The 1919 Government of India Act devolved powers to the provinces and then divided these roles of government into reserved and transferred subjects, the latter of which would be administered by elected Indian ministers: the constitutional experiment known as dyarchy. Recent scholarship has been reassessing the local biopolitical potential unleashed by the 1919 act. In this article Legg revisits dyarchy at the national scale to show how this “All-India” revisioning of Indian sovereignty was actually negotiated in relation to its imperial and international outsides and the exigencies of retaining governmental control inside the provinces. Legg proposes a constitutional historical geography of dyarchy, focusing on three scales and the forms of comparison they allow, namely international and federal political geometries; autocratic geographies of exclusion and exception; and rival conceptions of time, sequentiality, and dyarchy's reconfigurations of democracy, biopolitics, and the vital mass of the people.
Research Article|May 01 2016
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Stephen Legg; Dyarchy: Democracy, Autocracy, and the Scalar Sovereignty of Interwar India. Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 1 May 2016; 36 (1): 44–65. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/1089201x-3482111
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