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The Long Partition and the Making of Modern South Asia: Refugees, Boundaries, Histories (Cultures of History)

4.05  ·  Rating Details  ·  39 Ratings  ·  7 Reviews

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 very

Paperback, 304 pages
Published March 2nd 2010 by Columbia University Press (first published October 12th 2007)
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Mandeep Kalra
Sep 07, 2013 Mandeep Kalra rated it it was amazing
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.

Sep 07, 2015 Nikhil rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, south-asian
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 ...more
Dec 26, 2012 Venkateswaran rated it liked it
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 na
Jan 25, 2016 Eric rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016
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.
Puneet Sharma
Sep 28, 2014 Puneet Sharma rated it really liked it
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.
[review soon. in a few short words: this book blew my mind.]
Dec 23, 2010 Hafsa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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Other Books in the Series

Cultures of History (10 books)
  • Against History, Against State: Counterperspectives from the Margins
  • Creative Pasts: Historical Memory and Identity in Western India, 1700-1960
  • The Ethical Soundscape: Cassette Sermons and Islamic Counterpublics
  • Lineages of Political Society: Studies in Postcolonial Democracy
  • Lines of the Nation: Indian Railway Workers, Bureaucracy, and the Intimate Historical Self
  • Mobile Modernity: Germans, Jews, Trains
  • Monuments, Objects, Histories: Institutions of Art in Colonial and Post-Colonial India
  • Nakba: Palestine, 1948, and the Claims of Memory
  • Tamil Oratory and the Dravidian Aesthetic: Democratic Practice in South India

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