Legacies of Partition for India and Pakistan

  • Ian Talbot University of Southampton
Keywords: migration, ethnic nationalism, religious nationalism, Partition, violence


South Asia’s political and socio-economic landscape has been greatly transformed in the seven decades since India and Pakistan achieved their independence. Nonetheless, many features are only explicable with reference to the legacies of the 1947 Partition. This essay traces these legacies with respect to ethnic and religious nationalism, state construction and the contrasting trajectories with respect to democratic consolidation. It argues that while the recent scholarship has acknowledged the enduring presence of the Partition on the lives of refugees and their descendants, accounts of its ongoing impact on statecraft are less developed. It is only when such legacies are analyzed that a fuller understanding is possible both of domestic developments and of the enduring rivalry between the two states.

Author Biography

Ian Talbot, University of Southampton

is a Professor of Modern British History at the University of Southampton where he was formerly Head of Department and Director of the Centre for Imperial and Post-Colonial Studies and Director of the Humanities Graduate School. He has published and researched extensively in the fields of Colonial Punjab History, the 1947 Partition of India and the History of Pakistan. His most recent publications include: A History of Modern South Asia: Politics, States, Diasporas (Yale 2016) and (with Tahir Kamran) Lahore in the Time of the Raj (Penguin, 2016).


Ahmed I., Pakistan The Garrison State. Origins, Evolution, Consequences, 1847-2011, Karachi 2013.

Anand D., Hindu Nationalism in India and the Politics of Fear, Basingstoke 2011. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230339545

Ansari S., “Identity Politics and Nation-Building in Pakistan: The Case of Sindhi Nationalism”, in R.D. Long et al. (eds.), State and Nation-Building in Pakistan. Beyond Islam and Security, London 2016.

Aziz K.K., The Pakistani Historian. Pride and Prejudice in the Writing of History, Lahore 1993.

Aziz M., Military Control. The Parallel State, London 2008. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203933572

Baxter C., The Jana Sangh. A Biography of an Indian Political Party, Philadelphia 1969. DOI: https://doi.org/10.9783/9781512800326

Bhagat R., “Partition Ethnographies: Food and Memories Across Borders”, in I. Talbot (ed.), The Independence of India and Pakistan. New Approaches and Reflections, Karachi 2013.

Bose S., Kashmir – Roots of Conflict, Paths to Peace, Cambridge, Mass. 2003.

Butalia U., The Other Side of Silence. Voices from the Partition of India, New Delhi 1988.

Chatterji J., The Spoils of Partition. Bengal and India, 1947-1967, Cambridge 2007. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511497384

Chester L., On the Edge: Borders, Territory and Conflict in South Asia, Manchester 2008.

Corbridge S., Harriss J., Reinventing India. Liberalisation, Hindu Nationalism and Popular Democracy, Cambridge 2000.

Datta V.N., “Punjabi Refugees and Urban Development of Greater Delhi”, in R.E. Frykenberg (ed.), Delhi Through the Ages. Essays on Urban History, Culture, and Society, Delhi 1986.

Dixit J.N., India-Pakistan in War and Peace, London 2002. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203301104

Fazila-Yacoobali Zamindar V., The Long Partition and the Making of Modern South Asia. Refugees, Boundaries, Histories, New York 2007.

Ganguly S., The Crisis in Kashmir. Portents of War, Hopes of Peace, Cambridge 1997.

Ghosh P., “Partition’s Biharis”, Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, vol. 17, no. 2 (1997), https://doi.org/10.1215/1089201X-17-2-21. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1215/1089201X-17-2-21

Ghosh P., Partition and the South Asian Diaspora: Extending the Subcontinent, London 2007.

Haqqani H., Pakistan – between Mosque and Military, Washington 2005.

Hassan R. (ed.), Indian Muslims. Struggling for Equality of Citizenship, Carlton 2016.

Jalal A., The State of Martial Rule. The Origins of Pakistan’s Political Economy of Defence, Cambridge 1990.

Javid H., “Class, Power and Patronage: The Landed Elite and Politics in Pakistan”, unpublished PhD thesis, London School of Economic, June 2012.

Jeffrey R., What’s Happening to India? Punjab, Ethnic Conflict, Mrs. Gandhi’s Death and the Test for Federalism, Basingstoke 1986.

Kaur R., Since 1947. Partition Narratives among Punjabi Migrants of Delhi, New Delhi 2007. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195683776.001.0001

Kothari R., “The Congress ‘System” in India’, in idem (ed.), Party Systems and Election Studies (=Occasional Papers of the Center for Developing Societies, no. 1), Bombay 1967.

Kumar A., “Post-Partition Refugees from NWFP in Delhi: An Ignored and Underplayed History of Dalit Refugees”, Proceedings of the Indian History Congress, vol. 72, part-II (2011).

Lall M., “Educate to Hate: The Use of Education in the Creation of Antagonistic National Identities in India and Pakistan”, Compare, vol. 38, no. 1 (2008), https://doi.org/10.1080/03057920701467834. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/03057920701467834

Malhotra A., Remnants of a Separation. A History of Partition Through Material Objects Noida 2017.

Maniruzzaman T., The Bangladesh Revolution and its Aftermath, Dhaka 1980.

Manor J., “Anomie in Indian Politics: Origins and Potential Wider Impact”, Economic and Political Weekly, vol. 18, no. 19/21 (1983).

Maxwell N., India, Nagas and the North-East, London 1980.

Mazari S., The Kargil Conflict, 1999. Separating Fact from Fiction, Islamabad 2003.

McGrath A., The Destruction of Pakistan’s Democracy, Karachi 1996.

Menon R., Bhasin K., Borders and Boundaries. Women in India’s Partition, New Brunswick, NJ 1998.

Minority Rights Group International, A Narrowing Space: Violence and Discrimination against India’s Religious Minorities, June 2017, at <https://minorityrights.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/MRG_Rep_India_Jun17-2.pdf>, 7 January 2018.

Mitra S.K., Lewis R.A. (eds.), Subnational Movements in South Asia, Boulder 1996.

Muhammad Ali C., The Emergence of Pakistan, New York 1967.

Nasr S.V.R., Maududi and the Making of Islamic Revolution, Oxford 1996.

Nayyar A.H., Salim A. (eds.), The Subtle Subversion. The State of Curricula and Textbooks in Pakistan, Urdu, English, Social Studies and Civics, Islamabad 2003.

Pandey G., “Can a Muslim Be an Indian?”, Comparative Studies in Society and History, vol. 41, no. 4 (1999). DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0010417599003072

Post Sachar Evaluation Committee, Report, New Delhi 2014.

Racine J.-L., “Pakistan and the ‘India Syndrome’: Between Kashmir and the Nuclear Predicament”, in C. Jaffrelot (ed.), Pakistan. Nationalism without a Nation?, New Delhi 2002.

Rieck A., The Shias of Pakistan. An Assertive and Beleaguered Minority, London 2015. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190240967.001.0001

Saeed N., Faith Under Fire. A Report on the Second-Class Citizenship and Intimidation of Christians in Pakistan, London 2002.

Samad Y., A Nation in Turmoil. Nationalism and Ethnicity in Pakistan, 1937-1958, New Delhi 1995.

Sarkar B., Kargil War. Past, Present and Future, New Delhi 1999.

Sathyamurthy T.V., “Impact of Centre-State Relations on Indian Politics: An Interpretative Reckoning 1947-1987”, in P. Chatterjee (ed.), State and Politics in India, Delhi 1998.

Schofield V., Kashmir in Conflict. India, Pakistan and the Unending War, London 2003.

Schofield V., Kashmir in the Crossfire, London 1996.

Siddiqa A., Military Inc. – Inside Pakistan’s Military Economy, London 2007.

Singh G., Ethnic Conflict in India. A Case-Study of Punjab, Basingstoke 2000. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/9780333981771

Talbot I., Divided Cities. Partition and its Aftermath in Lahore and Amritsar 1947-1957, Karachi 2006.

Talbot I., “Does the Army Shape Pakistan’s Foreign Policy?”, in C. Jaffrelot (ed.), Pakistan. Nationalism without a Nation?, New Delhi 2002.

Talbot I., India and Pakistan, London 2000.

Talbot I., Khizr Tiwana, the Punjab Unionist Party and the Partition of India, Karachi 2002.

Talbot I., Pakistan. A Modern History, London 2006.

Talbot I., Provincial Politics and the Pakistan Movement. The Growth of the Muslim League in North-West and North-East India, 1937-47, Karachi 1988.

Talbot I., Singh G., The Partition of India, Cambridge 2009.

Tan T.Y., Kudaisya G., The Aftermath of Partition in South Asia, London 2000.

Thandi S.S., “The Unidentical Punjab Twins: Some Explanations of Comparative Agricultural Performances since Partition”, International Journal of Punjab Studies, vol. 4, no. 1 (1997).

Umara B., The Emergence of Bangladesh, Oxford 2004.

Varadarajan S. (ed.), Gujarat – The Making of a Tragedy, New Delhi 2002.

Virdee P., From the Ashes of 1947. Reimagining Punjab, New Delhi 2017. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108552325

Widmalm S., Kashmir in Comparative Perspective. Democracy and Violent Separatism in India, Oxford 2006.

Zaman M.Q., “Sectarianism in Pakistan: The Radicalization of Shi’i and Sunni Identities”, Modern Asian Studies, vol. 32, no. 3 (1998), https://doi.org/10.1017/S0026749X98003217. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0026749X98003217

Zavos J., Emergence of Hindu Nationalism in India, New Delhi 2003.

How to Cite
Talbot, Ian. 2019. “Legacies of Partition for India and Pakistan”. Politeja 16 (2(59), 7-25. https://doi.org/10.12797/Politeja.16.2019.59.01.