Lecture 4-Devendra Swarup CPS
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In his fourth talk in this series, Sri Devendra Swarup began his exploration of the founding of British power in India and the subsequent development of the colonial institutions and structures of governance which, as we have seen in the previous three lectures, were incorporated almost unaltered and nearly in their entirety in the Constitution of India. At the outset, he once again emphasised that even after six decades of independent functioning, India had not developed any institutions of her own in any walk of public life. We have been merely expanding the structures and institutions established by the British. He pointedly asked: If we wanted only to perpetuate what the British had established, why did we seek Independence? How would the Indian public life have been different, had the British stayed on? What has stopped us from changing the institutions established by the British? Gandhiji repeatedly said that if the British left but their civilization stayed, that would be no Swaraj, it would be no independence. But we have reached precisely that condition. After the British left, we adopted a Constitution that perpetuated the entire institutional framework and system of governance set up by them and we continue to walk on the path laid by the British.

How have the British been able to influence us so deeply? In her long history, India has seen many foreign invaders. But, they were hardly able to dislodge India from her civilisational anchor. But unlike the Muslims and the earlier foreign invaders, the British seem to have succeeded in changing Indian thinking and replacing Indian public institutions with their own.

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