Grand Tamasha

Pallavi Raghavan on an Alternative History of India-Pakistan Relations

Episode Summary

A historian presents an alternate view of the historical relationship between India and Pakistan.

Episode Notes

When it comes to the matter of relations between India and Pakistan, you’ve heard all of the familiar tropes. Two nuclear-armed rivals with hundreds of thousands of troops amassed along a contested border. A Hindu-majority India pre-destined to be at odds with a Muslim-majority Pakistan. A vibrant democracy in the east, a military-dominated polity in the west.

A new book by the historian Pallavi Raghavan offers a very different account about relations between these two South Asian rivals in the immediate aftermath of Partition in 1947. Contrary to the conventional doom-and-gloom narrative, Raghavan’s book Animosity at Bay: An Alternative History of the India-Pakistan Relationship, 1947-1952 shows how amity and a spirit of cordiality infused relations between India and Pakistan in the first five years of their independence.

This week on the podcast, Milan speaks with Pallavi about her book and the lessons it holds for today. The two discuss why yet another book on India-Pakistan relations was necessary, how India and Pakistan developed constructive relations in the wake of the traumas of Partition, and why the declining power of the state explains the difference in bilateral ties between the 1950s and today.

Episode Transcription

Intro 0:00

“Unabashed” “the most unpredictable” “becomes a headline” “the most volatile” “outrageous behavior” “unsubstantiated narratives” “a battle of personalities.”

Milan Vaishnav 0:12

Welcome to Grand Tamasha. I'm your host Milan Vaishnav of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. When it comes to the matter of relations between India and Pakistan, you've heard all of the familiar tropes. Two nuclear-armed rivals with hundreds of thousands of troops amassed along a contested border. A Hindu-majority India predestined to be at odds with the Muslim-majority Pakistan. A vibrant democracy in the east and a military dominated polity in the West.

Milan Vaishnav 0:36

But a new book by the historian Pallavi Raghavan offers a very different account about relations between these two South Asian rivals in the immediate aftermath of Partition in 1947. Contrary to the conventional doom-and-gloom narrative Raghavan's book "Animosity at Bay: An Alternative History of the India-Pakistan Relationship, 1947-1952," shows how amity and the spirit of cordiality infuse relations between India-Pakistan in the first five years of their independence. To talk more about her book and the lessons it holds for today, Pallavi joins me on the phone from New Delhi. Pallavi thanks so much for coming on the show.

Pallavi Raghavan 1:09

Thank you for having me.

Milan Vaishnav 1:10

So congratulations on the book, which I had the chance to read this past week. And I wanted to start by asking you a question about your motivations. So, as you know better than I, there have been so many books written about the relationship between India and Pakistan over the years, but you went into this clearly feeling that something was missing. So tell us about, you know, what sparked your interest in focusing on these first five years of post-Partition history?

Pallavi Raghavan 1:35

Yeah, you know, if I could just tell you a little bit about the history of this book getting written. It was actually you know, this was essentially based on my PhD dissertation. And when I started my PhD, I mean, which was in the history faculty, I was working with Joya Chatterji, and I was looking at the impact of Partition, the consequences, the way in which Partition kind of affected the states and the state-making processes in India and Pakistan. And as I got further into, you know, into reading about that, I realized that there was a really, really interesting story to be told about the shaping of the two foreign ministries in the aftermath of Partition, and how that process affected the, you know, the broader dynamic of the India-Pakistan relationship itself. So, I mean, that's how I got into this. And also as I was writing and researching around this, you know, around Partition in the 1950s and the early foreign ministers of India and Pakistan, one of the things that struck me was that, you know, that is a huge amount written about India-Pakistan relations. I mean, there's no question you know, there's bookshelves and bookshelves. And, incidentally, there is a huge amount written about the Partition as well. But one of the things that struck me is that there is a story to be told about the India-Pakistan relationship, the history of the relationship can be told from a more rigorously historicized kind of perspective, you know, which takes into account account archival research more, which also takes into account the points of view and the stake - you know, a broader kind of set of stakeholders in the shaping of the relationship and which work with a more and, you know, the contingencies of history, which tries to kind of accommodate those sorts of considerations too, in the shaping of the relationship. So, I thought, this particular time period, you know, the early 1950s and the late 1940s, and the the study of Partition also enabled me to tell a slightly different story about the history of the India-Pakistan relationship.

Milan Vaishnav 4:10

So I'm glad you raised this issue of method, because what the book does is it makes clever use of what were previously untapped archives and papers. So tell us a bit more about the new material that you were able to unearth while conducting research for the book.

Pallavi Raghavan 4:26

Yeah, I mean, I did use a lot of archival material that hadn't been previously, you know, declassified. And which related to the papers of the Ministry of External Affairs, you know, from the early the late 1940s, in the early 1950s. And a lot of those papers were declassified quite recently. And were also incidentally published in a kind of a set of volumes caught by edited by a person named AS Passim, put together like a 10-volume documentary study on the the papers relating to India's relations with its neighbors. And, you know, I also used material from the National Archives of India. From, you know, the Public Records Office in the British Library in the National Archives in in Dhaka, as well as a whole lot of memoir and a newspaper kind of literature from the time. And all this enabled me to kind of incorporate a broader set of voices into the story of how the relationship is molded.

Pallavi Raghavan 6:01

I mean, what this enabled me to do was to sort of say that look, it was, you know, I got an understanding of how it wasn't simply Nehru, right? Or it wasn't simply Liaquat Khan or Jinnah, who just single handedly kind of dictated policy or dictated foreign policy. What I got a sense of is that there's also, you know, various sorts of institutional factors at work, and various sorts of - and by institutions, I mean, kind of, you know, foreign policy institutes, foreign ministry, their institutional logic as well. - And a lot of, you know, of bureaucrats, journalists, politicians, and civil society actors. These kinds of people were also quite instrumental in determining the direction in which the relationship would go.

Milan Vaishnav 6:50

So, you know, if I focus on the central argument of your book, Pallavi, it's that you know, there is an alternate history of the India-Pakistan relationship, particularly in those early years, that is premised on, you know, reciprocal acts of bilateral engagement, comedy, cooperation. I'm wondering, you know, as you were going through this material, were you surprised at the degree to which the two sides sought to work together to deal with mutual challenges, ou know, in this wake of the kind of this enormous traumatic bloodshed that brought this up continent? I mean, did that catch you off guard?

Pallavi Raghavan 7:24

Yes, definitely. And, you know, the reason it caught me off guard is because all that I'd read about the India-Pakistan relationship and all the secondary, you know, literature that was available seemed to suggest that this was a kind of cut and dried zero sum game kind of simple story. You know, where it's an either-or kind of story. And that these are two enemy countries, and one wins or the other loses and that's basically all there is to be told about the history of this relationship. And given the kind of amount of literature there is that kind of characterizes the relationship like this, given that, you know, it's kind of dominant in the field, I was surprised to find the desert. I mean, it's not as if there's a there's also a considerable kind of extent of discussion and dialogue and kind of, you know, and a constructive approach to the shaping of the relationship, I mean, that kind of that kind of approach to the making of the bilateral relationship also existed.

Pallavi Raghavan 8:43

So, I was surprised to find a you know, a fairly dense amount of archival material, which kind of testified to people taking a pretty kind of time, you know, practical and problem solving approach to different aspects of the relationship which you know which excluded Kashmir. But if you look at other issues in the relationship like evacuee property or the question of minorities or the question of boundary drawing or the question boundary delineation or the question of water sharing or the question of trade, all of which are in a sense equally significant to, you know, people's lives in South Asia, as the question as the question of Kashmir, there was a lot of kind of very constructive dialogue on these issues.

Pallavi Raghavan 9:37

So, I was, I mean, I realized that there was a kind of a story to be told about this. And secondly, the other thing I felt was that, you know, because again, so much of the present day kind of enmity between India and Pakistan is based on, or bolsters itself on to the wrongs of Partition and to the memory of, you know, bitterness over partition, and so much of what you hear about, you know, why do you hate, you know, the other is to do with embittered stories from refugee families or embittered stories over those who felt betrayed over the transfer of power negotiations or embittered stories about, you know, the fairness of the acquisition of Kashmir, all of which are in essence located inside the story of Partition. Given that so much of your justifications about, you know, justifying hostility towards the other are based on, you know, narratives of partition, I realized that, you know, that, that this this other fact, that in the aftermath of this partition, it's a of this very same partition, that there's a great deal of cooperation and dialogue would seem to belie or contradict the sources of justifications that are used in order to give validity to the argument that there ought to be enmity or hostility between India and Pakistan.

Milan Vaishnav 11:09

So let me get to the real substance of the book. And when you get to the first substantive chapter, it focuses on these arrangements that both India and Pakistan developed to help address this kind of mutual security dilemma that they faced, right? And so you write in that first chapter that the necessity of creating state infrastructure to deal with the horrors of partition was really based on the necessity of recognizing quote unquote, the other in terms of you know, each of these countries were sovereign functioning kind of a barian states, and that this in turn helped to create possibilities for collaborative dialogue where none had existed before. So I'm wondering if you could give us some examples, kind of in laypersons terms, what did this actually look like, you know, in the aftermath of partition?

Pallavi Raghavan 11:54

Yeah, you know, one of the things that the book tries to do is to show that in the first five years that followed the partition, one of the kind of assumptions that went into a lot of policy making or accompanied a lot of policy makers was that, again, was that partition itself, you know, was in their eyes a perfectly kind of viable and perfectly, you know, sort of this administrative device that had been used in other places around the world, many, many times before. And just that fact itself wasn't necessarily enough to justify the shaping of a distrustful or hostile bilateral relationship between India and Pakistan. You know? So having come out partition, there was also every expectation that, you know, this doesn't need to add up to a bad egg. Right. And it doesn't need to add up to something that shows that we are kind of doomed from the beginning in terms of having to have a mistrustful relationship. There's also every reason in the world to think that look, if you do solve the, you know, the outstanding issues from the politician, then you can have a perfectly stable relationship. I mean, that kind of assumption was also present, I think, in the shaping of the bilateral relationship in the '50s.

Pallavi Raghavan 13:19

And so, in the immediate aftermath of partition in 1948, you know, 47, there was, you know, on the question of, for example, abducted women, or on the question of, you know, people who were fleeing the Punjab in enormous numbers across both sides, over what essentially amounted to like ethnic genocide, or even over, you know, the kind of setting up of the Foreign Ministry itself there was what - All these instances - I mean, you know, many of these instances were kind of accompanied by a great deal of violence, you know, and a great deal of kind of trauma, as I say, like people still remember it with a lot of pain today, but what you know, and in many instances you know at local levels were dealt with in a typically kind of have ham-fisted and clumsy kind of way by bureaucracies of South Asia which are known for being like, you know, for doing that. And so if you look to the abducted women story, for example, what you have are two very patriarchal and very kind of, very insensitive states almost, you know, that that that brook very little dissent or disagreement who would determine to kind of reclaim the -as they told - as they kind of understood it - which declaimed women who had been kind of you know, dishonored by the partition. Even though the women themselves were repeatedly saying, you know, many different things that didn't necessarily fit in very cleanly with their own narrative about this. Yet, at the same time, given this, I mean, what what I also tried to track in the chapter, you know, in this in the book, is that is that there was a curious kind of cooperation and there was a curious kind of you know, process in which both sides work, agreed to work in tandem over this whole question, which really posed very difficult questions, as far as the, you know, the the making of the personalities of India and Pakistan were concerned, you know, that the story of abducted women seemed to pose very difficult questions about that. And yet when faced with this kind of common challenge around, you know, arising from the partition, there was a way in which people governments actually chose to collaborate with one another over abducted women. And the reason for doing that was not because they were rejecting the premise of partition, it's because they were actually trying to entrench it even further.

Pallavi Raghavan 16:14

So you've got two governments that tell these women very firmly that look, partition has happened, this has, you know, this experience is done. Now you need to come back and become Indian or Pakistani citizens. And what you're seeing in this whole kind of process is how there's a way in which India and Pakistan were actually collaborating and cooperating in their attempts to finalize the partition or in that attempts to give shape and meaning to the process of partition. And this this kind of collaboration, which you know, was there on the question about abducted women, but you also see, variation of this, this kind of approach to cooperation in a whole lot of other kind of issues that faced the relationship at the time, like evacuatee property or like migrant minorities or like trade or like boundary drawing. To the extent that there is cooperation, its based on the necessity of recognizing the fact that partition has happened. And that partition - the fact that partition has happened doesn't necessarily add up to the fact that that needs to be a bad relationship at the end.

Milan Vaishnav 17:26

So the Nehru-Liaquat pact was an agreement signed in 1950, under which both governments committed themselves to protecting the interests of minorities in the respective countries. And you know, this has found its way back into the news 70 years later, because its failure was used as a pretext for the Modi government's push for a new citizenship amendment bill that would grant expedited citizenship to persecuted religious migrants who found their way to India. So before we get into the contemporary relevance of the pact, tell us a bit about how this came to be.

Pallavi Raghavan 17:58

Yeah, yeah, as you're saying, the Nehru-Liaquat kind of seemed to make its way back into the newspapers recently when it was kind of brought up by Amit Shah repeatedly in Parliament during the debates about the citizenship bill. And what the Nehru-Liaquat pact itself was signed in 1950 April in Delhi between the two prime ministers in India, Nehru and Liaquat Ali Khan, on the issue of minorities and on the issue of minorities in particular in the Bengal basin.

Pallavi Raghavan 18:38

And what had actually happened was that, you know, in the closing months of 1949, and in early 1950s, there was a enormous refugee crisis that taken to you know, in the in eastern in the eastern sector, ie West Bengal, East Bengal, Assam, Tripura, you know. The the Bengal basin was threatened by a huge, you know, a huge, huge influx of Hindus fleeing from East Pakistan and Muslims fleeing from West Bengal in enormous and unsustainable numbers, and incidentally fleeing from Eastern West Bengal to East Pakistan and also fleeing from the, you know, other parts of India into West Pakistan. So, there's a huge amount - there's an enormous refugee crisis and this kind of comes to a head in Bengal in the last month of 1949. And which dangerously threatens the stability of both Nehru's and Liaquat Ali Khan's government. Because in situations like this, what tends to happen is that, you know, you've got these states, very, very powerful provincial Chief Ministers, like B.C. Roy as well as Gopinath Bardoloi, as well as a whole host of others, who threaten the stability of the central government by saying that look, you know, we're engulfed by these millions of refugees, and we can't afford to feed them. And we can't afford to rehabilitate them. And they're coming because the central government hasn't taken a strong enough kind of stance against Pakistan. And, you know, this is, in a sense, their fault. And so either the central government should do something in order to stop these refugees coming in such enormous numbers. Incidentally, the state government of M.A. Khuro in Sind, had also fallen on in 1948 over the precisely the same refugee issue. So and thereby attacking the stability of the central government of Pakistan. But so these Chief Ministers say that look, either you do something about this, stop these deputies from coming in or you give us more money to be able to rehabilitate these refugees. And if you don't do either of these things, then we could make make it very difficult for your political survival to continue.

Pallavi Raghavan 21:13

So, in this situation, there's a way in which there's a kind of commonality of interest between Nehru and Liaquat Ali Khan, you know, the two prime ministers, to come to, you know, in order to be able to kind of ensure the survival of their governments. There is, I mean, there's a there's a kind of instrumental reason that they come together to thrash out what ought to be done about the refugee situation in Bengal. And so what they decided to do was to sign the Nehru-Liaquat Pact, which actually was, you know, again, if you think about the dynamics of South Asia, you know, South Asian politics. It's actually quite an unusual kind of agreement because what it provided for was that the Government of India would be legally accountable to the Government of Pakistan, as far as the question of its minority citizens in Bengal was concerned and the Government of Pakistan would be legally accountable to the Government of India, as far as the minority situations and minority, you know, communities in East Pakistan were concerned. So, so what I mean, you know, what was needed was, you know, was a strong enough statement to be able to reassure the minority communities on either side of the Bengali boundary line to stay in place, and the way Nehru and Liaquat Ali Khan did that was to say that look, we will both be legally accountable to each other, to ensure your well being. So in case your communities are threatened, the government of you know, the government that you're - that we have the right to be able to take this up with the with the other government.

Pallavi Raghavan 23:00

So, this type of agreement was was signed. And it you know, now it was - it had patchy degrees of success. It did ensure, or it did help to ensure the return of thousands of families back across the boundary line, it did kind of give/assuage the kind of security concerns of minorities in West - in Bengal for the time being. And it also, most importantly, warded off the prospect of war between India and Pakistan for the time being. So although it I mean, it didn't - I mean, although it didn't kind of - obviously it didn't, you know, rectify the situation of minority persecution and in South Asia once and for all, it came nowhere close to being able to do that at all, but at the same time, for the time being, it served its purpose. And this was on, you know, in the end a story about how, you know, it was possible to kind of come to some kind of compromise and you know, agreement between India and Pakistan rather than facing the situation of war.

Milan Vaishnav 24:17

I mean, I think that's why the discussion is so interesting, right? Because we're in a new cycle where this pact has been kind of dredged up, often with very little historical context and been criticized, but you know, in your book you write and I just want to quote, that the pact went some way to avoid the breakout of war between the two countries over the question of uncontrollable numbers of refugees flowing across the Bengal boundary. End quote. Right? And so, despite the fact that many contemporary commentators are criticizing the Accord, you know, no less a figure at the time than Sardar Patel said he looked everywhere high, low in vain for an alternative, and there basically wasn't any right. So, I feel like one of the things the book does is to say, look, this pact may not have solved every issue under the sun. But yeah, it was successful insofar as it stopped war from breaking out. Right?

Pallavi Raghavan 25:07

Yeah, exactly. And, you know, one of the really interesting things about this pact was that, you know, it was kind of signed between Nehru and Liaquat Ali Khan in 1950. And it caused a huge amount of opposition in in Nehru's Cabinet. And, you know, the politician, the Bengal politician, S.P. Mukherjee and K.C. Neogy resigned from the cabinet in protest against this pact. And it was Sardar Patel, who went, and you know, sort of sold this or the idea of this pack to the people of Bengal. And, you know, I mean, that sentence that you read, like it's, you know, the kind of language that he used will also strike many kind of, you know, followers of India-Pakistan relations today as being curiously kind of familiar because he's saying that look, what is the option? You know, I mean, that Pakistan is there, it's a neighbor. You have to, you know, you have to kind of deal with neighbors. This is what we've come up with and this is the best there is, you know? So he tries, he goes and enables the fact to kind of actually work.

Pallavi Raghavan 26:17

And also the, you know, the other reason that this pact is is is really kind of interesting is, well, I mean, one of the things about it, is that it you know, it wasn't necessarily a failure. I wouldn't call it a failure. I mean, the way in which it's been described now is that it was just this kind of, you know, spineless thing that was done in the 1950s. And I know what comes across in the writing or the discussion about the Bengal pact, is that there was many reasons to hope that this could kind of fix the situation for at least a little while. like there was a lot of expectation attached to this pact.

Pallavi Raghavan 26:56

And the other reason that this pact is so interesting is because one of the things that it seems to point to is that, you know, that there were all kinds of different expectations about what about what sovereignity would entail in South Asia. And, you know, in the end, what the pact seemed to do, was to kind of compromise with the idea of, you know, of a exclusivist kind of sovereignity of the governments of India and Pakistan, because in the end, this was a pact that said that, look, the Government of India will be legally accountable to the government to Pakistan, and vice versa. And, you know, I mean, again, like if you think about it, this this kind of thing is a.) particularly strange in a setting where it's such a South Asia, where the government of India and Pakistan are notoriously prickly, about, you know, retaining their -about being seemed to be absolutely sovereign in their realm. About being seen to be, you know, two sovereign states. And b.) what I mean, because you know, what it kind of allowed some amount of dilution of was that was this whole idea that look, as far as the government is concerned, what it does to its people inside his boundary line is only its concerns. Right? That definition of sovereignity, somewhere tested by the Nehru-Liaquat Pact, somewhere kind of diluted a little bit by the Nehru-Liaquat Pact.

Pallavi Raghavan 28:34

And what I'm trying to get at when I you know, when I discuss this in the chapter is that this, again, is an example of how, you know, this is another kind of equally viable way of thinking about the ways in which it's possible to productively kind of work together in the aftermath of the partition. Right? I mean, what was sort of said during the Nehru-Liaquat Pact to the minorities, it wasn't said that look, just pretend as a partition has never happened and pretend like you're citizens of the erstwhile realm. No, instead they were told firmly that look, you are citizens of India and Pakistan, and this is what it means when you are going to be citizens of India and Pakistan, and also the governments of India and Pakistan can be accountable to one another, as far as their minority communities are concerned. So this kind of approach to shaping a kind of joint sovereignity was, in a sense possible only after the partition, right, and was, in a sense, a product of the partition. And it's a way in which we can think, you know, it's an example of how you can approach the question of whether, you know, approach the question of what kinds of things are possible for states to do after partition, and this is an equally good example of that.

Milan Vaishnav 30:04

I mean, one of the other interesting things you bring out in the book is that for many, many months Nehru and Liaquat corresponded about the creation of a so-called no war pact between the two countries, and ultimately, they could never really see eye to eye but it's still kind of remarkable that they spent, you know, 11 months - almost one year - trying to get to yes. Right? And you talk about the fact that this idea of a no war pact was modeled after the failed interwar Kellogg-Briand Pact, which was a 1928 agreement that outlawed war, right? On paper. We all know how that turned out. In fact, several of the innovations around reconciliation that India and Pakistan both explored during this early post independence period kind of harken back to these models that had been tried out in Europe in the interwar period. But, you know, many of these models failed. So why did Nehru think that, you know, maybe this time something would be different?

Pallavi Raghavan 30:57

Yeah, you know, again, the normal backstory is again, like, I mean, it's interesting, because, you know, what I seem to - what I kind of, gleaned from from from the study of those papers was that this was almost entirely an exercise of propaganda. You know, I mean, I don't think, at the start of the pact, and the pact itself was started in 1949, roughly around the time of the refugee crisis. And around the start of the refugee crisis, and at the start of the pact, it may have looked possibly like this could this might have been something that that could lead to kind of a bet, you know, some kind of compromise between India and Pakistan or some kind of unity between India and Pakistan on the refugee question.

Pallavi Raghavan 31:47

That kind of expectation very, very, very, very quickly was dispensed with, and instead Nehru and Liaquat Ali Khan, they signed the Nehru-Liaquat Pact instead. Right? But as far as the correspondence being able to kind of secure a deal on the question of minorities is concerned, that doesn't materialize. But even though it doesn't materialize, they kind of keep at the correspondence, they kind of keep having the correspondence and they keep going over all the issues that could be called outstanding from partition in the India-Pakistan dialogue, in the India-Pakistan relationship like water, like evacuee property, like trade, like, you know, Kashmir, and like the question of boundary lines. So, they, they continue to have, - you know, they continue to write about it to each other, even though it becomes, it's clear from quite early on that it's not actually going to result in any, well, in result in any no war pact, you know, which was this was this kind of concept, which it seemed like they kind of borrowed from interwar Europe, which was this this kind of agreement that neither would declare war on the other in the first instance, over these questions.

Pallavi Raghavan 33:12

Now. So the question then arises is why, you know, if it's clear that it's not going to kind of feed into this no-war pact, then why is the correspondence entered into in the first place? And one of the reasons that they were doing this was to kind of tell the world about the fact that they were doing this.

Milan Vaishnav 33:30

So I want to bring this conversation to a close by asking you to reflect on one of the conclusions you draw from your research, which is, you know, if you look back at the late '40s-1950s, there was this enormous sense of what was possible in terms of the capacity of the state, what state institutions what state bureaucracies what state administrations could actually accomplish. And I'm wondering as you kind of step back and think about where India-Pakistan relations stand today. Does, or, I guess, how much does the declining power of the state kind of explain the differences between the approaches the two countries took way back then and the approaches that they seem to be pursuing today?

Pallavi Raghavan 34:14

Yeah. You know, I mean, I talk about this a little bit in the conclusion of the book and one of the things do strike me, is that look, you know, is that obviously there is some kind of linkage or there is some kind of parallel in terms of how strong and what are the expectations about the responsibilities and duties and capacity of the state, and the strength of the relationship as a whole. And there's, I mean, I think there's some kind of a reason that the late 1940s and 50s are so particular. I mean, one explanation it might be to do with the fact that the state capacity - that the expectation about what the state ought to do for its people was much higher during these decades. And you know, it corresponds with a more kind of stable approach to decision making as far as bilateral relations are concerned. And the other, as I said, the other thing about this is that - this is what bearing in mind because if there's so much, you know, a so much of kind of emphasis on vintage given to, you know, the bitterness about the partition time and its aftermath, if that time is remembered so harshly today, as a way of kind of justifying why the states, the weakened states of India and Pakistan, ought to have a more combative relationship with one another, - then this story about cooperation and collaboration in the 1950s, it sends, I mean, it's an important kind of reminder of the fact that it was this generation, after all, that had witnessed the worst of the horrors that South Asian politics could throw at them. Although the current times, you know, are perhaps like a close second. But certainly at the time in the parties like this, they suffered over partition, like they suffered over common and as the last property, they lost women, they, they really had a very bleak time. And it was those same people, those same actors who got together on negotiating tables after the partition, and tried to figure figure out ways forward. So if those people could do it, then, you know, then there's there's no reason that it shouldn't be a - it's important kind of argument. Then that argument ought to be taken into account as far as the shaping of the relationship is concerned today. And the reason those people did it is because they thought that yeah, this is this is what states do. This is what our states ought to do, and that it's the responsibility of the state to do this. So that kind of expectation, I think, was probably on the whole good for the making, the shaping of the relationship.

Milan Vaishnav 37:30

My guest on the show today is Pallavi Raghavan. She's an Assistant Professor of International Relations at Ashoka University and the author of a brand-new book called "Animosity at Bay: An Alternative History of the India-Pakistan Relationship, 1947 to 1952." Pallavi, congrats again on the book. Thanks so much for coming on the show. We're speaking at a time of lockdown and quarantine. So, I appreciate you taking some time out and to talk to us on the phone.

Pallavi Raghavan 37:57

Thank you very much for having me. Thank you.

Milan Vaishnav 38:01

Grand Tamasha is a coproduction of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the Hindustan Times. You can find us on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts. Don't forget to rate and review. It helps others find the show more easily. For more information about the show and to find the writing we referenced on this week's episode, visit our website, Production assistance comes from Megan Maxwell and Rachel Osnos. Tim Martin is our audio engineer and Lauren Dueck is our executive producer. Thanks for listening and see you next week.

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