This unusual work delves into the underlying notions
of progress, self-government, and nation building in developmental goals
articulated in India in the late colonial period. The author considers how ideas
of 'development' in India took shape in the 1930s and 1940s driven by immediate
political battles, yet inspired by a vision of the future that incorporated
notions of freedom and equity. He carries the narrative into the fifties,
drawing on a variety of intellectual resources.
The argument is that
alternatives notions of development-consciously different from those based on
free trade and industrialization-could emerge in the interwar period, when the
future of capitalism did not appear as assured as it did in the nineteenth
Zachariah identifies three interlocking themes around which development
was conceptualized during this period: the importance of science and
technology; the need for the government to express certain social concerns; and
the need for national discipline.
The book opens up a new arena in the historiography of South Asia, that of an
intellectual history of late colonialism in India, and of the nationalism that
succeeded it. Sharply analytical yet lucidly written, it will attract scholars
and students of history, sociology, politics, urban studies, and cultural
studies, as also historians of science and technology.
About the Author:
Benjamin Zachariah is lecturer in International History, Department of
History, University of Shffield.
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