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The Story of Indian Independence and the Creation of Pakistan in 1947
Author: Barney White-Spunner
The International Bestseller 'Barney White-Spunner's book stands out for its judicious and unsparing look at events from a British perspective.' Dominic Sandbrook, Sunday Times Review 'This book is at its most powerful in its month-by-month narrative of how Partition tore apart northern and eastern India, with the new state of Pakistan carved out of communities who had lived together for the past millennium.' Zareer Masani BBC History Magazine 'A highly readable account . . .' Times Literary Review Between January and August 1947 the conflicting political, religious and social tensions in India culminated in independence from Britain and the creation of Pakistan. Those months saw the end of ninety years of the British Raj, and the effective power of the Maharajahs, as the Congress Party established itself commanding a democratic government in Delhi. They also witnessed the rushed creation of Pakistan as a country in two halves whose capitals were two thousand kilometers apart. From September to December 1947 the euphoria surrounding the realization of the dream of independence dissipated into shame and incrimination; nearly 1 million people died and countless more lost their homes and their livelihoods as partition was realized. The events of those months would dictate the history of South Asia for the next seventy years, leading to three wars, countless acts of terrorism, polarization around the Cold War powers and to two nations with millions living in poverty spending disproportionate amounts on their military. The roots of much of the violence in the region today, and worldwide, are in the decisions taken that year. Not only were those decisions controversial but the people who made them were themselves to become some of the most enduring characters of the twentieth century. Gandhi and Nehru enjoyed almost saint like status in India, and still do, whilst Jinnah is lionized in Pakistan. The British cast, from Churchill to Attlee and Mountbatten, find their contribution praised and damned in equal measure. Yet it is not only the national players whose stories fascinate. Many of those ordinary people who witnessed the events of that year are still alive. Although most were, predictably, only children, there are still some in their late eighties and nineties who have a clear recollection of the excitement and the horror. Illustrating the story of 1947 with their experiences and what independence and partition meant to the farmers of the Punjab, those living in Lahore and Calcutta, or what it felt like to be a soldier in a divided and largely passive army, makes the story real. Partition will bring to life this terrible era for the Indian Sub Continent.
Examines the context, execution and aftermath of partition, integrating the knowledge of political manoeuvres with an understanding of their fundamental social and cultural consequences. This account draws together a body of research to reappraise independence and division and reinforce its catastrophic human cost.
The fragmentation of Bengal and Assam in 1947 was a crucial moment in India's socio-political history as a nation state. Both the British Indian provinces were divided as much through the actions of the Muslim League as by those of Congress and the British colonial power. Attributing partition largely to Hindu communalists is, therefore, historically inaccurate and factually misleading. The Partition of Bengal and Assam provides a review of constitutional and party politics as well as of popular attitudes and perceptions. The primary aim of this book is to unravel the intricate socio-economic and political processes that led up to partition, as Hindus and Muslims competed ferociously for the new power and privileges to be conferred on them with independence. As shown in the book, well before they divorced at a political level, Hindus and Muslims had been cleaved apart by their socio-economic differences. Partition was probably inevitable.
The partition of India in 1947 was a seminal event of the twentieth century. Much has been written about the Punjab and the creation of West Pakistan; by contrast, little is known about the partition of Bengal. This remarkable book by an acknowledged expert on the subject assesses the social, economic and political consequences of partition. Using compelling sources, the book, which was originally published in 2007, shows how and why the borders were redrawn, how the creation of new nation states led to unprecedented upheavals, massive shifts in population and wholly unexpected transformations of the political landscape in both Bengal and India. The book also reveals how the spoils of partition, which the Congress in Bengal had expected from the new boundaries, were squandered over the twenty years which followed. This is an intriguing and challenging work whose findings change our understanding and its consequences for the history of the subcontinent.
August 14/15, 1947, reverberates with meaning for Indian and Pakistani people. The date does more than mark the "independence" of India. This momentous time marks the birth of two nation states, India and Pakistan, and is fixed in the memory of many as Partition and end of the Raj. Bearing Witness Partition, Independence, End of the Raj attempts to nuance this historical moment by considering contemporary and post-event responses to Partition, which Indians and Pakistanis have inherited as one of uncontested significance. From testimonials and speeches by Jinnah and Nehru to fictional and non-fictional accounts by Indians and the British, and political cartoons that appeared in English newspapers at the time, Kamra offers an inductive study of primary texts that have been ignored until now. The book studies the three groups most affected by the events of 1947: the British, for whom this was the beginning of exile; the Indian elite, for whom the moment was a rite of passage; and the survivors of Partition, for whom the event is inextricably linked with trauma and loss of home, family, and community. Author Sukeshi Kamra asks, "Why do we not consider these valid and contesting readings in the teaching and learning of our history? Not doing so means that testimonials to Partition, such as narratives of trauma, autobiographies as 'personal' statements on a 'public' moment, and political cartoons as a minute-by-minute construction of history have yet to be considered."
This book draws upon new theoretical insights and fresh bodies of data to historically reappraise partition in the light of its long aftermath. It uses a comparative approach by viewing South Asia in its totality, rather than looking at it in narrow 'national' terms. As the first book to focus on the aftermath of partition, it fills a distinctive niche in the study of contemporary South Asia.
Ranging from the fall of Singapore in 1942 to the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi in 1948, this text provides a vivid behind-the-scenes look at Britain's decision to divest itself from the crown jewel of its empire. Wolpert, a leading authority on Indian history, paints memorable portraits of all the key participants.