Since the Second World War transitions from colonial to sovereign status have become so frequent as to be almost commonplace. The royal family in England has had an extra chore added to its duties in inaugurating new constitutions. Britain, which was thought by many before the war to be regulating the speed of inevitable gradualness by that of the tortoise, or even the glacier rather than the hare, has in recent years been sometimes accused of headlong haste and even Gadarene precipitation. Some of this proper speed or improper haste has been the result of lessons hardly learnt. Since there is much ground to be covered before the last colonial regime passes into independence, or some newly enfranchised states achieve stability, it is worth examining more closely the experience of one colonial region, for which purpose I propose to consider India.

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