Throughout the vast literature on British and general imperialism, the emphasis is largely upon the winning, then subsequent loss, of political control by the imperial power in colonial settings. Consequently, debate about the accession to that power has revolved largely about the great triad of considerations: economic necessity, strategic calculation, and civilising zeal. Similarly, discussion of emergent nationalist movements has hinged upon remarkably similar lines: Was the leadership of those movements motivated solely by ideologically inspired desires for independence, by the ambition to command the new sources of economic wealth developed under imperial rule, or by a simple thrust for political power to protect other interests? These are generalisations certainly, but, to take India as a case in point, much of the modern historiography has been concerned to demonstrate either how Britain “lost” or how the Indian National Congress “won” that power. But among such generalisations upon the British imperial experience, one interesting question has gone begging.