, Other Side of Silence (New Delhi:
Viking, 1998 ), p.
See for example Ziegler, Revisited , p. 22.
For further discussion of the complications
inherent in partition, see Lucy Chester, ‘Factors impeding the
‘Maps, knowledge, and power’, in
Harley, pp. 57–8.
See Chester, ‘The mapping of
empire’, pp. 256–75 and ‘Mapping imperial
expansion: Colonial cartography in North America and South
Portolan 45 (Fall 1999 ), pp. 9
This book explores the legal actions of women living in three English towns – Nottingham, Chester and Winchester – during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. For the first time, it brings together women’s involvement in a wide range of litigation, including pleas of debt and trespass, as well as the actions for which they were punished under local policing and regulations. The book details the multiple reasons that women engaged with the law in their local communities, all arising from their interpersonal relationships and everyday work and trade. Through the examination of thousands of original court cases, it reveals the identities of hundreds of ordinary urban women and the wide range of legal actions that they participated in. This wide-ranging, comparative study examines the differing ways that women’s legal status was defined in multiple towns, and according to different situations and pleas. It pays close attention to the experiences of married women and the complex and malleable nature of coverture, which did not always make them completely invisible. The book offers new perspectives on women’s legal position and engagement with the law, their work and commercial roles, the gendering of violence and honour, and the practical implications of coverture and marital status, highlighting the importance of examining the legal roles and experiences of individual women. Its basis in the records of medieval town courts also offers a valuable insight into the workings of these courts and the lives and identities of those that used them.
This book is the first full-length study of the 1947 drawing of the Indo-Pakistani boundary in Punjab. It uses the Radcliffe commission, headed by Sir Cyril Radcliffe , as a window onto the decolonisation and independence of India and Pakistan. Examining the competing interests that influenced the actions of the various major players, the book highlights British efforts to maintain a grip on India even as the decolonisation process spun out of control. It examines the nature of power relationships within the colonial state, with a focus on the often-veiled exertion of British colonial power. With conflict between Hindus , Muslims and Sikhs reaching unprecedented levels in the mid-1940s , British leaders felt compelled to move towards decolonization. The partition was to be perceived as a South Asian undertaking, with British officials acting only as steady and impartial guides. Radcliffe's use of administrative boundaries reinforced the impact of imperial rule. The boundaries that Radcliffe defined turned out to be restless divisions, and in both the 1965 and 1971 wars India and Pakistan battled over their Punjabi border. After the final boundary, known as the 'Radcliffe award', was announced, all sides complained that Radcliffe had not taken the right 'other factors' into account. Radcliffe's loyalty to British interests is key to understanding his work in 1947. Drawing on extensive archival research in India, Pakistan and Britain, combined with innovative use of cartographic sources, the book paints a vivid picture of both the partition process and the Radcliffe line's impact on Punjab.
tied to the female life cycle. Such power, like that of men, was rooted in
The definition of categories of women is fraught with problems, yet
arguably countesses were a distinct status group.1 Andreas Capellanus,
writing in the late twelfth century, recognised social gradations based
on rank and distinguished countesses as a group which he placed amongst
the high nobility.2 Charters relating to the honor of Chester demonstrate
the formal public power, spheres of influence, land holdings, economic
interests, and the religious and cultural roles of the
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.
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.