‘The stories they carried’
The aftermath
in Borders and conflict in South Asia
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Violence had been brewing in Punjab throughout 1946. A number of factors contributed to the carnage. One of the most important was the boundary award, specifically the timing of its announcement and rumours about its content. The government created a Punjab Boundary Force (PBF) to maintain law and order, but, undermanned and confronted by 'accurate sniping, bombing, and rifle and automatic fire', it was ineffective. Louis Mountbatten's press secretary, Alan Campbell-Johnson, accompanied the viceroy on a trip taken with Jawaharlal Nehru and Vallabai Patel to view the mass migration in the border areas. Until the 17 August announcement, people in Punjab knew where the boundary line had fallen. The boundaries that Cyril Radcliffe defined turned out to be restless divisions, and in 1965 and 1971 wars India and Pakistan battled over their Punjabi border. Pakistani bitterness against India and Indian bitterness against Pakistan are facts of life in South Asia.

Borders and conflict in South Asia

The Radcliffe boundary commission and the partition of Punjab

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