Ep 9: The Years of Constitutionalism

1947: Road to Indian Independence

Aug 12 2022 • 38 mins

As the civil disobedience movement faded, the British embarked on a political exercise to defuse nationalist aspirations — in a way that would help the Empire retain absolute political control. This manifested itself in the Round Table Conferences, the Government of India Act 1935, and the 1937 provincial elections, in which the Congress participated and performed exceedingly well. But each of these measures had both intended and unintended consequences. Why did the Congress have an ambivalent attitude to the Round Table Conferences? What was the 1935 Act do and what were its long term implications? And did being in power give Indian nationalists prepare them for the future, or did it deepen the Hindu-Muslim faultline within Indian nationalist movement? In this episode, the scholar Arvind Elangovan reconstructs the years of British Indian constitutionalism and explains its long lasting legacy.