The Lessons of 1950: Partition, and the making of the India- Pakistan Dynamic

The years that immediately followed their partition offer many interesting insights into the shaping of the India- Pakistan dynamic. Although both countries went to war over Kashmir within a few months of their independence, there were also parallel processes of collaborative dialogue based on the requirements of state consolidation. A host of issues relating to the position of minorities; their rights and access over property; corresponding decisions on formulating the rules for citizenship, as well as discussions on new frameworks for Inter- Dominion trade and water sharing, were thus the subject of dense negotiation between the governments of India and Pakistan in 1948- 52. These questions have gained renewed relevance and salience in recent years, as the hard-won gains of the partition settlements of 1950 have been subjected to renewed questioning, based on the attempt to rethink the values of the rationale for seeking a peaceful resolution to Partition. In this talk, I would like to explore the lessons that the early 1950s offer us for the building of a collaborative framework of dialogue by two post partition states.