‘The role of any democratic country, with a well-defined rule of law, is to protect ALL its citizens, ensuring that their rights and freedoms are safeguarded. It is in fact difficult to imagine these lands without the heterogeneity that forms the essence of being South Asian. It is this vibrancy and diversity that gives it character and strength. To move toward a homogenous culture is not only problematic but also dangerous because it is based on exclusivity.’
© 2014 Pippa Virdee
In the midst of the monsoon of August 1947, British India ceased to be and gave way to two independent nations. The logic of this Partition being religious and regional, the older and larger India was reinforced as a Hindu majoritarian society, while the newer and smaller Pakistan emerged as an Islamic country. No Partitions are total and absolute but this one was especially terrible and ambiguous and left a little less-or-more than 20% religious minority population on both sides. Moreover, it created two wings of Pakistan with a hostile Indian body-politic in the midst.
This event was not entirely of sub-continental making. The British Empire in Asia had begun to crack at the hands of the Japanese army during World War Two, most spectacularly with the fall of Singapore in February 1942, and crumbled in South Asia afterwards. Along with India and Pakistan, the-then Burma…
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