St.Bede's College  
International Seminar 


Looking back at the Political, Historical, Socio-cultural and Economic Circumstances of the Great Divide

Organised by the Departments of Political Science & History

September 19-20, 2018




Deadline for submission of Abstracts extended to July 15,2018

Concept Note – Partition Revisited

The Partition of India was one of the most cataclysmic events of the 20th century, engendering a veritable civil war in a country that was itself on the verge of claiming its hard fought independence. It involved a series of catastrophic circumstances that split the subcontinent along the lines of community and culture, tearing apart centuries’ old shared social fabric and homeland, splitting families and dispossessing millions of ordinary people, with a stroke of a pen on the map of undivided India.
The upheaval caused by the Partition of the subcontinent impacted every aspect of the life of entire populations that had to cross the newly drawn borders overnight, not knowing if they would even make it to the other side alive. It was a bloodsoaked freedom that dawned upon the new nations of India and Pakistan, with massacres, rapes, abductions, riots and the agony of exile clouding the joy of independence from colonial rule. Immediately, the cold reality of dislocation from ancestral homes and livelihoods became the only concern for people who had migrated en masse seeking refuge across these borders, devastated by total loss and traumatized by the frenzy of violence and killing that had ripped through every neighbourhood, town, city and village.
Seventy one years have gone by since the Partition, yet its tremors and aftershocks continue to be felt by all South Asians even today. The circumstances of the Partition have served to define and shape an innately troubled and hostile Indo-Pakistan relationship, and hold little promise for trust and peace between the two nations and thus in South Asia. Its legacy lives on in deeply embedded attitudes, political ideologies and cultural orientations within the subcontinent. There are some who argue that the birth of Pakistan via a division of India was a historical inevitability; yet others strongly believe that social and political conditions of 20th_century colonial India precipitated an uncontrollable roller-coaster journey in the direction of this great divide. Still others are of the view that the Partition was the outcome of clashing political ambitions and vested interests at the cost of the common people, in the bargain, unleashing a tragedy of immeasurable proportions.
The purpose of this seminar is to rewind to this fatal landscape, re-exploring through history and politics, sociology and economics, memory and literature, the Great Partition of 1947. It is only by revisiting our past that we will be able to come to terms with, and confront, our present.

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