The Holocaust of Indian Partition: An Inquest

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Item Code: IDH605
Publisher: Rupa Publication Pvt. Ltd.
Author: Madhav Godbole
Edition: 2006
ISBN: 8129109913
Pages: 658 {9 Illustrations in B/W}
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 9.4" X 6.3"
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Book Description

From the Jacket

The Partition of India was a traumatic event. Apart from destroying the unity of India, the two-nation theory created a divide between the Muslims and non-Muslims which has not been easy to bridge. Bur, more important was its tremendous human cost-loss of about a million people. This holocaust, which Nehru described as a man-made Greek Tragedy, is the focus of this book. Based on extensive and in-depth research, it sheds new light on several important issues.

The book surveys the critical 18 month period preceding the transfer of power which saw widespread communal hatred and violence. The poison of communalism had seeped so deep that it should have been evident to anyone that transfer of power was not going to be peaceful. But, the British and the leaders of the two would be dominions- India and Pakistan-failed to see this writing on the wall. The book vividly brings out the holocaust, makes a clinical and thorough inquest, and concludes that, with foresight and planning, its extent and severity could have been reduced substantially. Analysis of such a monumental tragedy inevitably leads to a critical appraisal of the role played by the authors of the tragedy, and the actors who played a part in it-on stage, backstage and in the wings.

The book argues that Nehru and Patel must have been aware of the seriousness of Jinnah's illness and still pressed for partition. India, which is better off with partition, should be eternally indebted to them for their farsightedness, political courage and statesmanship. United India would have been unliveable, ungovernable, and unsurvivable. With its wide canvass, this fascinating and thought-provoking book is a must read.

About the Author

Madhav Godbole (b. 1936) has a M.A. in development economics and M.A. and PhD in economics (University of Bombay). He joined the Indian Administrative Service in 1959 and resigned as Union Home Secretary. He has been secretary, Urban Development, and secretary, Petroleum and Natural Gas in Government of India, Principle Finance secretary, and chairman, Maharashtra State Electricity Board in Government of Maharashtra. He worked in the Asian Development Bank, Manila, Philoppines, from 1980-85.

He has written eleven books in English and Marathi. He has co-authored the working paper, A Quest for Good Governance based on his public interest litigation in the Supreme Court. He also writes on current issues in newspapers and reputed journals.

After retirement, he worked as chairman of several Committees: state level economic reforms, co-operative sugar factories, Enron Power Project, power Sector reforms, amongst others.

He is the recipient of chinmulgund Public administration Award and Dr. M. Visvesvarayya Memorial Lifetime Achievement Award.


  Preface xi
  Maps xiii
1 Introduction 1
2 Prelude to Partition- Communal Civil War 24
I Introduction 24
II Rapidly Deteriorating Communal Situation 25
III Jinnah's Call for Direct Action 32
IV Great Killing in Calcutta and Riots in East Bengal 34
V The Bihar Riots 48
VI Increasing Arc of Communalism 55
VII Punjab- The Epicentre of Communal Violence 59
VIII Toll of Communal Violence 80
IX Inadequate, Indisciplined and Communalized Police Force 83
X Rapid Growth of private Armies 88
XI Army- the Main Instrument for Containing Communal Violence 91
XII Civil Service in Doldrums 92
XIII Use of force-Legal Implications 101
XIV Role of the Press 102
XV General Atmosphere in the Country 105
3 The Holocaust 109
I The 3rd June Announcement 109
II Unending Communal Carnage 114
III Assurances to Minorities 126
IV Hell Broke Loose in Independent India and Pakistan 134
V Biggest Migration in History 178
VI Unwelcome Refugees- A Crying Shame 280
VII The Death Toll 214
4 The Principal Actors 223
I Indian Leaders through the Eyes of the British 224
II Mountbatten 230
III Gandhi 243
IV Nehru 253
V Jinnah 265
VI Vallabhbhai Patel 269
VII Relations between Nehru and Patel 273
VIII Supporting Actors 278
5 The Inquest 286
I The Holocaust-Varied Reactions 286
II Nagging Questions 300
1 Unwarranted haste in transfer of power 300
2 There were clear forewarnings of the holocaust 311
3 Pleas of the Sikhs fell on deaf ears 322
4 Demands for exchange of populations 336
5 Empty threats vs. actual use of force 349
6 Non-arrest of Sikh Leaders 358
7 Myth of the Punjab Boundary Force 363
8 Premature withdrawal of British troops and officers 377
9 Division of the Indian Armed Forces 385
10 Partition with undecided borders 392
11 Civil administration in doldrums 400
12 Political Parties and Communal violence 409
13 Gandhi's reluctance to visit the Punjab 413
14 There was no contingency Plan 415
III No Enquiry, Not Even A Monument 425
6 The Partition in Retrospect 428
I Introduction 428
II Jinnah's illness 433
III Interim Government with Two Cabinets 439
IV Compromises at What Cost? 444
V Unpartitioned India: Ungovernable, Unliveable 463
VI The New Beginning 476
VII Lessons of Partition and Portents 496
VIII India will Have to Find its Own Answers 543
Appendix I With a Refugee Column 548
Appendix II Retrospect 553
Appendix III Mountbatten's Self-defence 555

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