ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Legacy of Partition

Foundations of the Indian Nation

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The EPW is grateful to Anwesha Sengupta, guest editor of the Special Issue on Nation-making in Partitioned India.

The celebration of 70 years of independence in 2017 did not remain confined to India and Pakistan; it was observed with much fanfare, ironically enough, in Britain as well. Yet, these fell short of being euphoric, not least because of a lingering discomfort with the events that accompanied the experience of decolonisation. Nation-making in postcolonial South Asia not only had to deal with the long legacy of colonial rule, it had to meet the challenges thrown up by the dislocations that accompanied the vivisection of British India into two nation states. Independence and partition were inseparable processes. Historical scholarship continues to grapple with the challenge of bringing these together in the analyses of the polities that emerged with the eclipse of the British Empire in the subcontinent. This special issue brings together a collection of articles that attempts to address this challenge by examining how partition shaped nation-making processes in postcolonial India in a variety of contexts.

Three distinct phases may be identified in the ever-expanding scholarship on Indias partition. In the first wave, historians occupied themselves with ascertaining responsibility for the partitioning of the subcontinent. With a focus on high politics, these scholars examined in great detail the role of the British government, the major all-India political parties, and prominent personalities in shaping the way India was partitioned, and the turmoil that it precipitated (Page 1982; Jalal 1985; Singh 1987; Mahajan 2000).

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Published On : 20th Jan, 2024

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