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Cyril Radcliffe and the end of empire
Lucy P. Chester

Sir Cyril Radcliffe's reputation as a great legal mind may have been a compelling factor for the nationalist leaders, many of them lawyers themselves, who endorsed his selection for the crucial boundary commission post. Mountbatten made clear to Radcliffe in their early meetings that it was absolutely necessary to have a boundary line drawn before the transfer of power took place. Both Congress and Muslim League leaders perceived Radcliffe as impartial, in large part because he had never been a member of the Indian Civil Service. Radcliffe's Indian experience reinforced, rather than shook, his sympathy for imperialist values and actions. Radcliffe's writings also demonstrate that his time in India strengthened his imperialist leanings. The British Government's later use of Radcliffe showed it to be satisfied with his work in India. Radcliffe played a central role in a violent historical episode of India and Pakistan.

in Borders and conflict in South Asia
The development of the Indo-Pakistani borderlands
Lucy P. Chester

This chapter builds on recent work in other borderlands, particularly scholarship on Bengal, to describe and analyse the development of the Punjabi boundary and the territory surrounding it. Beginning with the violence and mass migration of partition, the chapter examines the division's impact on areas near the border, both immediately after partition and in the years that followed. After tracing the evolution of the boundary disputes that arose from the Radcliffe award, the chapter deals with a brief discussion of the state of the borderlands at the beginning of the twenty-first century. The chapter also examines life on the India-West Pakistan border in the months following partition, attempting to reconstruct perspectives of people on both sides of Radcliffe's line. In February 1959, Pakistani and Indian delegates met again in Karachi to revisit the Sulemanke and Hussainiwala headworks disputes. In January 1960, India and Pakistan finally resolved their Punjabi boundary disputes.

in Borders and conflict in South Asia
Abstract only
Lucy P. Chester

This introduction presents an overview of key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book argues that the boundary commission headed by Cyril Radcliffe offers a window into the complexity of nationalist dealings with colonial power structures and of colonial strategies of control, even during decolonization. It examines the nature of power relationships within the colonial state, with a focus on the often-veiled exertion of British colonial power. The book traces the reluctant cooperation of South Asian elites with British leaders in setting up the Radcliffe commission. It focuses on partition's impact on Punjab, in the north-west wing of the South Asian subcontinent. The book also focuses on the high politics of the British withdrawal and of Indian and Pakistani independence. It deals with the ground-level impact of the partition process.

in Borders and conflict in South Asia
The boundary commission at work
Lucy P. Chester

Arriving in South Asia on 8 July 1947, less than six weeks before the 15 August deadline for Britain's withdrawal, Cyril Radcliffe set to work clarifying the outlines of his task. Soon after his arrival, he met with the Congress and League nominees who would serve with him as boundary commissioners. Mountbatten leapt into damage-control mode, emphasizing that the boundary commission was independent and would interpret the mandate to consider 'other factors' on its own. Like most of the maps presented to the commission, Congress's maps emphasized the distribution of population. Based on census figures, creatively interpreted, as well as certain elements of infrastructure, they argued that all of central Punjab and even areas of western Punjab should go to India. Sikh map uses blocks of colour to differentiate Muslim from Hindu/Sikh majority areas. The Muslim League submission concentrated on showing Muslim majority areas.

in Borders and conflict in South Asia
The historical context of partition
Lucy P. Chester

With conflict between Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs reaching unprecedented levels in the mid-1940s, British leaders felt compelled to move towards decolonization. Punjab had played an outsized role in Indian affairs since the nineteenth century, even though it was one of the British raj's last acquisitions. The Muslim League exerted relatively little influence in the province until the 1940s. The history of the demand for a separate Muslim state is too complex to address fully here, but it is important to note that Muslim League statements never specified where Pakistan's boundaries would fall. British efforts to map South Asia were limited by British perceptions of the land under their control. The Survey's maps did not capture the diversity of relationships, within and across these boundaries that would be disrupted by partition. As a result, Survey maps were useful only up to a point.

in Borders and conflict in South Asia
The aftermath
Lucy P. Chester

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.

in Borders and conflict in South Asia
The façade of South Asian responsibility
Lucy P. Chester

British leaders were astonishingly slow in grappling with the problem of determining a new international boundary line. The partition was to be perceived as a South Asian undertaking, with British officials acting only as steady and impartial guides. The Radcliffe commission was clearly concerned with delimitation, not demarcation; demarcation was left to India and Pakistan, after independence. Despite Cyril Radcliffe's central role in the boundary-making process, few historians have offered more than a cursory appraisal of Radcliffe the individual. As Radcliffe prepared for his voyage to India, the British Government began to speed up its withdrawal. On 4 July 1947, the government introduced an Indian Independence Bill in the British House of Commons. This bill included a clause that ultimately rendered Radcliffe's decision binding on both India and Pakistan.

in Borders and conflict in South Asia
Radcliffe’s private deliberations
Lucy P. Chester

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.

in Borders and conflict in South Asia
Methodist missionaries in colonial and postcolonial Upper Burma, 1887–1966

The first British Methodist missionaries came to Upper Burma in 1887 and the last left in 1966. They were known as 'Wesleyans' before 1932 and afterwards as 'Methodists'. This book is a study of the ambitions, activities and achievements of Methodist missionaries in northern Burma from 1887-1966 and the expulsion of the last missionaries by Ne Win. Henry Venn, the impeccably evangelical Secretary of the Church Missionary Society (CMS), was the most distinguished and inspiring of nineteenth-century mission administrators. Wesleyan missionaries often found property development more congenial than saving souls. In Pakokku in December 1905, a 'weak' American missionary from Myingyan and a couple of Baptist Burman government officials began 'totally immersing' Wesleyans. Proselytism was officially frowned upon in the Indian Empire. The Wesley high schools were extraordinarily successful during the early years of the twentieth century. The Colonial Government was investing heavily in education. A bamboo curtain descended on Upper Burma in May 1942. Wesley Church Mandalay was gutted during the bombing raids of April 1942 and the Japanese requisitioned the Mission House and the Girls High School soon afterwards. General Ne Win was ruthlessly radical in 1962. By April 1964 Bishop was the last 'front-line' Methodist missionary in Upper Burma and the last European of any sort in Monywa. The book pulls together the themes of conflict, politics and proselytisation in to a fascinating study of great breadth.

Michael D. Leigh

The mood in Mandalay changed abruptly in December 1941. The bricolage of fear, cynicism and nervous anticipation gave way to blind panic. Europeans were leaving Mandalay in droves, but Chapman insisted that the Methodist missionaries should stay and 'carry on as normal'. Meanwhile, Mandalay was heaving. 'Hundreds or thousands' of refugees had trekked in from Lower Burma. Chapman urged Burmese Christians to escape 'to distant villages' while they had the chance. Mandalay was bombed on 19 February 1942. Chapman tried to keep track of all the missionary families. Rangoon was already in the hands of the military authorities. Government offices, banks and commercial firms had been evacuated to Mandalay and Maymyo. Methodist missionaries played distinguished roles in the evacuation, although fact and fiction sometimes became confused in the chaos. The missionaries were demoralised and exhausted as they assembled in Calcutta between March and May 1942.

in Conflict, politics and proselytism