‘A political decision, and not a judicial one’
The Radcliffe award
in Borders and conflict in South Asia
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Sir Cyril Radcliffe's line allotted 64 per cent of the area of undivided Punjab to Pakistan, with slightly less than 60 per cent of the populace. After Radcliffe's award was published and it became clear that both India and Pakistan were unhappy with it, the language used to describe the decision changed significantly. In early 1948, members of the British Parliament questioned Mountbatten's influence on Radcliffe's award. Mountbatten was a prime mover in the portrayal of Radcliffe as a completely independent figure. Beaumont thought that the irrigation system, particularly as it related to Bikaner, played a central role in Mountbatten's attempts to persuade Radcliffe to change his line in Ferozepur. On 19 March 1948, Mountbatten wrote to Evan Jenkins to say that he had no knowledge of any changes made to the boundary line 'between 8th and 13th August'. The geographical reality of the Radcliffe line remained as murky.

Borders and conflict in South Asia

The Radcliffe boundary commission and the partition of Punjab

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