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Constitutional Centring: Nation Formation and Consociational Federalism in India and Pakistan

Title:Constitutional Centring: Nation Formation and Consociational Federalism in India and Pakistan
Author:Adeney Katharine
Publication:Commonwealth and Comparative Politics / Routledge(Imprint) of Taylor and Francis Group
Enumeration:Vol. 40, No. 3 pp. 8 - 33 /November 01, 2002
Abstract:This article examines, elucidates and explains the different processes through which India and Pakistan, products of the same colonial regime and institutional frameworks, attempted to create and 'centre' their 'nations'. Both regimes were concerned with state and nation building, and both were ethnically diverse. The Congress and the Muslim League participated in, and influenced the debates on, constitution formation before independence. In assessing the constitutional preferences before independence, especially the Cabinet Mission Plan, this article supports the revisionist account of partition. Jinnah's preference for centralised consociational accommodation was compatible with a united India, whereas Nehru's preference for a centralised majoritarian federation was not. This article questions Lijphart's argument that India should be understood as a confirming case for consociational theory. A central assumption is that decentring of a nation should not be understood in negative terms but has been a force for stabilisation.

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