Chapter 14
Birth of a Nation -- II

CHAOS is not really a describable thing. The idea of it can be conveyed only by random choice of episodes, considered typical. Some such episodes, with supporting comments, will be offered in this chapter, to exemplify the sort of scene that Pakistan was born into; for the nature, temperament and policies of the Pakistani State cannot be understood unless the circumstances of her birth are kept in mind. Fuller details may be found in other books,1 or in contemporary newspaper accounts. The broad fact about those appalling three or four months, starting early in August 1947, simply is that nauseating brutalities were done on an unprecedented scale, by Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs. Some of the larger slaughters by Hindus and Sikhs had been carefully planned, whereas few if any instances of this sort of wickedness can be found on the Muslim side; but though important, that fact is secondary. And persons in Western countries, disposed at first to feel contempt that such foul things should have been done, may be reminded of things done in Europe, not in far-off times -- such as the seventeenth-century religious wars, to which the Indian subcontinent's experience in the 1940's is sometimes likened -- but recently; and not during temporary gusts of rage and excitement, but calculatingly, over years, as a matter of cold, set policy. Writings such as Lord Russell of Liverpool's, or the evidence at the Eichmann trial, serve as a means of comparing what happened under the Hitler régime in Germany -- now Britain's ally -- and the more hot-blooded atrocities in South Asia during the same decade.

Foreign newspaper correspondents at Partition-time were torn between determination to see conditions in and around the Punjab for themselves, and fear that, if they went far from their base at Delhi, disrupted communications would prevent their dispatches reaching their offices as soon as their rivals'. Several however managed long journeys. Perhaps the best of the resulting articles were those for The Times by Ian Morrison, who had previously been its war correspondent in North Africa, Burma and elsewhere.2 The following

____________________
1
e.g. Tuker's, Campbell-Johnson's, Menon's, Ismay's, Moon's.
2
He was later killed while its war correspondent in Korea.

-182-

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Pakistan
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Contents ix
  • Maps 10
  • Part I 11
  • Chapter I - The Idea 13
  • Chapter 2 - The Land 33
  • Chapter 3 - Some Social Problems 48
  • Part II 67
  • Chapter 4 - Retrospect, 1857-1946 69
  • Chapter 5 - Towards Civil War 80
  • Chapter 6 - Trouble in the Armed Forces 86
  • Chapter 7 - The Cabinet Mission's Plan 96
  • Chapter 8 - Civil War -- I 108
  • Chapter 9 - Change of Viceroys 120
  • Chapter 10 - The Sikh Problem 131
  • Chapter II - Civil War -- II 137
  • Chapter 12 - Civil War -- III 147
  • Part III 167
  • Chapter 13 - Birth of a Nation -- I 169
  • Chapter 14 - Birth of a Nation -- II 182
  • Chapter 15 - Mainly About Kashmir 192
  • Chapter 16 - Defence and Foreign Affairs 212
  • Chapter 17 - Some Economic Problems 223
  • Chapter 28 - Politics and Constitution, 1947-58 229
  • Chapter 19 - Military Revolution 246
  • Postscript 262
  • Bibliography 265
  • Maps 269
  • Index 271
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