The Long Partition and the Making of Modern South Asia: Refugees, Boundaries, Histories

Nation states often shape the boundaries of historical enquiry, and thus silence the very histories that have sutured nations to territorial states India and Pakistan were drawn onto maps in the midst of Partition s genocidal violence and one of the largest displacements of people in the twentieth century Yet this historical specificity of decolonization on the veryNation states often shape the boundaries of historical enquiry, and thus silence the very histories that have sutured nations to territorial states India and Pakistan were drawn onto maps in the midst of Partition s genocidal violence and one of the largest displacements of people in the twentieth century Yet this historical specificity of decolonization on the very making of a nationalized cartography of modern South Asia has largely gone unexamined In this remarkable study based on than two years of ethnographic and archival research, Vazira Fazila Yacoobali Zamindar argues that the combined interventions of the two postcolonial states were enormously important in shaping these massive displacements She examines the long, contentious, and ambivalent process of drawing political boundaries and making distinct nation states in the midst of this historic chaos.Zamindar crosses political and conceptual boundaries to bring together oral histories with north Indian Muslim families divided between the two cities of Delhi and Karachi with extensive archival research in previously unexamined Urdu newspapers and government records of India and Pakistan She juxtaposes the experiences of ordinary people against the bureaucratic interventions of both postcolonial states to manage and control refugees and administer refugee property As a result, she reveals the surprising history of the making of the western Indo Pak border, one of the most highly surveillanced in the world, which came to be instituted in response to this refugee crisis, in order to construct national difference where it was the most blurred.In particular, Zamindar examines the Muslim question at the heart of Partition From the margins and silences of national histories, she draws out the resistance, bewilderment, and marginalization of north Indian Muslims as they came to be pushed out and divided by both emergent nation states It is here that Zamindar asks us to stretch our understanding of Partition violence to include this long, and in some sense ongoing, bureaucratic violence of postcolonial nationhood, and to place Partition at the heart of a twentieth century of border making and nation state formation.
The Long Partition and the Making of Modern South Asia Refugees Boundaries Histories Nation states often shape the boundaries of historical enquiry and thus silence the very histories that have sutured nations to territorial states India and Pakistan were drawn onto maps in the midst

  • Title: The Long Partition and the Making of Modern South Asia: Refugees, Boundaries, Histories
  • Author: Vazira Fazila-Yacoobali Zamindar
  • ISBN: 9780231138475
  • Page: 143
  • Format: Paperback
  • 1 thought on “The Long Partition and the Making of Modern South Asia: Refugees, Boundaries, Histories”

    1. A superb academic monograph. Meticulously researched and cogently written. Zamindar makes a compelling case that the nation-states of India and Pakistan were not yet fully formed in August 1947 when the subcontinent was partitioned and these two countries attained independence. Rather, this was a long partition as in the years immediately following Partition, both India and Pakistan struggled to control the flow of people, police their borders, and articulate their definitions of citizenship.Zam [...]

    2. Lots of books focus on the emotional aspects of the partition. This one goes one step further, and analyzes in depth how to fledgling nation states handled a problem that was unprecedented. Learnt some startling facts though. Ind and Pak agreed to complete transfer of populations in the Punjab Incredulous. Jinnah's divisive politics proclaiming a nation for muslims was a stunning political move, but not one that was well thought out through the end. It became immediately obvious that a new natio [...]

    3. Mandatory reading. Chronicles the sequence of policies and bureacratic decisions that solidified national identity in South Asia from 1947-1960. Illuminates the predicament facing many North Indian Muslims at the time of Partition and the role the state played in dispossessing and fracturing these families. Both states come out looking like the hypocritical violent bourgeois apparatus that they are. It astonishes me how easily both states wished to exclude people from their countries on the grou [...]

    4. If I'm being honest, it's not the book's fault. I was seeking a more, and again I must be honest here, detailed and gory accounting of Partition as it was experienced gruesomely by those affected. This is a more academic, very dry accounting of the notions of citizenship, the myriad gray zones created in bureaucracy, and the respective courts ad hoc reaction to how Partition was experienced. No fault of Zamindar's, but this is something I would have enjoyed more in grad school with colleagues to [...]

    5. An excellent historical and ethnographic book on the ways in which both India and Pakistan constructed their nation-ness through the use of refugee camps, passports, ID's, and borders. Goes against the grain of many of the existing historical books on the Partition which focus on the explicit violence. Zamindar's book is on on the day to day implicit violences of the modern state in attempting to craft a sense of identity and citizenship.

    6. Without much basic understanding of Partition itself (apart from what is talked about in Midnight's Children) it was difficult to delve into a more academic text. But many of the specific case studies were interesting as we see the array of effects an event like this has on a population. It's also hard to imagine how something like this can be handled efficiently by a government as little precedent exists. Also, not quite the Brown girl magnet I hoped it would be.

    7. Meticulously researched and littered with numbers that enforce the authors opinions, which is rare for a partition era book. Unlike most other books written on this tumultuous era, this one has the right balance of tragic personal anecdotes and intricate details on the administrative policies by both countries.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *