ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Last Sahibs

Governors in British India, March-August 1947

Little has been written about the role of provincial governors in the closing period of British rule in India with all the emphasis being on the Viceroys. This article instead considers the sahibs in the provinces. When British India came to an end on 15 August 1947, it had 11 provinces under 13 governors (11 Britons, two Indians). These last governors of British India, located in a subjective space, found themselves straddling the dichotomy of the coloniser and the colonised. Based on the hitherto unused private papers and correspondences of Mountbatten and the governors, this article seeks to throw a different light on the engagements of the last days of the British in provincial India, where the rulers of the past (British governors) and rulers of the future (Indian ministers) jostled with each other.

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