Designing India: Ideas, Ideologies, and the Making of the Postcolonial State, 1946-1950


ACLS Fellowship Program




This project explores the defining debates that took place in India between 1946 and 1950, when a post-colonial constituent assembly, working within the context of remnant British bureaucracy, was mandated to determine the parameters of the emerging national entity. The assembly had to design India, to will it into creation, by defining concepts of citizenship, justice and rights. This project analyzes the ideas and ideologies that were used in assembly debates and related public and private discourse, and discuss the range and limits of an exchange that led to the creation of the state’s constitution, a first in the decolonizing world. In essence, this is a first-of-its-kind intellectual history of India in this formative phase of its evolution.