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Empire in Retreat

The Story of India’s Partition
Rabia Umar Ali
The Indian subcontinent of 1947 became the burial place of the British Raj. The struggle for freedom and independence had culminated in the creation of two new and sovereign states, India and Pakistan. But the dawn of liberty brought with it a human tragedy of colossal magnitude of which contemporary history has no parallel. The violence, mass migrations, rape, arson and killings that accompanied partition, all spoke of the stupendous price that was paid by millions to drive the British out and attain the choice of self rule. The hasty British departure wrecked the partition of India and made a farce of planning for one of the most significant developments of the twentieth century. It was by no means given the priority and attention that such an enormous event deserved. Moreover, the imperial inclination towards the Indian National Congress in all matters of planning, consultation, decision making and implementation do not speak of a fair and neutral arbitration of Indian destiny. The ‘swing speed’ with which the plan was put together, the unbridled haste with which the day of freedom was announced, the unpardonable rush in which a land of millions was dissected, the hurried retreat that betrayed a dying Raj and the injudicious distribution of the goods, resources and assets of the subcontinent all contributed to a huge disaster. The results of such a planning failure were carnage, disruption and a complete breakdown of law and order, as was manifest in the final implementation. The gloom and sorrow that sullied the dawn of independence could not destroy the will and hope of the nations freed from long bondage, yet it helped little in embarking upon an auspicious new journey of sovereign existence. The ‘Plan’, inherently flawed both in making and content, which was so proudly carved out by the ‘best surgeons of India’, carried within it the seeds of protracted conflict and violent friction. The legacy of mutual hate and distrust thus initiated between the two states became the burden of a forced baggage that has made the peace and prosperity of the region a lost dream. And the blame rests mainly on the departing authorities, for which there is no possibility of redemption.
Author Description
Rabia Umar Ali is Assistant Professor, History department, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad. She holds a Masters and PhD in History and has published several papers on different aspects of Partition in national and international journals. She has also written on the French and Russian revolutions and Pakistan’s nuclear programme. Rabia has been a Fulbright Fellow at the Fulbright American Studies Institute and Charles Wallace Fellow for Pakistan at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. She participated on Pakistan’s behalf in a workshop on ‘Religion in the United States: Pluralism and Public Presence’ at the University of California, Santa Barbara, USA.
PKR 150
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More Information
ISBN 9780199066087
Weight in kg 0.405
Rights World
Year of Publication 2012
Binding Hardback
Pages 204 pages