Weiyan Sun

‘Culture, Civilization, and Christianity: “Anti-Mission” in Lord Salisbury’s Policy towards India’ (PhD in History, 2019).

This research aims to explore the internal tensions of British imperialism by revealing the conflicts over the meanings and values of British civilising mission in India. It expounds the seemingly inconsistent and controversial policy of Lord Salisbury towards India, with a special emphasis on the differences between the Conservatives and the Liberals. By doing so, this research examines the extent to which the Secretary of State – working under the constraints of parliamentary politics while often faced with countervailing views of his collaborators in both Britain and India – was committed to the ‘civilising mission’ in India. By extension, it investigates the elements that encouraged or discouraged such a ‘civilising mission’. Moreover, it attempts to interpret the principles behind Lord Salisbury’s policy-making when he was dealing with Indian issues liable to cause tensions and contention. As Indian Secretary, Salisbury exerted an all-encompassing influence on British policy towards India. The cooperation and friction between Salisbury and the Viceroys of different parties provide one of the best opportunities to examine the paradoxes and tensions in British imperial policy towards India. The breadth of Salisbury’s understanding and the detail that he was able to absorb on a wide range of Indian and imperial issues at this time are valuable to the elucidation of the ‘anti-mission’ in British imperialism.