Shadow of the Raj: Understanding rule of law and emergency in modern South Asia

Research output: Other contribution


This article reviews Nasser Hussain’s The Jurisprudence of Emergency: Colonialism and the Rule of Law and explores reasons for which it has come to be regarded as a contemporary classic. The article traces the narrative arc of the book, and examines its core themes of “sover- eignty” and “race”, and their impact on the dynamic between “rule of law” and “emergency” in colonial India. It investigates the relevance of the book for understanding Pakistan and India’s struggles with the rule of law, and their distinct experiences of “emergency”. However, it argues that despite being rooted in South Asia, the book speaks to the entire post-colonial experience. Finally, it suggests that the material in the book may be examined afresh and extended in comparative legal studies, in examining the role of rule of law in economic devel- opment, and the disparity in the relationship between the judiciary and executive in Pakistan and India.
Original languageEnglish
TypeBook Review
Media of outputJournal
PublisherIndian Law Review
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 12 Dec 2018


  • Colonialism
  • Comparative Law
  • emergency
  • legal theory
  • post-colonialism
  • rule of law
  • South Asian Studies
  • Sovereignty


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