SINCE this book was finished on Indian Republic Day 1957, there have been important developments in both the political and the economic fields. Some of these changes--such as the establishment of the Communist Government in Kerala, the evident malaise and partial loss of grip of the Congress Party, and the foreign exchange crisis--give rise to anxiety about the future. Nevertheless, the informed British observer is still impressed with the soundness and stability of India, and if he is a man of business, still regards India as the safest country for investment in Asia to-day. He is, however, conscious that the India of 1958 differs in several important respects from that of 1956.
In the first place Nehru's position is no longer so unquestioned as in the early years of Independence. He can still have his own way over matters of importance, but the Press and the public are more ready to criticise and to disagree with him than was formerly the case. Nehru appears to be increasingly conscious of this change, and recently reacted to it by offering to resign, or at least to take a Sabbatical leave. His offer was not accepted, but it has perhaps helped to kill the superstition that after Nehru comes the deluge. For the first ten years of Independence Nehru was indispensable. He is still the outstanding figure in modern India, but his main constructive work may well have been done and there are several Congress leaders who could, if necessary, replace him at the appropriate time. His position in the Cabinet is perhaps less happy than it was. At least three of his colleagues are practical men and right wingers, and though Pandit Pant. Morarji Desai and S. K. Patil yield to nobody in their loyalty to their Prime Minister, they obviously do not share his socialist outlook.
A curious position has thus arisen. Three members of the Cabinet, powerful both by reason of their personalities and because of their record of service in the old Congress Party, are