The Twenties

When the Duke of Connaught inaugurated the reforms in February, 1921, nonco-operation was at its height. Mahatma Gandhi described this new system, which he had proposed to accept without conditions fifteen months earlier, as "a whited sepulchre." Feeling was intense; in some cases (as in Delhi) illiterate candidates were put up for the legislature and elected in derision. Nevertheless one-third of the electorate voted (about half the usual voting strength, as subsequent experience has shown) and enough able men were elected for ministries to be formed. The start was inauspicious but a start had been made.

History has shown that this was the moment when India crossed the Rubicon from authoritarianism to democracy. For there was to be no going back, only successive and lengthening strides toward freedom and popular government. The decade of the process in the twenties falls naturally into three sections. The first we may term the Liberal prelude, the second the Swarajist era, and the third the Simon boycott. During the first period the government of India had to work with Liberal ministries in India while facing right-wing criticism in Britain and Congress nonco-operation. It was fortunate for the experiment that Liberal influence was still considerable in the Lloyd George coalition and in Britain and was represented by Viceroy Lord Reading in India. Those in supreme authority wanted the experiment to succeed and were prepared to take risks on its behalf. While nonco-operation reached its emotional peak with threats of a no-tax movement and disintegrated after the arrest of Mahatma Gandhi, the new system gradually gathered confidence. At the center there was a new awareness of public feeling and a new desire to meet its wishes. There was a new sense of the dignity of India together with a reduction of pressure from London. The British official had often championed Indian interests against British commercial ones in the past, and now Whitehall no longer over


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
India: A Modern History
Table of contents

Table of contents



Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 492

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?