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Title: The Government of India under Lord Chelmsford, 1916-1921, with special reference to the policies adopted towards constitutional change and political agitation in British India
Author: Robb, Peter Graham
Awarding Body: SOAS University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 1971
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This thesis examines the established view of Chelmsford's administration in the light of documentary evidence only recently available. It questions such assumptions as that policy originated in London, that the Government of Inaia were hostile to Chang's, and that Chelmsford was without influence. It is arranged as an analysis of policy, describing Chelmsford's method and its application to politics and reform. The conclusion is that underlying policy there was a coherent idea, formulated in India from the Government's enunciation of the goal of Indian self-government within the Empire. The Government, it is found, had decided they must begin to resolve the contradictions between bureaucracy and Indian advancement, and give positive expression to their acceptance of the goal. Thus, it is shown, the Government worked with collective responsibility in consultation with local governments, legislators and public - as befitted their changing role. They attacked racial discrimination, internal and international, as inappropriate to the Indians' future status. In spite of the dangers of popular activism, they evolved a tactic of non-interference with national politicians, partly because of an admission that Indian aspirations, if not methods, were basically legitimate. They repressed political 'crime' and disorders, but saw them as exceptional and as counterproductive to Indian progress; and, though the repressive habit persisted in the 'Rowlatt' Act, the 1919 atrocities were a local aberration repudiated by Chelmsford. Finally, the Government presided over constitutional reforms in which they tried for the first time to prepare for a future transfer of power. The thesis recognises different influences on policy, limitations to Chelmsford's vision, the obscurity of his personal contribution, and the exceptional unpopularity of his rule. Failures are not disputed, but positive achievements are also presented for scrutiny. It is suggested that they encompassed a fundamental commitment to the future.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral