Photo Division, Government of india A refugee special train at Ambala during the partition of India
Foreign Affairs From The Anthology: India at 70
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India: Two Hundred Years

WHAT is now happening in India has rightly held the attention of the civilized world. Here is a country containing a fifth of the inhabitants of the entire globe and occupying a highly strategic position, which -- suddenly, as it must seem to a world preoccupied with grave questions of national and international politics -- emerges from a position of political subordination to the status of a fully autonomous member of the family of nations. Quite apart from the powerful repercussions which such a development is bound to produce upon the equilibrium of human society, the dramatic quality of the events which have accompanied the last stages of India's transition from tutelage to self-government is such as to arrest the imagination of all spectators. That must be the justification for such a review as is attempted here.

The roots of the Indian problem lie deep in history, and recent events are the outcome of a long chain of contributory causes. For the decision of the British Government to relinquish its control over the Government of India is no arbitrary decision reached in haste, and most emphatically it is not the outcome of weakness or the abandonment of any of the ideals through which the British Commonwealth of Nations has grown, and for which it stands today. On the contrary, this decision of His Majesty's Government is the natural fruit of a century and a half of political, social and economic development in India, and, so far from being alien to the present spirit and purpose of the British Commonwealth, it may in fact prove to be the most striking realization of them which has so far been achieved. The world wars have but speeded up a process which has been under way for many decades.

II

Let us first see what it was that His Majesty's Government decided. Briefly it was that after a fixed date in the near future, India should be completely free to work out her own destiny

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