The Governance of South Asia Under the British
NEWLY INDEPENDENT NATIONS do not spring into the world as did Athena from the head of Zeus. They bring to their new status the baggage of traditional and changing societal patterns, an economic infrastructure that often may be classed as "less developed," and a political system that is usually at least partially modeled on that of the colonial power from which independence has been won. In the chapters that follow, the political and social systems of each of the South Asian nations will be discussed separately. In this introductory chapter, to set the background for political change, we will briefly sketch the system of British colonial rule before 1947 in India and before 1948 in Sri Lanka (then called Ceylon). The British Indian Empire embraced the area that is now the independent republics of India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh; the territory that is now the independent nation of Sri Lanka was governed as a "crown colony"; and the relationship between Great Britain and the smaller nations of Nepal, Bhutan, and the Maldives was something approaching a "protectorate." Although each pattern must be looked at separately, the bulk of this chapter pertains to the British Indian Empire. Shorter descriptions of the Crown Colony of Ceylon and the three smaller countries follow.
The British were not the first Europeans to arrive in India and to begin to set up trading stations (called "factories"--places where "factoring," a
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Publication information: Book title: Government and Politics in South Asia. Edition: 4th. Contributors: Craig Baxter - Author, Yogendra K. Malik - Author, Charles H. Kennedy - Author, Robert C. Oberst - Author. Publisher: Westview Press. Place of publication: Boulder, CO. Publication year: 1998. Page number: 5.
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