The political development of India during the first half of the twentieth century was conditioned by constitutional reforms introduced by the British rulers, and by a vigorous agitation for national freedom. A constitution is a normative description of existing or intended relationships of political power; under the circumstances prevailing in India at that time, such a description was bound to be challenged again and again by an agitation for the revision of the status quo. In this way a peculiar relationship developed between constitutional reform and agitational advance. The constitutional reforms were designed to fulfill agitational demands on the one hand and to forestall more extreme demands on the other. Therefore they conformed to agitational patterns. In a similar way, the agitation was conditioned by the particular circumstances created by each constitutional reform; the constitution of the national movement itself, i.e., of the Indian National Congress, had to be adapted to the new situation whenever constitutional reforms were at stake. Finally when independence was achieved, an Indian Constituent Assembly adopted a constitution which closely resembled the previous constitutional structure introduced by British Acts of Parliament.

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