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The establishment of the Indian National Congress in 1885 marked a turning point in modern South Asian history. At the time, few grasped the significance of the event, nor understood the power that its leader would come to wield. From humble beginnings, the Congress led by Gandhi would go on to spearhead India s fight for independence from British rule: in 1947 it succeeded the British Raj as the regional ruling power. Ian Copland provides both a narrative and analysis of the process by which Indians and Pakistanis emancipated themselves from the seemingly iron-clad yoke of British imperialism. In so doing, he goes to the heart of what sets modern India apart from most other countries in the region its vigorous democracy.