What Brexit shares with the calamitous partition of British India

Describing Britain's calamitous exit from its Indian empire in 1947, the novelist Paul Scott wrote that in India, the British "came to the end of themselves as they were" - that is, to the end of their exalted idea about themselves.

Scott was among those shocked by how hastily and ruthlessly the British, who had ruled India for more than a century, condemned it to fragmentation and anarchy; how Louis Mountbatten came to preside, as the last British viceroy of India, over the destiny of some 400 million people.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 19, 2019, with the headline 'What Brexit shares with the calamitous partition of British India'. Print Edition | Subscribe