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The 1947 Partition of India: A Paradigm For Pathological Politics in India And Pakistan

Title:The 1947 Partition of India: A Paradigm For Pathological Politics in India And Pakistan
Author:Ishtiaq Ahmed
Publication:Asian Ethnicity / Routledge, part of the Taylor & Francis Group
Enumeration:Vol. 3, No. 1 pp. 9 - 28 /March 2002
Abstract:This article seeks to shed light on the role a particular historical event can play in conferring legitimacy to the politics of communal and national animosities and hostilities. The Partition of India in 1947 was, on the one hand, a gory consummation of a long process of mutual demonising and dehumanising by Hindu and Muslim extremists. On the other, in the post-independence era, it became a model of violent conflict resolution invoked and emulated by ethnic and religious extremists and the hawkish establishments of India and Pakistan. The paper argues that the Partition of India epitomises the politics of identity in its most negative form: when trust and understanding have been undermined and instead fear and insecurity reign supreme, generating angst at various levels of state and society. In the process, a pathological socio-political system comes into being. I try to show how such a system functions within the domestic sphere as well as in India-Pakistan political interaction.

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