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date: 23 April 2019

Abstract and Keywords

There are compelling reasons for giving decolonization in South Asia special attention in this volume. India was the first colony to achieve independence, albeit as two separate nation states, India and Pakistan. Britain’s abrupt withdrawal from India after the Second World War—so swift that many have denounced it as a scuttle—raised questions that have helped frame the debate about decolonization, not just in India but elsewhere. Straddling the themes of colonial collapse and imperial legacies that inform the volume as a whole, this chapter focuses on the origins, impact, and aftermath of Indian partition. It considers South Asia’s experience of decolonization from the perspective of the populations most directly affected, notably in the Punjab and Bengal.

Keywords: India, British Empire, partition, Punjab, Bengal, massacre, refugees, Congress, Gandhi, Pakistan

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