Modern South Asian Studies seminar MT21 Wk 4: The Lessons of 1950: Partition, and the making of the India- Pakistan Dynamic

Conveners: Nayanika Mathur, Imre Bangha, Kira Huju, Thiruni Kelegama and Anwesha Roy

Speaker: Pallavi Raghavan (Ashoka University, Delhi)

The years that immediately followed their partition offer many interesting insights into the shaping of the India- Pakistan dynamic. Although both countries went to war over Kashmir within a few months of their independence, there were also parallel processes of collaborative dialogue based on the requirements of state consolidation. A host of issues relating to the position of minorities; their rights and access over property; corresponding decisions on formulating the rules for citizenship, as well as discussions on new frameworks for Inter- Dominion trade and water sharing, were thus the subject of dense negotiation between the governments of India and Pakistan in 1948- 52. These questions have gained renewed relevance and salience in recent years, as the hard-won gains of the partition settlements of 1950 have been subjected to renewed questioning, based on the attempt to rethink the values of the rationale for seeking a peaceful resolution to Partition. In this talk, I would like to explore the lessons that the early 1950s offer us for the building of a collaborative framework of dialogue by two post partition states.

Pallavi Raghavan is assistant professor of international relations at Ashoka University, Delhi. Her book, titled Animosity at Bay: An Alternative History of the India-Pakistan Relationship, 1947 - 1952 was published in 2020, by Hurst& Co. (UK), and OUP (Global). Her current project looks at how experiences of Partition can be compared in different contexts, such as Ireland, Palestine, and South Asia. She is interested in developing a broader history of the British Empire’s theories of partition in the twentieth century.

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