proposed putting Indian judges in the Bengal Presidency on equal footing with British ones, that transformed the discontent into political action.[37] On December 28, 1885, professionals and intellectuals from this middle-class—many educated at the new British-founded universities in Bombay, Calcutta, and Madras, and familiar with the ideas of British political philosophers, especially the utilitarians—founded the Indian National Congress in Bombay. At its first meeting, attended by seventy individuals, including Womesh Chandra Bonerjee, who was elected the first president, and Alan Octavian Hume, who two years before had conceived its idea, the Congress called for both increased Indian participation in provincial legislative councils and improved Indian access to civil service jobs.[30]

During its first twenty years, the Congress primarily debated British policy toward India; however, its debates created a new Indian Weltanschauung, whose, main precept, voiced by Dadabhai Naoroji, held Great Britain responsible for draining India of its wealth.[39] Britain did this, it was further held, by unfair trade, by the restraint on indigenous Indian industry, and by the use of Indian taxes to pay the high salaries of the British civil servants in India.[30] For example, when the British government linked tariffs on sale of Indian-manufactured cotton to those on the cotton manufactured in the mills of Lancashire, the Indian businessmen in Bombay protested that it was unfair trade.[40] Other Indians publicly worried about the cost of the large-scale railway construction in India, and who would pay for it.[40] Still, Indian nationalism was "confined to the Westernized middle-class, with the masses as yet mere lookers-on."[40]

Social Reformers, Moderates vs. the Extremists: 1870s-1907

By the turn of the twentieth century, reform movements had taken root within the Indian National Congress. Congress member Gopal Krishna Gokhale founded the Servants of India Society, which lobbied for legislative reform (for example, for a law to permit the remarriage of Hindu child widows,[30]) and whose members took vows of poverty, and worked among the untouchable community.[41] Soon, however, a rift began to appear in the Congress between the moderates, led by Gokhale, who eschewed public agitation, and the new "extremists" who not only advocated agitation, but also regarded the pursuit of social reform as a distraction from nationalism.[42] Prominent among the extremists was Bal Gangadhar Tilak, who attempted to mobilize Indians by appealing to an explicitly Hindu political identity, displayed, for example, in the annual public Ganapati festivals that he inaugurated in western India.[43]

Tilak's extremist ally was the Punjab's Lala Lajpat Rai, who was also active in the Hindu reform movement Arya Samaj as well as in Cow Protection Societies. Both movements had been founded earlier by reformer Dayanand Saraswati, and the latter movement, around this time, sponsored agitation against the killing of cows that led to anti-Muslim riots in the United Provinces.[44] Lajpat Rai's public run for the Congress presidency in 1907 was to later split the Congress for almost a decade.[42]

Partition of Bengal, Indian Response: 1905-1910

In 1905, the viceroy, Lord Curzon, who was considered by many to be both brilliant and indefatigable,[45] and who in his first term had built an impressive record of archaeological preservation and administrative efficiency, now, in his second term, divided the largest administrative subdivision in British India, the Bengal Presidency, into the Muslim-majority province of East Bengal and Assam and the Hindu-majority province of Bengal (present-day Indian states of West Bengal, Bihār, and Orissa).[46] Curzon's act, the Partition of Bengal—which some considered administratively felicitous, and, which had been contemplated by various colonial administrations since the time of Lord William Bentinck, but never acted upon—was to transform nationalist politics as nothing else before it.[46] The Hindu elite of Bengal, among them many who owned land in East Bengal that was leased out to Muslim peasants, protested fervidly.[30] The large Bengali Hindu middle-class (the Bhadralok), upset at the prospect of Bengalis being outnumbered in the new Bengal province by Biharis and Oriyas, felt that Curzon's act was punishment for their political assertiveness.[46] The pervasive protests against Curzon's decision took the form predominantly of the Swadeshi (“buy Indian”) campaign led by two-time Congress president, Surendranath Banerjee, and involved boycott of British goods; however, sporadically—but flagrantly—the protesters also took to political violence that involved attacks on civilians.[47] The violence, however, was not effective, most planned attacks were either preempted by the British or failed.[48]

The rallying cry for both types of protest was the slogan Bande Mataram (Bengali, lit: "Hail to the Mother"), the title of a song by Bankim Chandra Chatterjee, which invoked a mother goddess, who stood variously for Bengal, India, and the Hindu goddess Kali.[49] The unrest spread from Calcutta to the surrounding regions of Bengal when Calcutta's English-educated students returned home to their villages and towns.[50] The religious stirrings of the slogan and the political outrage over the partition were combined as young men, in groups such as Jugantar, took to bombing public buildings, staging armed robberies,[48][citation not found] and assassinating British officials.[49] Since Calcutta was the imperial capital, both the outrage and the slogan soon became nationally known.[49] For example, the Tamil poet Subramanya Bharathi, upon meeting the young Bengali revolutionary Aurobindo Ghose, was to not only translate Bande Mataram into Tamil, but also re-compose it in Carnatic Music, and sing it, to great acclaim, in rallies on the beaches of Madras.[50]

The Swadeshi boycott movement was very successful: by 1908, imports of British cotton were down by 25%.[51] The swadeshi cloth, although more expensive and somewhat less comfortable than its Lancashire competitor, was worn as a mark of national pride by people all over India.[51] The movement also became a spur for indigenous industrial progress in India. The Tata Iron and Steel Company was founded in Jamshedpur, Bengal Province, in 1907, during the height of the swadeshi movement, and in the next four decades was to become the single largest steel complex in the British Empire. The Tatas became early financial backers of the Indian National Congress.[51]

Maps 1907-1909

Muslim Social Movements, Muslim League: 1870s-1906

The overwhelming, but predominantly Hindu, protest against the partition of Bengal and the fear, in its wake, of reforms favouring the Hindu majority, now led the Muslim elite in India, in 1906, to meet with the new viceroy, Lord Minto, and to ask for separate electorates for Muslims.[30] In conjunction, they demanded proportional legislative representation reflecting both their status as former rulers and their record of cooperating with the British. This led, in December 1906, to the founding of the Muslim League in Dacca. Although Curzon, by now, had resigned his position over a dispute with his military chief Lord Kitchener and returned to England, the League was in favour of his partition plan. The Muslim elite's position, which was reflected in the League's position, had crystallized gradually over the previous three decades, beginning with the 1871 Census of British India, which had first estimated the populations in regions of Muslim majority.[52] (For his part, Curzon's desire to court the Muslims of East Bengal had arisen from British anxieties ever since the 1871 census—and in light of the history of Muslims fighting them in the 1857 Mutiny and the Second Anglo-Afghan War—about Indian Muslims rebelling against the Crown.[52]) In the three decades since, Muslim leaders across northern India, had intermittently experienced public animosity from some of the new Hindu political and social groups.[52] The Arya Samaj, for example, had not only supported Cow Protection Societies in their agitation,[53] but also—distraught at the 1871 Census's Muslim numbers—organized "reconversion" events for the purpose of welcoming Muslims back to the Hindu fold.[52] In 1905, when Tilak and Lajpat Rai attempted to rise to leadership positions in the Congress, and the Congress itself rallied around symbolism of Kali, Muslim fears increased.[52] It was not lost on many Muslims, for example, that the rallying cry, "Bande Mataram," had first appeared in the novel Anand Math in which Hindus had battled their Muslim oppressors.[54] Lastly, the Muslim elite, and among it Dacca Nawab, Khwaja Salimullah, who hosted the League's first meeting in his mansion in Shahbag, was aware that a new province with a Muslim majority would directly benefit Muslims aspiring to political power.[54]

Minto-Morley Reforms, Delhi Durbar: 1909-1915

The first steps were taken toward self-government in British India in the late 19th century with the appointment of Indian counsellors to advise the British viceroy and the establishment of provincial councils with Indian members; the British subsequently widened participation in legislative councils with the Indian Councils Act of 1892. Municipal Corporations and District Boards were created for local administration; they included elected Indian members.

The Indian Councils Act 1909 — also known as the Morley-Minto Reforms (John Morley was the secretary of state for India, and Gilbert Elliot, fourth earl of Minto, was viceroy) — gave Indians limited roles in the central and provincial legislatures, known as legislative councils. Indians had previously been appointed to legislative councils, but after the reforms some were elected to them. At the centre, the majority of council members continued to be government-appointed officials, and the viceroy was in no way responsible to the legislature. At the provincial level, the elected members, together with unofficial appointees, outnumbered the appointed officials, but responsibility of the governor to the legislature was not contemplated. Morley made it clear in introducing the legislation to the British Parliament that parliamentary self-government was not the goal of the British government.

The Morley-Minto Reforms were a milestone. Step by step, the elective principle was introduced for membership in Indian legislative councils. The "electorate" was limited, however, to a small group of upper-class Indians. These elected members increasingly became an "opposition" to the "official government". The Communal electorates were later extended to other communities and made a political factor of the Indian tendency toward group identification through religion.

The partition of Bengal was rescinded in 1911 and announced at the Delhi Durbar at which King George V was crowned Emperor of India. This period also saw an increase in the activities of revolutionary groups, which included Bengal's Anushilan Samiti and the Punjab's Ghadar Party and mirrored other such movements in different parts of the world. The British authorities were, however, able to suppress them swiftly, in part, because the revolutionaries lacked the support of mainstream politicians in the Congress and the League.[55]

World War I, Lucknow Pact, Home Rule Leagues: 1914-1918

World War I would prove to be a watershed in the imperial relationship between Britain and India. 1.4 million Indian and British soldiers of the British Indian Army would take part in the war and their participation would have a wider cultural fallout: news of Indian soldiers fighting and dying with British soldiers, as well as soldiers from dominions like Canada and Australia, would travel to distant corners of the world both in newsprint and by the new medium of the radio.[56] India’s international profile would thereby rise and would continue to rise during the 1920s.[56] It was to lead, among other things, to India, under its own name, becoming a founding member of the League of Nations in 1920 and participating, under the name, "Les Indes Anglaises" (British India), in the 1920 Summer Olympics in Antwerp.[57] Back in India, especially among the leaders of the Indian National Congress, it would lead to calls for greater self-government for Indians.[56]

After the 1906 split between the moderates and the extremists, organized political activity by the Congress had remained fragmented until 1914, when Bal Gangadhar Tilak was released from prison and began to sound out other Congress leaders about possible re-unification. That, however, had to wait until the demise of Tilak’s principal moderate opponents, Gopal Krishna Gokhale and Pherozeshah Mehta, in 1915, whereupon an agreement was reached for Tilak’s ousted group to re-enter the Congress.[56] In the 1916 Lucknow session of the Congress, Tilak’s supporters were able to push through a more radical resolution which asked for the British to declare that it was their, "aim and intention … to confer self-government on India at an early date.”[56] Soon, other such rumblings began to appear in public pronouncements: in 1917, in the Imperial Legislative Council, Madan Mohan Malaviya spoke of the expectations the war had generated in India, “I venture to say that the war has put the clock … fifty years forward … (The) reforms after the war will have to be such, … as will satisfy the aspirations of her (India’s) people to take their legitimate part in the administration of their own country.”[56]

The 1916 Lucknow Session of the Congress was also the venue of an unanticipated mutual effort by the Congress and the Muslim League, the occasion for which was provided by the wartime partnership between Germany and Turkey. Since the Turkish Sultan, or Khalifah, had also sporadically claimed guardianship of the Islamic holy sites of Mecca, Medina, and Jerusalem, and since the British and their allies were now in conflict with Turkey, doubts began to increase among some Indian Muslims about the “religious neutrality” of the British, doubts that had already surfaced as a result of the reunification of Bengal in 1911, a decision that was seen as ill-disposed to Muslims.[58] In the Lucknow Pact, the League joined the Congress in the proposal for greater self-government that was campaigned for by Tilak and his supporters; in return, the Congress accepted separate electorates for Muslims in the provincial legislatures as well as the Imperial Legislative Council. In 1916, the Muslim League had anywhere between 500 and 800 members and did not yet have its wider following among Indian Muslims of later years; in the League itself, the pact did not have unanimous backing, having largely been negotiated by a group of “Young Party” Muslims from the United Provinces (UP), most prominently, two brothers Mohammad and Shaukat Ali, who had embraced the Pan-Islamic cause;[58] however, it did have the support of a young lawyer from Bombay, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, who was later to rise to leadership roles in both the League and the Indian freedom movement. In later years, as the full ramifications of the pact unfolded, it was seen as benefiting the Muslim minority élites of provinces like UP and Bihar more than the Muslim majorities of Punjab and Bengal, nonetheless, at the time, the “Lucknow Pact,” was an important milestone in nationalistic agitation and was seen so by the British.[58]

During 1916, two Home Rule Leagues were founded within the Indian National Congress by Tilak and Annie Besant, respectively, to promote Home Rule among Indians, and also to elevate the stature of the founders within the Congress itself.[59] Mrs. Besant, for her part, was also keen to demonstrate the superiority of this new form of organized agitation, which had achieved some success in the Irish home rule movement, to the political violence that had intermittently plagued the subcontinent during the years 1907-1914.[59] The two Leagues focused their attention on complementary geographical regions: Tilak’s in western India, in the southern Bombay presidency, and Mrs. Besant’s in the rest of the country, but especially in the Madras Presidency and in regions like Sind and Gujarat that had hitherto been considered politically dormant by the Congress.[59] Both leagues rapidly acquired new members – approximately thirty thousand each in a little over a year – and began to publish inexpensive newspapers. Their propaganda also turned to posters, pamphlets, and political-religious songs, and later to mass meetings, which not only attracted greater numbers than in earlier Congress sessions, but also entirely new social groups such as non-Brahmins, traders, farmers, students, and lower-level government workers.[59] Although they did not achieve the magnitude or character of a nation-wide mass movement, the Home Rule leagues both deepened and widened organized political agitation for self-rule in India. The British authorities reacted by imposing restrictions on the Leagues, including shutting out students from meetings and banning the two leaders from traveling to certain provinces.[59]

The year 1915 also saw the return of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi to India. Already known in India as a result of his civil liberties protests on behalf of the Indians in South Africa, Gandhi followed the advice of his mentor Gopal Krishna Gokhale and chose not to make any public pronouncements during the first year of his return, but instead spent the year traveling, observing the country first-hand, and writing.[60] Earlier, during his South Africa sojourn, Gandhi, a lawyer by profession, had represented an Indian community, which, although small, was sufficiently diverse to be a microcosm of India itself. In tackling the challenge of holding this community together and simultaneously confronting the colonial authority, he had created a technique of non-violent resistance, which he labeled Satyagraha (or, Striving for Truth).[61] For Gandhi, Satyagraha was different from “passive resistance,” by then a familiar technique of social protest, which he regarded as a practical strategy adopted by the weak in the face of superior force; Satyagraha, on the other hand, was for him the “last resort of those strong enough in their commitment to truth to undergo suffering in its cause.”[61] Ahimsa or "non-violence," which formed the underpinning of Satyagraha, came to represent the twin pillar, with Truth, of Gandhi’s unorthodox religious outlook on life.[61] During the years 1907-1914, Gandhi tested the technique of Satyagraha in a number of protests on behalf of the Indian community in South Africa against the unjust racial laws.[61]

Also, during his time in South Africa, in his essay, Hind Swaraj, (1909), Gandhi formulated his vision of Swaraj, or “self-rule” for India based on three vital ingredients: solidarity between Indians of different faiths, but most of all between Hindus and Muslims; the removal of untouchability from Indian society; and the exercise of swadeshi – the boycott of manufactured foreign goods and the revival of Indian cottage industry.[60] The first two, he felt, were essential for India to be an egalitarian and tolerant society, one befitting the principles of Truth and Ahimsa, while the last, by making Indians more self-reliant, would break the cycle of dependence that was not only perpetrating the direction and tenor of the British rule in India, but also the British commitment to it.[60] At least until 1920, the British presence itself, was not a stumbling block in Gandhi’s conception of swaraj; rather, it was the inability of Indians to create the right society.[60]

Satyagraha, Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms: 1917-1919

Gandhi made his political debut in India in 1917 in Champaran district in Bihar, near the Nepal border, where he was invited by a group of disgruntled tenant farmers who, for many years, had been forced into planting indigo (for dyes) on a portion of their land and then selling it at below-market prices to the British planters who had leased them the land.[63] Upon his arrival in the district, Gandhi was joined by other agitators, including a young Congress leader, Rajendra Prasad, from Bihar, who would become a become a loyal supporter of Gandhi and go on to play a prominent role in the Indian freedom movement. When Gandhi was ordered to leave by the local British authorities, he refused on moral grounds, setting up his refusal as a form of individual Satyagraha.[63] Soon, under pressure from the Viceroy in Delhi who was anxious to maintain domestic peace during war-time, the provincial government rescinded Gandhi’s expulsion order, and later agreed to an official enquiry into the case.[63] Although, the British planters eventually gave in, they were not won over to the farmers’ cause, and thereby did not produce the optimal outcome of a Satyagraha that Gandhi had hoped for; similarly, the farmers themselves, although pleased at the resolution, responded less than enthusiastically to the concurrent projects of rural empowerment and education that Gandhi had inaugurated in keeping with his ideal of swaraj.[63] The following year Gandhi launched two more Satyagrahas – both in his native Gujarat – one in the rural Kaira district where land-owning farmers were protesting increased land-revenue and the other in the city of Ahmedabad, where workers in an Indian-owned textile mill were distressed about their low wages.[63] The satyagraha in Ahmedabad took the form of Gandhi fasting and supporting the workers in a strike, which eventually led to a settlement. In Kaira, in contrast, although the farmers’ cause received publicity from Gandhi’s presence, the satyagraha itself, which consisted of the farmers' collective decision to withhold payment, was not immediately successful, as the British authorities refused to back down.[63] However, like Champaran, the agitation in Kaira gained for Gandhi another life-long lieutenant in Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, who had organized the farmers, and who too would go on to play a leadership role in the Indian freedom movement. Champaran, Kaira, and Ahmedabad were important milestones in the history of Gandhi’s new methods of social protest in India.[63]

The previous year (1916), in the face of new strength demonstrated by the nationalists with the signing of the Lucknow Pact and the founding of the Home Rule leagues, and the realization, after the disaster in the Mesopotamian campaign, that the war would likely last longer, the new Viceroy, Lord Chelmsford, cautioned that the Government of India needed to be more responsive to Indian opinion.[64] Towards the end of the year, after discussions with the government in London, he suggested that the British demonstrate their good faith – in light of the Indian war role – through a number of public actions, including awards of titles and honors to princes, granting of commissions in the army to Indians, and removal of the much-reviled cotton excise duty, but, most importantly, an announcement of Britain's future plans for India and an indication of some concrete steps.[64] After more discussion, in August 1917, the new Liberal Secretary of State for India, Edwin Montagu, announced the British aim of “increasing association of Indians in every branch of the administration, and the gradual development of self-governing institutions, with a view to the progressive realization of responsible government in India as an integral part of the British Empire.”[64] Although the plan envisioned limited self-government at first only in the provinces – with India emphatically within the British Empire – it represented the first British proposal for any form of representative government in a non-white colony.[64]

Earlier, at the onset of World War I, the reassignment of most of the British army in India to Europe and Mesopotamia, had led the previous Viceroy, Lord Harding, to worry about the “risks involved in denuding India of troops.”[56] Revolutionary violence had already been a concern in British India; consequently, in 1915, to strengthen its powers during what it saw was a time of increased vulnerability, the Government of India passed the Defence of India Act, which allowed it to intern politically dangerous dissidents without due process, and added to the power it already had – under the 1910 Press Act – both to imprison journalists without trial and to censor the press.[65] It was under the Defence of India act that the Ali brothers were imprisoned in 1916, and Annie Besant, a European woman, and ordinarily more problematic to imprison, in 1917.[65] Now, as constitutional reform began to be discussed in earnest, the British began to consider how new moderate Indians could be brought into the fold of constitutional politics and, simultaneously, how the hand of established constitutionalists could be strengthened.[65] However, since the Government of India wanted to ensure against any sabotage of the reform process by extremists, and since its reform plan was devised during a time when extremist violence had ebbed as a result of increased governmental control, it also began to consider how some of its war-time powers could be extended into peace time.[65]

Consequently, in 1917, even as Edwin Montagu, announced the new constitutional reforms, a committee chaired by a British judge, Mr. S. A. T. Rowlatt, was tasked with investigating "revolutionary conspiracies," with the unstated goal of extending the government's war-time powers.[64] The Rowlatt committee presented its report in July 1918 and identified three regions of conspiratorial insurgency: Bengal, the Bombay presidency, and the Punjab.[64] To combat subversive acts in these regions, the committee recommended that the government use emergency powers akin to its war-time authority, which included the ability to try cases of sedition by a panel of three judges and without juries, exaction of securities from suspects, governmental overseeing of residences of suspects,[64] and the power for provincial governments to arrest and detain suspects in short-term detention facilities and without trial.[62]

With the end of World War I, there was also a change in the economic climate. By year’s end 1919, 1.5 million Indians had served in the armed services in either combatant or non-combatant roles, and India had provided £146 million in revenue for the war.[66] The increased taxes coupled with disruptions in both domestic and international trade had the effect of approximately doubling the index of overall prices in India between 1914 and 1920.[66] Returning war veterans, especially in the Punjab, created a growing unemployment crisis,[67] and post-war inflation led to food riots in Bombay, Madras, and Bengal provinces,[67] a situation that was made only worse by the failure of the 1918-19 monsoon and by profiteering and speculation.[66] The global influenza epidemic and the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 added to the general jitters; the former among the population already experiencing economic woes,[67] and the latter among government officials, fearing a similar revolution in India.[68]

To combat what it saw as a coming crisis, the government now drafted the Rowlatt committee's recommendations into two Rowlatt Bills.[62] Although the bills were authorized for legislative consideration by Edwin Montagu, they were done so unwillingly, with the accompanying declaration, “I loathe the suggestion at first sight of preserving the Defence of India Act in peace time to such an extent as Rowlatt and his friends think necessary.”[64] In the ensuing discussion and vote in the Imperial Legislative Council, all Indian members voiced opposition to the bills. The Government of India was, nevertheless, able to use of its "official majority" to ensure passage of the bills early in 1919.[64] However, what it passed, in deference to the Indian opposition, was a lesser version of the first bill, which now allowed extrajudicial powers, but for a period of exactly three years and for the prosecution solely of “anarchical and revolutionary movements,” dropping entirely the second bill involving modification the Indian Penal Code.[64] Even so, when it was passed, the new Rowlatt Act aroused widespread indignation throughout India, and brought Gandhi to the forefront of the nationalist movement.[62]

Meanwhile, Montagu and Chelmsford themselves finally presented their report in July 1918 after a long fact-finding trip through India the previous winter.[69] After more discussion by the government and parliament in Britain, and another tour by the Franchise and Functions Committee for the purpose of identifying who among the Indian population could vote in future elections, the Government of India Act 1919 (also known as the Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms) was passed in December 1919.[69] The new Act enlarged both the provincial and Imperial legislative councils and repealed the Government of India’s recourse to the “official majority” in unfavorable votes.[69] Although departments like defense, foreign affairs, criminal law, communications, and income-tax were retained by the Viceroy and the central government in New Delhi, other departments like public health, education, land-revenue, local self-government were transferred to the provinces.[69] The provinces themselves were now to be administered under a new dyarchical system, whereby some areas like education, agriculture, infrastructure development, and local self-government became the preserve of Indian ministers and legislatures, and ultimately the Indian electorates, while others like irrigation, land-revenue, police, prisons, and control of media remained within the purview of the British governor and his executive council.[69] The new Act also made it easier for Indians to be admitted into the civil service and the army officer corps.

A greater number of Indians were now enfranchised, although, for voting at the national level, they constituted only 10% of the total adult male population, many of whom were still illiterate.[69] In the provincial legislatures, the British continued to exercise some control by setting aside seats for special interests they considered cooperative or useful. In particular, rural candidates, generally sympathetic to British rule and less confrontational, were assigned more seats than their urban counterparts.[69] Seats were also reserved for non-Brahmins, landowners, businessmen, and college graduates. The principal of “communal representation,” an integral part of the Minto-Morley reforms, and more recently of the Congress-Muslim League Lucknow Pact, was reaffirmed, with seats being reserved for Muslims, Sikhs, Indian Christians, Anglo-Indians, and domiciled Europeans, in both provincial and Imperial legislative councils.[69] The Montagu-Chelmsford reforms offered Indians the most significant opportunity yet for exercising legislative power, especially at the provincial level; however, that opportunity was also restricted by the still limited number of eligible voters, by the small budgets available to provincial legislatures, and by the presence of rural and special interest seats that were seen as instruments of British control.[69] Its scope was unsatisfactory to the Indian political leadership, famously expressed by Annie Beasant as something "unworthy of England to offer and India to accept".[70][citation not found]

Noncooperation, Khilafat, Simon Commission, Jinnah's fourteen points: 1920s

In 1920, after the British government refused to back down, Gandhi began his campaign of noncooperation, prompting many Indians to return British awards and honours, to resign from civil service, and to again boycott British goods. In addition, Gandhi reorganized the Congress, transforming it into a mass movement and opening its membership to even the poorest Indians. Although Gandhi halted the noncooperation movement in 1922 after the violent incident at Chauri Chaura, the movement revived again, in the mid-1920s.

The visit, in 1928, of the British Simon Commission, charged with instituting constitutional reform in India, resulted in widespread protests throughout the country.[71] Earlier, in 1925, non-violent protests of the Congress had resumed too, this time in Gujarat, and led by Patel, who organized farmers to refuse payment of increased land taxes; the success of this protest, the Bardoli Satyagraha, brought Gandhi back into the fold of active politics.[71]

Communists, Trade Unionists, Revolutionaries: 1920s and early 1930s

This period also saw an increase in acts of revolutionary violence, among them the bombing of the Central Legislative Assembly building by the young revolutionary Bhagat Singh.[71] His subsequent conviction and execution by the British authorities, fired the popular imagination and attracted many young Indians to nationalist politics.[71]

Complete Independence, Muslim Homeland, Salt March: 1929-1931

At midnight on December 31, 1929, during its annual session in Lahore, the Indian National Congress, under the presidency of Jawaharlal Nehru, raised the flag of independent India for the first time, and afterwards issued a demand for Purna Swaraj (Sanskrit: “complete independence”), which Nehru was to later refer to as "a tryst with destiny." The declaration was drafted by the Congress Working Committee, which included Gandhi, Nehru, Patel, and Chakravarthi Rajagopalachari. Gandhi subsequently led an expanded movement of civil disobedience, culminating in 1930 with the Salt Satyagraha, in which thousands of Indians defied the tax on salt, by marching to the sea and making their own salt by evaporating seawater. Although, many, including Gandhi, were arrested, the British government eventually gave in, and in 1931 Gandhi traveled to London to negotiate new reform at the Round Table Conferences.

Round Table Conferences, Government of India Act (1935), Elections of 1937: 1931-1937

British Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald to the right of Mahatma Gandhi at the Second Round Table Conference in London, October 1931. Fourth from the left in the foreground is Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, representative of the "Depressed Classes."

In 1935, after the Round Table Conferences, the British Parliament approved the Government of India Act 1935, which authorized the establishment of independent legislative assemblies in all provinces of British India, the creation of a central government incorporating both the British provinces and the princely states, and the protection of Muslim minorities.[30] The future Constitution of independent India would owe a great deal to the text of this act.[72] The act also provided for a bicameral national parliament and an executive branch under the purview of the British government. Although the national federation was never realized, nationwide elections for provincial assemblies were held in 1937. Despite initial hesitation, the Congress took part in the elections and won victories in seven of the eleven provinces of British India,[73] and Congress governments, with wide powers, were formed in these provinces. In Great Britain, these victories were to later turn the tide for the idea of Indian independence.[73]

World War II, Muslim League's Lahore Resolution: 1938-1941

With the outbreak of World War II in 1939, the viceroy, Lord Linlithgow, declared war on India’s behalf without consulting Indian leaders, leading the Congress provincial ministries to resign in protest. The Muslim League, in contrast, supported Britain in the war effort; however, it now took the view that Muslims would be unfairly treated in an independent India dominated by the Congress. On March 24, 1940, on the last day of its three-day general session in Lahore, the League passed, what came to be known as the Lahore Resolution, demanding that, "the areas in which the Muslims are numerically in majority as in the North-Western and Eastern zones of India should be grouped to constitute independent states in which the constituent units shall be autonomous and sovereign." Although there were other important national Muslim politicians such as Congress leader Ab'ul Kalam Azad, and influential regional Muslim politicians such as A. K. Fazlul Huq of the leftist Krishak Praja Party in Bengal, Sikander Hyat Khan of the landlord-dominated Punjab Unionist Party, and Abd al-Ghaffar Khan of the pro-Congress Khudai Khidmatgar (popularly, "red shirts") in the North West Frontier Province, the British, over the next six years, were to increasingly see the League as the main representative of Muslim India.[74]

Cripps Mission, Quit India Resolution, INA: 1942-1945

The British government—through its Cripps' mission—attempted to secure Indian nationalists' cooperation in the war effort in exchange for independence afterwards; however, the negotiations between them and the Congress broke down. Gandhi, subsequently, launched the “Quit India” movement in August 1942, demanding the immediate withdrawal of the British from India or face nationwide civil disobedience. Along with all other Congress leaders, Gandhi was immediately imprisoned, and the country erupted in violent demonstrations led by students and later by peasant political groups, especially in Eastern United Provinces, Bihar, and western Bengal. The large war-time British Army presence in India led to most of the movement being crushed in a little more than six weeks;[75] nonetheless, a portion of the movement formed for a time an underground provisional government on the border with Nepal.[75] In other parts of India, the movement was less spontaneous and the protest less intensive, however it lasted sporadically into the summer of 1943.[76]

With Congress leaders in jail, attention also turned to Subhas Bose, who had been ousted from the Congress in 1939 following differences with the more conservative high command;[77] Bose now turned to the Axis powers for help with liberating India by force.[78] With Japanese support, he organised the Indian National Army, composed largely of Indian soldiers of the British Indian army who had been captured at Singapore by the Japanese. From the onset of the war, the Japanese secret service had promoted unrest in South east Asia to destabilise the British war effort,[79] and came to support a number of puppet and provisional governments in the captured regions, including those in Burma, the Philippines and Vietnam, the Provisional Government of Azad Hind (Free India), presided by Bose.[80] Bose's effort, however, was short lived; after the reverses of 1944, the reinforced British Indian Army in 1945 first halted and then reversed the Japanese U Go offensive, beginning the successful part of the Burma Campaign. Bose's Indian National Army surrendered with the recapture of Singapore, and Bose died in a plane crash soon thereafter.

Elections, Cabinet Mission, Direct Action Day: 1946

In January 1946, a number of mutinies broke out in the armed services, starting with that of RAF servicemen frustrated with their slow repatriation to Britain.[81] The mutinies came to a head with mutiny of the Royal Indian Navy in Bombay in February 1946, followed by others in Calcutta, Madras, and Karachi. Although the mutinies were rapidly suppressed, they had the effect of spurring the new Labour government in Britain to action, and leading to the Cabinet Mission to India led by the Secretary of State for India, Lord Pethick Lawrence, and including Sir Stafford Cripps, who had visited four years before.[81]

Also in early 1946, new elections were called in India. Earlier, at the end of the war in 1945, the colonial government had announced the public trial of three senior officers of Bose's defeated Indian National Army who stood accused of treason. Now as the trials began, the Congress leadership, although ambivalent towards the INA, chose to defend the accused officers.[82] The subsequent convictions of the officers, the public outcry against the convictions, and the eventual remission of the sentences, created positive propaganda for the Congress, which only helped in the party's subsequent electoral victories in eight of the eleven provinces.[83] The negotiations between the Congress and the Muslim League, however, stumbled over the issue of the partition. Jinnah proclaimed August 16, 1946, Direct Action Day, with the stated goal of highlighting, peacefully, the demand for a Muslim homeland in British India. The following day Hindu-Muslim riots broke out in Calcutta and quickly spread throughout India. Although the Government of India and the Congress were both shaken by the course of events, in September, a Congress-led interim government was installed, with Jawaharlal Nehru as united India’s prime minister.

The Plan for Partition: 1947

Later that year, the Labour government in Britain, its exchequer exhausted by the recently concluded World War II, and conscious that it had neither the mandate at home, the international support, nor the reliability of native forces for continuing to control an increasingly restless India,[84][85] decided to end British rule of India, and in early 1947 Britain announced its intention of transferring power no later than June 1948.

As independence approached, the violence between Hindus and Muslims in the provinces of Punjab and Bengal continued unabated. With the British army unprepared for the potential for increased violence, the new viceroy, Louis Mountbatten, advanced the date for the transfer of power, allowing less than six months for an mutually agreed plan for independence. In June 1947, the nationalist leaders, including Sardar Patel, Nehru and Abul Kalam Azad on behalf of the Congress, Jinnah representing the Muslim League, B. R. Ambedkar representing the Untouchable community, and Master Tara Singh representing the Sikhs, agreed to a partition of the country along religious lines in stark opposition to Gandhi's views. The predominantly Hindu and Sikh areas were assigned to the new India and predominantly Muslim areas to the new nation of Pakistan; the plan included a partition of the Muslim-majority provinces of Punjab and Bengal.

Violence, Partition, Independence: 1947

Many million Muslim, Sikh, and Hindu refugees trekked across the newly drawn borders. In Punjab, where the new border lines divided the Sikh regions in half, ghastly bloodshed followed; in Bengal and Bihar, where Gandhi's presence assuaged communal tempers, the violence was more limited. In all, anywhere between 250,000 and 500,000 people on both sides of the new borders died in the violence.[86] On August 14, 1947, the new Dominion of Pakistan came into being, with Muhammad Ali Jinnah sworn in as its first Governor General in Karachi. The following day, August 15, 1947, India, now a smaller Union of India, became an independent country with official ceremonies taking place in New Delhi, and with Jawaharlal Nehru assuming the office of the prime minister, and the viceroy, Louis Mountbatten, staying on as its first Governor General; Gandhi, however, remained in Calcutta, preferring instead to work with the new refugees of the partitioned subcontinent.

Economic impact

"A significant fact which stands out is that those parts of India which have been longest under British rule are the poorest today. Indeed some kind of chart might be drawn up to indicate the close connection between length of British rule and progressive growth of poverty."

Jawaharlal Nehru, on the economic effects of the British rule, in his book The Discovery of India[87]

According to Indian historian Rajat Kanta Ray, India's share of global income slipped from 22.6% in 1700 (nearly equal to that of Europe's of 23.4%) to 3.8% by the time of Indian independence in 1947. In 1780 the conservative British politician Edmund Burke raised the issue of India's position: he vehemently attacked the East India Company, claiming that Warren Hastings and other top officials had ruined the Indian economy and society. Indian historian Rajat Kanta Ray (1998) continues this line of attack, saying the new economy brought by the British in the 18th century was a form of "plunder" and a catastrophe for the traditional economy of Mughal India. Ray accuses the British of depleting the food and money stocks and of imposing high taxes that helped cause the terrible famine of 1770, which killed a third of the people of Bengal.[88]

P. J. Marshall shows that recent scholarship has reinterpreted the view that the prosperity of the formerly benign Mughal rule gave way to poverty and anarchy. Marshall argues the British takeover did not make any sharp break with the past. The British largely delegated control to regional Mughal rulers and sustained a generally prosperous economy for the rest of the 18th century. Marshall notes the British went into partnership with Indian bankers and raised revenue through local tax administrators and kept the old Mughal rates of taxation.[89] Instead of the Indian nationalist account of the British as alien aggressors, seizing power by brute force and impoverishing all of India, Marshall presents the interpretation (supported by many scholars in India and the West) that the British were not in full control but instead were players in what was primarily an Indian play and in which their rise to power depended upon excellent cooperation with Indian elites. Marshall admits that much of his interpretation is still rejected by many historians.[90]

Famines, epidemics, and public health

Famines in India (Estimated deaths in millions)

According to Angus Maddison, "The British contributed to public health by introducing smallpox vaccination, establishing Western medicine and training modern doctors, by killing rats, and establishing quarantine procedures. As a result, the death rate fell and the population of India grew by 1947 to more than two-and-a- half times its size in 1757."[103]

Population growth worsened the plight of the peasantry. As a result of peace and improved sanitation and health, the Indian population rose from perhaps 100 million in 1700 to 300 million by 1920. While encouraging agricultural productivity, the British also provided economic incentives to have more children to help in the fields. Although a similar population increase occurred in Europe at the same time, the growing numbers could be absorbed by industrialization or emigration to the Americas and Australia. India enjoyed neither an industrial revolution nor an increase in food growing. Moreover, Indian landlords had a stake in the cash crop system and discouraged innovation. As a result, population numbers far outstripped the amount of available food and land, creating dire poverty and widespread hunger.

—-Craig A. Lockard, Societies, Networks, and Transitions[104]

During the British Raj, India experienced some of the worst famines ever recorded, including the Great Famine of 1876–78, in which 6.1 million to 10.3 million people died[105] and the Indian famine of 1899–1900, in which 1.25 to 10 million people died.[106] Recent research, including work by Mike Davis and Amartya Sen,[107] attributes most of the effects of these famines to British policy in India.

Having been criticised for the badly bungled relief effort during the Orissa famine of 1866,[108] British authorities began to discuss famine policy soon afterwards, and, in early 1868, Sir William Muir, Lieutenant-Governor of Agra Province, issued a famous order stating that:[109]

"...every District officer would be held personally responsible that no deaths occurred from starvation which could have been avoided by any exertion or arrangement on his part or that of his subordinates."

The first cholera pandemic began in Bengal, then spread across India by 1820. 10,000 British troops and countless Indians died during this pandemic.[110] Deaths in India between 1817 and 1860 are estimated to have exceeded 15 million persons. Another 23 million died between 1865 and 1917.[111] The Third Pandemic of plague started in China in the middle of the 19th century, spreading disease to all inhabited continents and killing 10 million people in India alone.[112] Waldemar Haffkine, who mainly worked in India, was the first microbiologist who developed and used vaccines against cholera and bubonic plague. In 1925, the Plague Laboratory in Bombay was renamed the Haffkine Institute.

Fevers had been considered one of the leading causes of death in India in the 19th century.[113] It was Britain's Sir Ronald Ross working in the Presidency General Hospital in Calcutta who finally proved in 1898 that malaria is transmitted by mosquitoes.[114] In 1881, around 120,000 leprosy patients existed in India. The central government passed the Lepers Act of 1898, which provided legal provision for forcible confinement of leprosy sufferers in India.[115] Under the direction of Mountstuart Elphinstone a program was launched to propagate smallpox vaccination.[116] Mass vaccination in India resulted in a major decline in smallpox mortality by the end of the 19th century.[117] In 1849 nearly 13% of all Calcutta deaths were due to smallpox.[118] Between 1868 and 1907, there were approximately 4.7 million deaths from smallpox.[119]

Sir Robert Grant directed his attention to the expediency of establishing a systematic institution in the Bombay for imparting medical knowledge to the natives.[120] In 1860, Grant Medical College became one of the four recognised colleges for teaching courses leading to degrees (others being Elphinstone College, Deccan College and Government Law College, Mumbai).

See also


  1. ^ Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd edition, 1989: from Skr. rāj: to reign, rule; cognate with L. rēx, rēg-is, OIr. , rīg king (see RICH).
  2. ^ a b Oxford English Dictionary, 3rd edition (June 2008), on-line edition (September 2011): "spec. In full British Raj. Direct rule in India by the British (1858–1947); this period of dominion."
  3. ^ Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd edition, 1989. Examples: 1955 Times 25 Aug. 9/7 It was effective against the British raj in India, and the conclusion drawn here is that the British knew that they were wrong. 1969 R. MILLAR Kut xv. 288 Sir Stanley Maude had taken command in Mesopotamia, displacing the raj of antique Indian Army commanders. 1975 H. R. ISAACS in H. M. Patel et al. Say not the Struggle Nought Availeth 251 The post-independence régime in all its incarnations since the passing of the British Raj.
  4. ^ First the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland then, after 1927, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
  5. ^ "Nepal." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2008.
  6. ^ "Bhutan." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2008.
  7. ^ "Sikkim." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2007. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 5 August 2007 <>.
  8. ^ Interpretation Act 1889 (52 & 53 Vict. c. 63), s. 18
  9. ^ 1. Imperial Gazetteer of India, volume IV, published under the authority of the Secretary of State for India-in-Council, 1909, Oxford University Press. page 5. Quote: "The history of British India falls, as observed by Sir C. P. Ilbert in his Government of India, into three periods. From the beginning of the seventeenth century to the middle of the eighteenth century the East India Company is a trading corporation, existing on the sufferance of the native powers and in rivalry with the merchant companies of Holland and France. During the next century the Company acquires and consolidates its dominion, shares its sovereignty in increasing proportions with the Crown, and gradually loses its mercantile privileges and functions. After the mutiny of 1857 the remaining powers of the Company are transferred to the Crown, and then follows an era of peace in which India awakens to new life and progress." 2. The Statutes: From the Twentieth Year of King Henry the Third to the ... by Robert Harry Drayton, Statutes of the Realm - Law - 1770 Page 211 (3) "Save as otherwise expressly provided in this Act, the law of British India and of the several parts thereof existing immediately before the appointed ..." 3. Edney, M.E. (1997) Mapping an Empire: The Geographical Construction of British India, 1765-1843, University of Chicago Press. 480 pages. ISBN 978-0-226-18488-3 4. Hawes, C.J. (1996) Poor Relations: The Making of a Eurasian Community in British India, 1773-1833. Routledge, 217 pages. ISBN 978-0-7007-0425-5.
  10. ^ Imperial Gazetteer of India vol. II 1908, p. 463,470 Quote1: "Before passing on to the political history of British India, which properly begins with the Anglo-French Wars in the Carnatic, ... (p.463)" Quote2: "The political history of the British in India begins in the eighteenth century with the French Wars in the Carnatic. (p.471)"
  11. ^ a b Imperial Gazetteer of India vol. IV 1907, p. 60
  12. ^ a b c Imperial Gazetteer of India vol. IV 1907, p. 46
  13. ^ Imperial Gazetteer of India vol. IV 1907, p. 56
  14. ^ Kashmir: The origins of the dispute, BBC News, 16 January 2002
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  16. ^ Moore 2001a, p. 424
  17. ^ Brown 1994, p. 96
  18. ^ a b c d e f Moore 2001a, p. 426
  19. ^ Moore 2001a, p. 426, Metcalf & Metcalf 2006, p. 104
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  21. ^ Peers 2006, p. 76, Metcalf & Metcalf 2006, p. 104, Spear 1990, p. 149
  22. ^ Bayly 1990, p. 195
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  39. ^ (Bose & Jalal 2003, p. 100)
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  41. ^ (Ludden 2002, p. 197)
  42. ^ a b (Ludden 2002, p. 198)
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  57. ^ Olympic Games Antwerp 1920: Official Report, Nombre de bations representees, p. 168. Quote: "31 Nations avaient accepté l'invitation du Comité Olympique Belge: ... la Grèce - la Hollande Les Indes Anglaises - l'Italie - le Japon ..."
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References and further reading

Contemporary general textbooks

  • Bandyopadhyay, Sekhar (2004), From Plassey to Partition: A History of Modern India, New Delhi and London: Orient Longmans. Pp. xx, 548., ISBN 978-81-250-2596-2 .
  • Bose, Sugata; Jalal, Ayesha (2003), Modern South Asia: History, Culture, Political Economy, London and New York: Routledge, 2nd edition. Pp. xiii, 304, ISBN 978-0-415-30787-1 .
  • Brown, Judith M. (1994), Modern India: The Origins of an Asian Democracy, Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. Pp. xiii, 474, ISBN 978-0-19-873113-9 .
  • Hyam, Ronald (2007), Britain's Declining Empire: The Road to Decolonisation 1918-1968., Cambridge University Press., ISBN 978-0-521-86649-1 .
  • Copland, Ian (2001), India 1885-1947: The Unmaking of an Empire (Seminar Studies in History Series), Harlow and London: Pearson Longmans. Pp. 160, ISBN 978-0-582-38173-5 .
  • Judd, Dennis (2004), The Lion and the Tiger: The Rise and Fall of the British Raj, 1600-1947, Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. Pp. xiii, 280, ISBN 978-0-19-280358-0 .
  • Kulke, Hermann; Rothermund, Dietmar (2004), A History of India, 4th edition. Routledge, Pp. xii, 448, ISBN 978-0-415-32920-0 .
  • Ludden, David (2002), India And South Asia: A Short History, Oxford: Oneworld Publications. Pp. xii, 306, ISBN 978-1-85168-237-9 
  • Markovits, Claude (ed) (2005), A History of Modern India 1480-1950 (Anthem South Asian Studies), Anthem Press. Pp. 607, ISBN 978-1-84331-152-2 .
  • Metcalf, Barbara; Metcalf, Thomas R. (2006), A Concise History of Modern India (Cambridge Concise Histories), Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press. Pp. xxxiii, 372, ISBN 978-0-521-68225-1 .
  • Peers, Douglas M. (2006), India under Colonial Rule 1700-1885, Harlow and London: Pearson Longmans. Pp. xvi, 163, ISBN 058231738 .
  • Robb, Peter (2004), A History of India (Palgrave Essential Histories), Houndmills, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan. Pp. xiv, 344, ISBN 978-0-333-69129-8 .
  • Sarkar, Sumit (1983), Modern India: 1885-1947, Delhi: Macmillan India Ltd. Pp. xiv, 486, ISBN 978-0-333-90425-1 .
  • Spear, Percival (1990), A History of India, Volume 2, New Delhi and London: Penguin Books. Pp. 298, ISBN 978-0-14-013836-8 .
  • Stein, Burton (2001), A History of India, New Delhi and Oxford: Oxford University Press. Pp. xiv, 432, ISBN 978-0-19-565446-2 .
  • Wolpert, Stanley (2003), A New History of India, Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. Pp. 544, ISBN 978-0-19-516678-1 .

Monographs and collections

  • Anderson, Clare (2007), Indian Uprising of 1857–8: Prisons, Prisoners and Rebellion, New York: Anthem Press, Pp. 217, ISBN 978-1-84331-249-9, [dead link]
  • Ansari, Sarah (2005), Life after Partition: Migration, Community and Strife in Sindh: 1947–1962, Oxford and London: Oxford University Press, Pp. 256, ISBN 978-0-19-597834-6 
  • Baker, David, Colonialism in an Indian Hinterland: The Central Provinces, 1820–1920, Delhi and Oxford: Oxford University Press. Pp. xiii, 374, ISBN 978-0-19-563049-7, JSTOR 2059781 
  • Bayly, C. A. (1990), Indian Society and the Making of the British Empire (The New Cambridge History of India), Cambridge and London: Cambridge University Press. Pp. 248, ISBN 978-0-521-38650-0 .
  • Bayly, C. A. (2000), Empire and Information: Intelligence Gathering and Social Communication in India, 1780-1870 (Cambridge Studies in Indian History and Society), Cambridge and London: Cambridge University Press. Pp. 426, ISBN 978-0-521-66360-1 
  • Brown; Louis, Wm. Roger, eds. (2001), Oxford History of the British Empire: The Twentieth Century, Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. Pp. 800, ISBN 978-0-19-924679-3 
  • Butalia, Urvashi (1998), The Other Side of Silence: Voices from the Partition of India, Durham, NC: Duke University Press, Pp. 308, ISBN 978-0-8223-2494-2 
  • Chandavarkar, Rajnarayan (1998), Imperial Power and Popular Politics: Class, Resistance and the State in India, 1850-1950, (Cambridge Studies in Indian History & Society). Cambridge and London: Cambridge University Press. Pp. 400, ISBN 978-0-521-59692-3 .
  • Chatterji, Joya (1993), Bengal Divided: Hindu Communalism and Partition, 1932–1947, Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press. Pp. 323, ISBN 978-0-521-52328-8 .
  • Copland, Ian (2002), Princes of India in the Endgame of Empire, 1917-1947, (Cambridge Studies in Indian History & Society). Cambridge and London: Cambridge University Press. Pp. 316, ISBN 978-0-521-89436-4 .
  • Fay, Peter W. (1993), The Forgotten Army: India's Armed Struggle for Independence, 1942-1945., Ann Arbor, University of Michigan Press., ISBN 978-0-472-08342-8 .
  • Gilmartin, David. 1988. Empire and Islam: Punjab and the Making of Pakistan. Berkeley: University of California Press. 258 pages. ISBN 978-0-520-06249-8.
  • Gould, William (2004), Hindu Nationalism and the Language of Politics in Late Colonial India, (Cambridge Studies in Indian History and Society). Cambridge and London: Cambridge University Press. Pp. 320, ISBN 978-0-521-83061-4 .
  • Hyam, Ronald (2007), Britain's Declining Empire: The Road to Decolonisation 1918-1968., Cambridge University Press., ISBN 978-0-521-86649-1. .
  • Jalal, Ayesha (1993), The Sole Spokesman: Jinnah, the Muslim League and the Demand for Pakistan, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 334 pages, ISBN 978-0-521-45850-4 .
  • Khan, Yasmin (2007), The Great Partition: The Making of India and Pakistan, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 250 pages, ISBN 978-0-300-12078-3 
  • Khosla, G. D. (2001), "Stern Reckoning", in Page, David; Inder Singh, Anita; Moon, Penderal et al., The Partition Omnibus: Prelude to Partition/the Origins of the Partition of India 1936-1947/Divide and Quit/Stern Reckoning, Delhi and Oxford: Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-565850-7 
  • Low, D. A. (1993), Eclipse of Empire, Cambridge and London: Cambridge University Press. Pp. xvi, 366, ISBN 978-0-521-45754-5 .
  • Low, D. A. (2002), Britain and Indian Nationalism: The Imprint of Amibiguity 1929-1942, Cambridge and London: Cambridge University Press. Pp. 374, ISBN 978-0-521-89261-2 .
  • Low, D. A., ed. (2004), Congress & the Raj: Facets of the Indian Struggle 1917-47, Second Edition, New Delhi and Oxford: Oxford University Press. Pp. xviii, 513, ISBN 978-0-19-568367-7 .
  • Metcalf, Thomas R. (1991), The Aftermath of Revolt: India, 1857-1870, Riverdale Co. Pub. Pp. 352, ISBN 978-81-85054-99-5 
  • Metcalf, Thomas R. (1997), Ideologies of the Raj, Cambridge and London: Cambridge University Press, Pp. 256, ISBN 978-0-521-58937-6 
  • Nehru, Jawaharlal (1946), The Discovery of India, The John Day company, OCLC 186312138 
  • Pandey, Gyanendra (2002), Remembering Partition: Violence, Nationalism and History in India, Cambride, UK: Cambridge University Press. Pp. 232, ISBN 978-0-521-00250-9 
  • Porter, Andrew, ed. (2001), Oxford History of the British Empire: Nineteenth Century, Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. Pp. 800, ISBN 978-0-19-924678-6 
  • Ramusack, Barbara (2004), The Indian Princes and their States (The New Cambridge History of India), Cambridge and London: Cambridge University Press. Pp. 324, ISBN 978-0-521-03989-5 
  • Shaikh, Farzana (1989), Community and Consensus in Islam: Muslim Representation in Colonial India, 1860—1947, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Pp. 272., ISBN 978-0-521-36328-0 .
  • Talbot; Singh, Gurharpal Singh, eds. (1999), Region and Partition: Bengal, Punjab and the Partition of the Subcontinent, Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. Pp. 420, ISBN 978-0-19-579051-1 .
  • Talbot, Ian (2002), Khizr Tiwana: The Punjab Unionist Party and the Partition of India, Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. Pp. 216., ISBN 978-0-19-579551-6 .
  • Wainwright, A. Martin (1993), Inheritance of Empire: Britain, India, and the Balance of Power in Asia, 1938-55, Praeger Publishers. Pp. xvi, 256, ISBN 978-0-275-94733-0 .
  • Wolpert, Stanley (2006), Shameful Flight: The Last Years of the British Empire in India, Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. Pp. 272, ISBN 978-0-19-515198-5 .

Articles in journals or collections

Classic histories and gazetteers

  • Imperial Gazetteer of India vol. II (1908), The Indian Empire, Historical, Published under the authority of His Majesty's Secretary of State for India in Council, Oxford at the Clarendon Press. Pp. xxxv, 1 map, 573. 
  • Imperial Gazetteer of India vol. III (1907), The Indian Empire, Economic (Chapter X: Famine, pp. 475–502, Published under the authority of His Majesty's Secretary of State for India in Council, Oxford at the Clarendon Press. Pp. xxxvi, 1 map, 520. 
  • Imperial Gazetteer of India vol. IV (1907), The Indian Empire, Administrative, Published under the authority of His Majesty's Secretary of State for India in Council, Oxford at the Clarendon Press. Pp. xxx, 1 map, 552. 
  • Lovett, Sir Verney (1920), A History of the Indian Nationalist Movement, New York, Frederick A. Stokes Company, ISBN 978-81-7536-249-9 
  • Majumdar, R. C.; Raychaudhuri, H. C.; Datta, Kalikinkar (1950), An Advanced History of India, London: Macmillan and Company Limited. 2nd edition. Pp. xiii, 1122, 7 maps, 5 coloured maps. .
  • Smith, Vincent A. (1921), India in the British Period: Being Part III of the Oxford History of India, Oxford: At the Clarendon Press. 2nd edition. Pp. xxiv, 316 (469-784) .

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