Rebecca Solnit’s honors project on the India Lobby in America described a very interesting time in history. The premise that Indians in America took part in the independence of India from the British Empire places an fascinating emphasis on the power of lobbying, a form of soft power not always given much credit by scholars. History, as Rebecca shows, sometimes requires taking an incredibly narrow subject in order to understand the bigger picture, in this case being India’s independence. Her cast of characters was well-chosen, in my opinion, and her exploration of the movement’s events was well-organized.
When a fellow classmate of mine noted that the India lobby in Great Britain may offer another vein of interest to her project, I very much agreed. The practice of lobbying in America today would also offer relevance to the historical assessment of lobbying before India’s independence. Being that I am personally interested in how soft power such as this affects international relations, I would like to explore the opinions and theories of scholars regarding the importance, or insignificance, of lobbying regarding policy. Public opinion and its reflection in government strategy has implications for everyone, as it shows that someone on an individual level can have some sort of effect on a much broader event or policy. Rebecca does a good job of placing importance on this, as even her opening line to her proposal notes that foreign policy should have a basis in public opinion. Her historical project on the India Lobby has a wonderful start, I believe, and will offer a unique perspective on the broader subject of Indian independence from Great Britain.