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prospects. Mrs Gandhi’s appeasement of India’s Muslim minority community in exchange for votes is one such example, especially given how strongly the Arab-Israeli conflict resonated with this minority. Mrs Gandhi as Prime Minister saw no reason to abandon the pro-Arab stance of the Nehruvian era, which aided her electorally and was beginning to yield positive results for the country. Introduction Indira Gandhi (henceforth, Mrs Gandhi) served as the prime minister of India from January 1966 to March 1977 and again from January 1980 until her assassination in

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I Sastri and Bajpai arrived in London in mid-February 1922 to a hostile, anti-India public and political mood. 1 Montagu and Reading were up against a wall of opposition for their supposedly soft treatment of Gandhi’s non-cooperation movement. The boycott of the Prince of Wales’ visit by Indian nationalists inflated this resentment into a full-blown rage. Reading was accused of dithering for far too long over arresting Gandhi, while Montagu faced a motion of censure in the parliament, where he was openly slammed for a ‘criminal betrayal of every white man

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jewel’ in a setting ‘corroded and discoloured by the baser elements’. Rather than opposing the ‘colourless’ British, Sastri’s preferred term for the whites, his whole life had been dedicated to the upliftment of the ‘coloured of India, the poor lethargic untouchable caste’. This made him different from the ‘fanatical types’ like Gandhi and his associates, whose motivations were ostensibly driven by the hatred of the empire and the white man. Moderate in both temperament and political views, Sastri was ‘an exact type to whom the British government thinks India must

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supportive of the Indian cause, and in February 1924, Oliver released Gandhi from prison after having served only one third of his prison term. Given the state of unrest in the country, all Indian political parties agreed that the country could not wait for ten years (from 1919) to pass before the next set of reforms. A major group from within the Congress, the Swarijists led by Chitranjan Das, who had entered the assemblies to wreck them from within, demanded an immediate round table conference to discuss dominion status. Annie Besant appealed for a national convention

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the common roll. The Kenya issue continued to undermine his faith in the empire. The internal reforms in India remained his major preoccupation over the next few years. He participated very actively in the first two round table conferences held between 1930 and 1932 in London for political reforms in India, under the auspices of Ramsay MacDonald’s prime ministership. Sastri played a crucial role in arranging for Irwin and Gandhi to meet, which led to the latter agreeing to participate in the second conference. At these conferences, the aim of dominion status was

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edited the journal, and in its early years Sastri toiled long nights under candlelight in proofreading and performing other labours. He was, and always remained, scrupulous about the use of grammar and vocabulary, no doubt contributing to the journal’s stellar rise in reputation as one of the country’s leading intellectual magazines. Sastri once jokingly attributed the early onset of poor sight to the nightly vigils in service of the Review . 18 He also edited another journal, The Education Review . Later in life, at Gandhi’s request, Sastri spent countless hours

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return made it virtually impossible. They were required to repay the bonus for each family member as well as the total cost of travel. In the case of one family, for instance, the total amount to be returned was £457. By 1930, only 1 per cent of all emigrants were able to return to South Africa. 8 However, Sanyasi’s report, co-written with Banarasidas Chaturvedi, was only published after Sastri’s departure in 1931. While in India, Sanyasi ended up serving a one-year prison term for participating in Gandhi’s civil disobedience movement. On the criticism of the

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defining international conference. 4 The five-day journey to New York was spent in relative luxury, Sastri’s cabin was ‘a commodious little house’. 5 But his mind was uneasy. On the very day Sastri took the ship westwards, the Prince of Wales had travelled eastwards to India as part of his empire-wide tour to show the king’s appreciation of his subjects’ contribution to the war. 6 Sastri had strongly advised against the prince’s visit. 7 Gandhi had announced a boycott. The visit, Sastri reasoned, would provide new momentum to the otherwise declining non

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V.S. Srinivasa Sastri and the Making of Liberal Internationalism
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V.S. Srinivasa Sastri was a celebrated Indian politician and diplomat in the early twentieth century. Despite being hailed as the ‘very voice of international conscience’, he is now a largely forgotten figure.

This book rehabilitates Sastri and offers a diplomatic biography of his years as India’s roving ambassador in the 1920s. It examines his involvement in key conferences and agreements, as well as his achievements in advocating for racial equality and securing the rights of Indians both at home and abroad. It also illuminates the darker side of being a native diplomat, including the risk of legitimizing the colonial project and the contradictions of being treated as an equal on the world stage while lacking equality at home.

In retrieving the legacy of Sastri, the book shows that liberal internationalism is not the preserve of western powers and actors – where it too often represents imperialism by other means – but a commitment to social progress fought at multiple sites and by many protagonists.

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and their activities operated primarily from abroad, mostly in America and Germany. 5 The sole effort at mutiny by the returning Ghadrites had been smothered in its early days. In fact, the two Indias – British as well as princely – had enthusiastically marched their men, money and materiel on the side of the empire. Even the likes of Besant, Tilak and Gandhi, otherwise radically opposed to the government, had appealed for wartime recruitment into the army. Gandhi made the only known exception to his abhorrence for violence and urged Indian men to take up arms

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