06 September, 2012
Pathway to India’s Partition (Volume III): The March to Pakistan 1937-1947
By- Bimal Prasad
This volume, the third in the trilogy on the Pathway to India’s Partition, shows the key role played by Jinnah in the last phase of the journey to that goal.
It also provides the hollowness of the so-called revisionist thesis, that although claiming to work for the creation of Pakistan, Jinnah actually did not believe in that demand and was really working for a compromise which might succeed in bringing about a strong central government for a united India and that this had indeed been the real objective of the Pakistan resolution of 1940 - an absurd proposition. The contents of this volume also reveal the absurdity of the view propounded by the revisionists and others that if, in spite of Jinnah’s efforts to the contrary, India had to be divided and Pakistan created, this was due to the mistakes of the Congress leaders.
Finally, the volume illustrates the acute agony experienced by Gandhi who looked upon the prospect of the Partition with extreme pain and abhorrence and still felt compelled to go along with the proposal for Partition as accepted by the Congress Working Committee and asked the members of the All India Congress Committee to do the same, on the ground that in the communally surcharged atmosphere in India in 1947 there was really no other alternative.
Bimal Pradad, formerly Professor of South Asian Studies and Dean, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University (New Delhi) and India’s Ambassador to Nepal, is at present Honorary Director, Rajendra Prasad Academy (New Delhi) and Chairman, National Gandhi Museum (New Delhi).
Pathway to India’s Partition (Volume II): A Nation within A Nation 1877-1937
By- Bimal Prasad
This volume seeks to analyse the evolution of Muslim nationalism from 1877 to 1937. This exercise has resulted in highlighting certain trends which have been so far either ignored or underplayed, at any rate in India. It, for instance, shows that two nation theory was an old as the movement for Muslim awakening and solidarity and almost all its leaders firmly believed in it.
Similarly the idea of Pakistan, instead of being born in 1933 with Rehmat Ali’s forceful espousal of it, is shown to be steadily circulating, particularly in the Punjab, since mid- 1920s. Again, contrary to what has been generally imagined so far, Jinnah as well as Iqbal had become converts to that idea, as early as June 1937, before even the beginning of any serious talk for the installation of a so-called coalition government in U.P., and not after its failure.
On the other hand, the volume also reveals the strength of the growing sentiment of Hindu nationalism in 1920s, particularly in the Punjab and Bengal. The situation created by the juxtaposition of the two nationalisms is underlined by Lala Lajpat Rai’s declaration in 1924 that in view of the general Muslim attitude a divided India might provide the only solution to the communal problem. Equally significant was Gandhi’s repeated assertion in 1924-5 that he saw no solution of that problem except through prayer.
Professor Bimal Prasad, formerly Professor of South Asian Studies and Dean, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University (New Delhi) and India’s Ambassador to Nepal, is at present Honorary Director, Rajendra Prasad Academy (New Delhi) and Honorary Fellow, Nehru Memorial Museum & Library (New Delhi).
Pathway to India’s Partition (Volume I): The Foundations of Muslim Nationalism
By - Bimal Prasad
This is the first of a three-volume study of the background of India’s Partition, decidedly one of the seminal developments in the history of the subcontinent. Rejecting the widely held view that Partition was the result mainly of British manipulation and the mistakes or intransigence of certain Indian leaders, the author asserts that it was the result primarily of a powerful movement of Muslim nationalism. This volume is devoted to a discussion of this foundation of that nationalism.
Dealing at the outset with the legacy of the past, the author disputes the theory of a perpetual, centuries-old conflict between two antagonistic civilisations in the political arena. At the same time he shows how both the Muslim and the Hindu elites had already become conscious of their separate identities before the era of their modern political awakening began in the second half of the nineteenth century.
He then moves on to discuss the nature of the economic divide between the two communities and the intellectual as well as emotional environment of the Muslim elite. At the end the focus turns to Hindu nationalism and British policy both of which, in varying degrees, worked as props for Muslim nationalism.
In every chapter an effort has been made to synthesize the results of latest researchers as also to prevent fresh interpretations.
Professor Bimal Prasad, formerly Professor of South Asian Studies and Dean, School of international Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University (New Delhi) and India’s Ambassador to Nepal, is at present Honorary Director, Rajendra Prasad Academy (New Delhi).
Amma and Other Stories
By- Omprakash Valmiki and Naresh K. Jain (tr. and Introduction)
Amma and Other Stories is an English translation of fifteen stories of the leading Hindi dalit writer, Omprakash Valmiki, best known for his autobiography Joothan.
Together these stories vocalize the anguish and anger of the lowliest of the low in the caste hierarchy. More specifically, they deal with their sufferings at the hands of the dominant high castes and their questioning of their oppressors; their slender hopes and their small dreams; and their problems of identity as they try to make their way up the social and economic ladder. Omprakash Valmiki lists women of all classes among the dalits and there is a story in the collection that shows a high caste woman suffering at the hands of her male relatives. Softer emotions of love and longing are also not left out. Valmiki is acutely aware of the caste hierarcy among the dalits themselves and his story ‘Shavayatra’ makes for a deeply poignant reading. ‘Amma’ of the title is almost an epic tale of a dalit woman’s resolve to keep her progeny away from the broom and the canister.
At their best the stories are not merely dalit stories but a deeply human collection that will compel attention, engage the sympathies of the readers and make them ask inconvenient questions. The stories will also add a new dimension to dalit discourse.
The English translation is being published in the hope that the stories will reach a much wider audience and will sensitize readers to the travails of the dalits and their efforts to make a space for themselves, and help prepare the climate for social change.
Omprakash Valmiki, a leading Hindi dalit writer and author of the celebrated autobiography Joothan (1994) has published three collections of poetry Sadiyon ka Santaap [The Centuries-old Anguish], Bas! Bahut Ho Chuka [Stop it! That’s Enough] (1997) and Ab Aur Nahin [Not Any More] (2008); and two collections of short stories, Salaam [Obeisance] (2000) and Ghuspaithiye [Intruders] (2003). He has also written Dalit Sahitya Ka Saundarya Shastra [The Aesthetics of Dalit Literatue] (2001) and a history of Valmiki community, Safai-Devata [God of Cleanliness] (2008).
Naresh K. Jain, formerly Reader in English, School of Correspondence Courses, University of Delhi, has written several books including Love in Modern American Drama and is the editor of Women in Indo-Anglian Fiction: Tradition and Modernity.
ISBN 81-7304-783-9 2008 244p. Rs.595/ pounds 40