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The partitioning of India in 1947 is widely noted as a defining moment in the history of the sub-continent. It is possibly still playing itself out over the last seven decades and more, as people of the sub-continent come to terms with who they are and what they stand for. In a wider sense, therefore, a better understanding of the events leading up to the Partition should lead to a better understanding why we are where we are today, or will be in the foreseeable future.
This work attempts to weave together the strands of history from the Vedic times, and those of Gautama Buddha and Bhagwan Mahavira to the Mauryan Empire and later, and even early history of Islam in general, and of Islam in India, and facets of British rule, to provide a context to the core issue of the Partition. It goes on to examine the many circumstances and factors –some known, some poorly known, or plain unknown, which led to that traumatic event. It is tempting to say that the Partition, after all,was a plain sum-total of the effects of these many factors. That would be denying the “balance of evidence”, and the relatively higher weightage that ought to be given to some aspects, for the disproportionate role they played in the key period of the 1930s and40s. This, then, is an attempt at all that, on the premise that abetter understanding should lead to a more reasoned and rational acceptance of reality of life on the sub-continent.
Prosenjit Das Gupta
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