By Neeti Nair

Changing Homelands deals a startling new point of view on what used to be and used to be no longer politically attainable in overdue colonial India. during this hugely readable account of the partition within the Punjab, Neeti Nair rejects the concept crucial alterations among the Hindu and Muslim groups made political payment most unlikely. faraway from being an inevitable resolution, the belief of partition used to be a really past due, beautiful shock to the vast majority of Hindus within the region.

In tracing the political and social background of the Punjab from the early years of the 20th century, Nair overturns the entrenched view that Muslims have been answerable for the partition of India. a few robust Punjabi Hindus additionally most well-liked partition and contributed to its adoption. nearly not anyone, notwithstanding, foresaw the deaths and devastation that will stick to in its wake.

Though a lot has been written at the politics of the Muslim and Sikh groups within the Punjab, Nair is the 1st historian to target the Hindu minority, either ahead of and lengthy after the divide of 1947. She engages with politics in post-Partition India via drawing from oral histories that exhibit the advanced dating among reminiscence and history—a dating that maintains to notify politics among India and Pakistan.


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Extra resources for Changing Homelands: Hindu Politics and the Partition of India

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In the circular originally posted by the Home Department, the predominance of lawyers in district boards and provincial councils was identified as a problem. The circular noted that of the 338 non-official members who had been appointed to the provincial councils since 1893, 36 percent were lawyers and only 22 percent landowners. ”76 The counterpoise to their influence had to be through an additional electorate composed of the landed and moneyed classes. On the representation of special interests and minorities, the circular invoked the famous deputation of October 1, 1906, when select Muslims petitioned the government believing their representation was incommensurate with their “numbers and political and historical importance,” and reiterated that any electoral representation in India would fail if it disregarded the “beliefs and traditions of the communities” that populated this continent.

In the spring of that year, the Punjab Council introduced a bill to amend the Colonisation Act regarding the terms of tenure on which land was held in the canal colonies. This measure coincided with other proposed changes: an increase in land revenue in the Rawalpindi District and an increase in the Bari Doab Canal rates at a time when peasants along the canal were threatened with crop failure. In response, peasants threatened to stop revenue payments and compelled the British to abandon the contemplated Colonisation Bill.

Malaviya, the president of the Congress session, was to challenge the idea that the Congress was disloyal or in any way responsible for these reforms. As Congress president, Malaviya reminded his audience that the good intentions of the secretary of state and viceroy had initially been acclaimed. It was only when the final regulations were announced that the “educated classes” [read Hindu] protested that their interests had been marginalized. Malaviya then proceeded to highlight the inequalities with regard to Hindu and Muslim seats in his province, the neighbouring United Provinces.

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