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Constitution-making in Asia : Decolonisation and State-building in the Aftermath of the British Empire
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This book examines the process of constitutional formation in the era of decolonisation and state building in Asia. Britain’s main imperial possessions in the region were granted independence in the 1940s and 1950s and needed to craft constitutions for their new states. Invariably the indigenous elites drew upon British constitutional ideas and institutions regardless of the political conditions that prevailed in their very different lands. India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Nepal all called upon the services of one English Law Professor Sir Ivor Jennings either to advise, draft, consult, represent or at least refer to, in their own constitution-making. He was one of the 20th century most prolific and prominent constitutional scholars, and his opinion and influence were often controversial since he was British. Though he worked separately of HMG, he nonetheless impressed upon the colonial elites he advised the Westminster system for their often very different contexts.
Contributions to this book shed light upon the influence and participation of Sir Ivor Jennings in particular and British ideas in general on democracy and institutions across the Asian continent. Critical cases studies on India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Nepal – all linked by Britain and Jennings – assess the distinctive methods and outcomes of constitution making and how British ideas fared in these states. Thematic chapters on Human Rights, Nationalism, Ethnic politics, Federalism, Foreign influence, Decolonisation, Authoritarianism, the Rule of Law and the power of key constitutional actors and institutions complete the book.
The first political, historical or constitutional analysis comparing Asia’s experience with its indelible British constitutional legacy, this book is a critical resource and assessment on state building and constitution making in Asia following independence.