The Aftermath of Partition in South Asia (Routledge Studies by Gyanesh Kudaisya, Tan Tai Yong

By Gyanesh Kudaisya, Tan Tai Yong

This booklet attracts upon new theoretical insights and clean our bodies of knowledge to traditionally reappraise partition within the mild of its lengthy aftermath. It makes use of a comparative strategy via viewing South Asia in its totality, instead of it in slim 'national' phrases. because the first publication to target the aftermath of partition, it fills a particular area of interest within the examine of latest South Asia.

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From a mere exploration of these, one is struck by the fact that the meanings and memories of the events are constructed quite differently from the narratives which history textbooks convey. It is now well recognized that to an overwhelming number of people across much of the northern part of the subcontinent, the event signified partition (vibhajan or batwara) rather than the coming of independence (azadi). In the more than fifty years which have since elapsed, this bipolarity in the reconstruction of the event has been accentuated.

16 THE AFTERMATH OF PARTITION IN SOUTH ASIA It is well known that discourses of nation-states are inevitably nurtured by telos. In the South Asian case the teleology surrounding independence and partition has been particularly enduring. The chronology of modern histories of India and Pakistan have been set up in such a manner that their narratives reach a climax at independence and partition. Past events and movements are cast in a unilinear movement inching towards their ‘tryst’ in 1947. They are analysed not in their own terms, but as aiding or impeding the onward march towards nationhood.

In conclusion it may be prudent to enter a few caveats. It needs to be clarified that the themes elucidated in Chapters Two to Eight are intended to give a sense of the historical change that accompanied and followed partition. It is hoped that 26 THE AFTERMATH OF PARTITION IN SOUTH ASIA the picture which they collectively draw will enable some appreciation of the scale and quality of transformations— demographic, social, economic and political— which the South Asian region experienced as a result of partition.

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