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India in the Shadows of EmpireA Legal and Political History (1774–1950)$
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Mithi Mukherjee

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780198062509

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198062509.001.0001

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‘Vakil Raj’

‘Vakil Raj’

The Indian National Congress and the Birth of the Lawyer as Political Representative

(p.105) 4 ‘Vakil Raj’
India in the Shadows of Empire

Mithi Mukherjee

Oxford University Press

Chapter 3 discusses how notions of justice, equity, and liberty that were introduced in India by the British Empire in the wake of the 1857 Revolt were mediated by the figure of the monarch. This chapter focuses on how that historical mediation overdetermined the origin and nature of the Indian National Congress, the most powerful political party in colonial India that came to be founded in 1888. It argues that the discourse of the Indian National Congress was firmly lodged within an epistemologico-juridical paradigm determined by the telos and procedures of justice as equity and liberty. This juridical paradigm explains why the lawyer emerged in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as the dominant enunciative persona for the articulation of political discourse. It also explains why the Indian National Congress, even as it opposed the colonial regime, continued to operate within an imperial juridical framework grounded in the figure of the monarch.

Keywords:   Indian National Congress, colonial India, political parties, justice, equity, liberty, lawyers, political discourse, monarch

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