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The Great Partition: The Making of India and Pakistan [Paperback]

Yasmin Khan
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
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Book Description

8 Aug 2008
The partition of India in 1947 promised its people both political and religious freedom - through the liberation of India from British rule, and the creation of the Muslim state of Pakistan. In reality the geographical divide effected an even greater schism of the population, benefiting the few at the expense of the very many, exposing huge numbers of the population to desperate and devastating consequences. Thousands of women were raped, at least one million people were killed, and ten- to fifteen-times that number were forced to leave their homes as refugees. It was one of the first, the most bloody, and remains one of the most significant, events of decolonisation in the twentieth century.In "Partition: A People's History", Yasmin Khan examines the context, execution and aftermath of partition, integrating an incisive knowledge of political manoeuvres with a deeply-felt understanding of their fundamental social and cultural consequences. She exposes the obliviousness of the small elite driving division, as well as the majority of activists on both sides, to what partition would entail in practice and its effects on the populace. Its repercussions still resound today.Published to coincide with the 60th anniversary of partition, Yasmin Khan's personal account draws together a fresh and considerable body of research, including many new interviews, newspaper extracts and archival sources, to reappraise independence and division and reinforce its catastrophic human cost. Intelligent, terrifying, wise and timely, "Partition: A People's History" is a testament to a country and people who were brutally and recklessly ripped apart.

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The Great Partition: The Making of India and Pakistan + Indian Summer: The Secret History of the End of an Empire + Raj: The Making and Unmaking of British India
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Product details

  • Paperback: 250 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (8 Aug 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300143338
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300143331
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 15.5 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 323,910 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

`Khan ... attempt[s] to untangle the causes and effects of the exceptional violence, and [does] so rigorously and even-handedly.'
-- Siddhartha Deb, London Review of Books, 1st January 2009

About the Author

Yasmin Khan is Lecturer in Politics, Royal Holloway, University of London.

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
"Partition is a lasting lesson of both the dangers of imperial hubris and the reactions of extreme nationalism".

Ms. Khan's account of the destruction (and a little of the re-emergence) of stable feelings of belonging in South Asia is both searing in narrative and reflective of the dangers of haste at the top, both British and indigenous, to ordinary people compelled to live with the consequences of inadequately and simplistically visualized change. So much of the published history to date in English of the events before, during, and after Partition is about the dilemmas of the well-known figures who brought on, or tried to navigate, the always difficult passage from colonial empire to swaraj, self-rule. Ms. Khan takes a very valuable and radically different approach. Her book's narrative themes are developed from comments by, for the most part, middle class people contending with monstrous waves of fear, doubt, worry, anxiety, agony, and desperation.

The Great Partition tells how the ideas of Pakistan and swaraj triggered calamities that, with today's knowledge of cultural, linguistic, and religious development paths, could have been predicted. That they were not then is testimony to how much has since been learned by innumerable social scientists working in subjects barely conceived in the late 1940s as Pakistan and India began to emerge as independent states. Ms. Khan has rendered not only all those affected by Partition, but anyone charged with or aspiring to leadership, a service of great value. That she should be so young is especially good news, for what depth and breadth of insight can we expect from her next?
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good introduction 6 Aug 2008
Format:Hardcover
An excellent history of the partition and somewhat uniquely the author tries make this a social history. The intricacies of deal nor the personal politics of the big players are not covered but you do get a sense of what the situation was like on the ground. However Yasmin Khan seems to get stuck between writing a full social history and straight forward linear one and as a result we sometimes only get a glimpse of both. Ideally this book should be slightly longer and focus more on what was happening on the ground, as it stands it makes for an excellent introduction to the subject though we are left wanting for more.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The human element of partition 27 Mar 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is fantastic as its one of those rare one that includes the storied of ordinary citizens in the partition of India. The book focuses primarily on the partition of Punjab and Bengal but also covers a lot of the violence in places such as Delhi, Bombay, Nagpur, UP, etc. A very balanced opinion is given where Hindu's Muslims and Sikhs are blamed for the violence. Not even in their wildest nightmares could the British have imagined what was to come when date for British withdrawal was announced. As you would expect there are many stories of savagery and acts that can only be classed as evil. But in amonst those are also stories of people who protected and saved communities from another religion. The interesting thing to come out quite clearly in this book was that muslims were glad the partition had been agreed but those who lived on the wrong side of the border never imagined for a moment that their area wouldn't be in the newly create Pakistan. Up until that point the border was imagined by most to include vast expanses of land which never materialised. The distrust of Congress and the Muslim League comes through very clearly and goes to show that partition was inevitable once the trust had vanished.
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Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
i am delighted to have a copy of this book as i want to know all about the partition of india as much as possible from an authentic impersonal & honest historian. i am very very much impressed with the lucid style of the writing of english of the authoress. i have not finished reading the whole book yet. so i would like to send you another note of appreciation later.
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