Empire, Politics and the Creation of the 1935 India Act
Last Act of the Raj
It was the last in a long line of ‘Acts’ designed to ensure better colonial governance for the Indian sub-continent. It was an Act which was vociferously opposed by, amongst others, Winston Churchill. It is the Act upon which the Constitution of modern India is for the most part based. Andrew Muldoon‘s new book, Empire, Politics and the Creation of the 1935 India Act: Last Act of the Raj (Ashgate, 2009) is all about the Government of India Act, 1935.
The Act was long in the making; it replaced the eponymous 1919 Act, and there were many who were interested in it- politicians Indian and British, commercial conglomerates, and of course, your average Indian or Briton. When it took shape, after six years of ‘legislative, administrative and political’ work, it met with receptions ranging from the welcoming to the hostile; despite everything, it became the blueprint for the development of post Independence Indian polity and its impact may be yet be discerned today. It was an act which provided for a federal structure for British India, under the ultimate control of a Central power. So the 1935 Act was not a just a major piece of legislation; it was also an event that said much about prevailing ideas of Empire, identity, autonomy and governance.