Arvind Elangovan; Provincial Autonomy, Sir Benegal Narsing Rau, and an Improbable Imagination of Constitutionalism in India, 1935–38. Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 1 May 2016; 36 (1): 66–82. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/1089201x-3482123
The Government of India Act, 1935, is often discussed for Britain's imperial intent in holding India to the empire and the Indian nationalists'—especially the Congress's—critique of the act. In this essay, by focusing on the prominent but little-known bureaucrat Sir Benegal Narsing Rau (1887–1953), Elangovan suggests that the moment of implementation of the act may have contained a third moment, a possibility of constitutional imagination that severely curtailed the political ambitions of both the imperial and the nationalist forces. He traces the possibilities and limits of this moment to foreground the often underappreciated tensions among colonialism, nationalism, and constitutionalism.