study, an attempt has been made to analyse tbe

The British Conservative Party has been instrumental for a
long periOd 1n shaping the policies ot the British Government towards
British colonies.
'lhe Party was greatly concerned with, and vocal
about, British policy towards the Indian Empire 1n particular.
Hance it is very important and instructive to study the attitUde of
the Conservative Party to India's demand for independence.
In this
study, an attempt has been made to analyse tbe attitude and reaction
ot tba Conservative Party ot Oraat Britain towards India •s demand
for independence during the crucial periOd 1000 to 1947.
Tbere is
widespread impression tbat during tbe above
least the British Consarvative Party was an Imperialist
Party, with vested interests
~d wqa
dead opposed to liberntion of
colonies, and to India •s independence 1n particular. Did the
conoervative Party as a whole oppose India's independence?
· there
and individuals who supported and sympathized with
India's demand?
of the Pertt"
lras the Opposition con.f1ned to a tew 'imperialists•
Did they change their attitude according to the spirit
of the times or were they rigid 1n their opposition?
these questions would help a proper reaPPraisal
'Ibe answers to
relations during tbe periOd of this study lOOC>-194?.
This is primarily a studY or the Conservntive Party• e attitUde
to India 1 s struggle for independence.
The study is not concerned
with the attitude of other British political parties, but often
references are made to the Labour Party•s attitUde also to make the
differences botween the tv;o
Neither are we concerned here
with the Indian national movement
such, except in so far as it
concerned the attitude ot: tbe Conservative Party. At the same•
tine, we are not very much concerned with the details of 1ntrao
Party struggles.
A large portion or the thesis 1s concerned with
Indian constitutional developments, but tbey ax"e dealt with merely
as steps 1n the direction of the goal of independence. 'l'hs rocus
is on the att1tudo of the British Conservative Party to Ind1a's
demand tor independence.
It has been assumed that• by and large,
the attitUde ana the policy of the Party were the snme as that of
the Government when the Party was 1n power.
H1 tharto, no detailed study or the subject during the period
eovereti in this study; to have been made. Tb1s study 1s a
modast attempt to fill that gaP.
by c .s. Ohosh submitted to
1963 which covers
There 1s, however, a doctoral
the Manchester
university 1n
part of the periOd of this project; but tbat
thesis was mainly concerned 1 w1tb the 1ntra•Party struggle 1n the
Br1t;:;h conservative Party over ths lndian Problem between 192?
For about eighteen eventfUl years covered 1n th1s
pro3ect, with the exeeptlon of n brief period, tbe Conservative
Part7 ~1aa 1n office 1n tbs Ull1ted Kingdom.
Hence, tbe attitude
and reactions Of the Conservative Party dur1ng n large part of
this periOd were 1n faet the attitudes and reactions of tbe British
Govornuent to India • s demand for 1ndependenee.
The periOd of studl' (1930.47) happens to be ena of the
crucial periods 1n India's long struggle fOr 1ndspendence, and
the issues idvolved 1n the struggle started crystallising towards
the late twenties or the present century.
tba year 1~0.
The studY starts trom
it was 1n that year tbat the Indian Nat1cnal
congress took the "lndependence Pledge" and started agitating tor
1 Puma
SiJaJ"aj • or Complete
The year fOcussed
attent1cn or the British public, the Press and the parties to the
importance Of the hitherto neglected problems
India and fOrced
them to watch, and respond to, the rapid changes thgt were taking
place 1n the m1ghtr Indian Empire.
It was just at about tba same
yef:r that the British Gonaervat1ve Party began to take en active
interest 1n their Government's India policy atter the conservative
Governor-General's pronouncement
31 October 1929 an the ultimate
a1m ot the British policy being the conrennent of fUll Dominion
status on India.
The study ends 1n 1947 soon after the cherished
gOal or the Indian national movement was achieved w1 th the
country• s independence 1n Auguat of that year, w1tb the aPProval
of the British political parties.
The study is based on primary sources, 11ks conservative
Party meetings' minutes, private correspcndence of Lord
Lord Zetland, publications
the Party, autobiographies,
memoirs of conservative ADd other political leaders
relating te India, parliamentAry debates and contemporary
per10d1eals and nav;spapers, and interviews held with some ot the
political leaders and experts 1n the r1eld.
In additlcn, a number
Of pr1nted books and secondnry sources have been made use of.
Tbe thesis has been divided 1nto
parts consisting ot
n1ne chapters, 1ntrodact1on and conclusions. Each part covers
important events
occurred during a specific period.
first part, consisting of three chapters, covers the period of
years frOm 1~0.1935 and deals YJ1tb the conservative Pa:rtyt s
attitude to Indian constitutional reforms.
lbe ftOWld table
Conf'erance, l93o-32, forms the theme of the first chaPter.,
White Paper proposals and the Conservative Party's assessment or
them tn and out of ParUament forms the thems of the eeccmd chapter.
the discussions, deliberations and aPProval ot the Government of
India Bill torms the subject ot tbe third chapter.
covering the f1ve•year periOd frOm lS:05•1940 inclUdes two chapters
and deals witb tbe attitude of tbe British Conservative Government
t0\7ards constitutional experiments 1n British India and Conservative
attitude to India during the early stages of the war.
Part three
covers the period from 1940.1945 and has been divided into tv.-o
chapters. During this period, the British coalition Government was
headed by Winston Churchill end the periOd covers the critical stages
ot the second world war. The fourth and
the last part consist Sng
of two chapters deals v1itb the laot Phase of India's struggle for
independence when tbe conservative Party was 1n Oppos1t1on a!ter a
long interval.
general conclusions are given at the end
A Cenera1 Note on tba Methods Followed
From 1924 OD\a;ards the Conservative Party was Off1c1ally
known as tha National Union of conservative and Ull1on1st
But here 1t 1s generally referred to as the
conservative .Pnrty.
When a name
a person occurs first, it
is cited 1n full but later on only the surname is refened to •.
A brief biography of the less known individuals mentioned 1n
the thesis is mcluded 1n Appendix I. References and numbered
monographs, where fUrther details are not given rei\9r to
publ1cAt1ons of the Party.
Place of publication ot perioaicals
and newspapers ls not mentioned, if the)" are published 1n
Ctherwise it is mentioned, when the ;>ubl1eation is mentioned first •
A study of this type 1s not possible without the help of n
host of 1nd1v1duals and organizations.
I worked under tbe
supervision and guidance of Dro M.s. Rajan 0 Professor of Commono
~tud1es and
Director, Indian School of International studies,
New Delhi. 1 take this opportunity to acknowledge rn, heartfelt
grat1tutle to him, tor his advice, patience, and kindness.
are due to ur. George Chowdbaray•Best 9 who prov1dec1
with a
Useful bibliography en the subject; to Professor Nicholas tJansergh,
smuts Professor
ot the History ot British cocmon\"18altb at Cambridge
University, who was at the school on a shOrt assignment as Visiting
Professor, and who read the draf't of 1DJ thesis and offered valuable
suggestions' to Dr. Btmla Prasad, tiend ot the Department Of south
Asian studies at the school for bis kindly interest and to
ot Publ1cat1ons at the school whose valuable
suggestions ware of great help to me in finalizing tbs draft.
I take this opportWlS.ty to eXPross m;v thanks to the Indian
school of IntGrnational studies. where as a student 1 was given
to make this study, for providing rna w1th a
grant to visit the united K1ngdom1 to tbe university Grants
Commlss1on tor tbe Research fellowship; to tbe Government of Mysore
for atudy•leave benefits tor ths abOve perlOdJ to the staff' of. the
3o1nt Library ot tbe Indian School of International Studies and
tbe Indian council of world Affairs tor tbe competent balp and
assistance rece1vedJ and to the staff Of the Delhi School of
Eccnomlcs Librar,y p~d the central secretariAt Library tor tba1r
ass 1stence.
During my staY abroad, I received l".t.elp trom Professor •
Kenneth Robinson, Director, The Institute of the Commonwealth
studies; Fllld Dr. Hugh Tinker of the SchC\ol of Oriental elld Ab-1can
Studiee 9 l.Qndon university, who \Yere kind enough to permit m to
attend the Seminars at the1r respective 1nstitllt1ons.
1 owe a
s9SC1al debt of gratitUde to Mr. RJ). M1lne 9 Secretary, Conservative
Overseas Bureau, for b1s kind and generous help 1n providing ms
facilities to consult the Conservative Party literaturG and tor
allowing ma to see the minutes ot the Party annaal eonfarenees and
the meetings of the Central council; to Lord zetland9 tor his very
ldn<l parm1ss1en to consult his father's (Lord zetlaJld, secretary ot
state tor India 1935-40) private PaPers; to Lord Halifax, tor h1s
permission to lcok into the private papers of his father (Lord
Hnl1fax, Viceroy and Governor General of India 1926•31) as Lord
tiY thanks are also due
the staff of the tollowillg
Libraries tor the help and courtesy received by me a The Librarian
the conservative Party Research section; The Librarian and the
staff - specially the staff incbarge of the manuscripts secticn •
ot the India Office L1brgy, !Dndon; the British £dUseum
NewspaPer a L1brtl1"7, Co lindale 1 the Chatham
House Press Library; the university Of London (senate HOUse)
Libra%7 and tbe Library Of the Institute Of Common\...Salth Studies
I am grateful to rnnny lesdera ot the Conservative Party who
answered my questions agreed to meet me and discuss wlth ne the
subject of thle thesis.
New Delhi