‘Water was the key’
Radcliffe’s private deliberations
in Borders and conflict in South Asia
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Sir Cyril Radcliffe's use of administrative boundaries reinforced the impact of imperial rule. Radcliffe's award retained for the postcolonial states of India and Pakistan a central element of the legacy of imperial rule; the raj's political boundaries marked the stability of its rule. In both the Punjab and Bengal awards, Radcliffe discussed canals, canal headworks, roads, railways and ports before turning to population factors. The irrigation systems and other infrastructure of Punjab and Bengal had been built to function under a single administration. The 'sketch map' sent by Mountbatten's office is one of the most controversial elements of this story. The base map Radcliffe used to delineate his boundary in Kasur tehsil focuses on one particular means of British administrative control: the collection of taxes. The most detailed of Radcliffe's maps, the 'Map of Kasur Tehsil' was very large scale, at one inch to two miles.

Borders and conflict in South Asia

The Radcliffe boundary commission and the partition of Punjab


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