India in the Shadows of Empire: A Legal and Political History (1774-1950)

Hardcover | February 1, 2010

byMithi Mukherjee

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This pioneering research offers a sweeping new interpretation of the complex and seemingly contradictory nature of Indian democracy and polity. In contrast to much of existing scholarship, it joins the colonial and postcolonial periods in Indian history into a seamless narrative. This book explains the postcolonial Indian polity by presenting an alternative historical narrative of the British Empire in India and India's struggle for independence. It pursues this narrative along two major trajectories.On the one hand, it focuses on the role of imperial judicial institutions and practices in the making of both the British Empire and the anti-colonial movement under the Congress, with the lawyer as political leader. On the other hand, it offers a novel interpretation of Gandhi's non-violentresistance movement as being different from the Congress. It shows that the Gandhian movement, as the most powerful force largely responsible for India's independence, was anchored not in western discourses of political and legislative freedom but rather in Indic traditions of renunciative freedom,with the renouncer as leader. This volume offers a comprehensive and new reinterpretation of the Indian Constitution in the light of this historical narrative. The book contends that the British colonial idea of justice and the Gandhian ethos of resistance have been the two competing and conflicting driving forces that havedetermined the nature and evolution of the Indian polity after independence.

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This pioneering research offers a sweeping new interpretation of the complex and seemingly contradictory nature of Indian democracy and polity. In contrast to much of existing scholarship, it joins the colonial and postcolonial periods in Indian history into a seamless narrative. This book explains the postcolonial Indian polity by pre...

Mithi Mukherjee is Assistant Professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder. She teaches modern South Asian history and the history of law and human rights.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:302 pagesPublished:February 1, 2010Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198062508

ISBN - 13:9780198062509

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgementsIntroduction1. The Colonial and the Imperial: India and Britain in the Impeachment Trial of Warren Hastings2. Into the Labyrinth: The birth of Justice as a Discourse of Governance3. "Vakil Raj": The Indian National Congress and the Birth of the Lawyer as Political Representative4. From Imperial Justice to Transcendental Freedom: The Samnyasin as Leader in the Movement for National Independence5. An Imperial Constitution? Justice as Equity and the Making of the Indian ConstitutionConclusionBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

"This is an enormously ambitious book that makes good on its intention to offer a legal and political history of India over the past two centuries ... This book will offer rich and illuminating insights not only to those interested in India's imperial association, but also to those engagedwith the vexations of public policy in independent India." --UDAY S. MEHTA, Clarence Francis Professor in the Social Sciences, Amherst College, Amherst