in Borders and conflict in South Asia


This book would not have been possible without the generous assistance of a great many people, and I regret that I cannot name them all here. Any errors of fact or judgement remain my own.

First and foremost, my heartfelt thanks to all those in India, Pakistan and Britain who shared with me their memories of independence. In Pakistan, I am grateful to Abbas Chugtai of the Punjab Provincial Archives in Lahore for vital advice and assistance; the staff of the National Documentation Centre in Islamabad; John and Nickie Bennett, for a home away from home; Shahnaz Hasan and the Hasan family, for Urdu language training and sisterly support; Mahboob Alam, without whom I literally would never have got where I needed to go; General and Mrs Wajahat Husain and their son Kashif, for help given with great kindness; General Zarrar Azim and Colonel Adnan Janjua of the Pakistan Rangers; Dr and Mrs Habib and their daughter Arjumand, for easing my transition to Pakistan and jumpstarting my research; Ahsan Jameel and the Jameel family; Khurram Husain and the hospitable faculty and staff of the Lahore University of Management Sciences; and a number of others who asked that their names not be used but whose help was invaluable.

In India, I must thank the staff of the National Archives and the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library; the Millard family, for another home away from home; Meera and Malay Chatterjee, old friends; Prem and Abha Singh, for a miraculously comfortable stay; and Ritu Menon, for both useful advice and her own important work.

In England, many thanks go to Andrew Cook, for generously sharing his cartographic wisdom; David Blake, who offered his great knowledge of the India Office records; Christopher Beaumont, for invaluable interviews and assistance; Joya Chatterji, for helpful feedback, advice and encouragement; the staff at Cambridge University’s South Asian Archive; and Sidney Sussex College, where I enjoyed a lovely term at Cambridge.

During my travels, the following fellow scholars refreshed my tired heart: Michael Bednar, Barbara Cole, Jenni Henderson, Kim Masteller and Donovan Dodrill, Matt Nelson and Cabeiri deBurgh Robinson.

At Yale, I found a cheerful and stimulating community for which I am very grateful. For practical advice and good company along the way, I am indebted to Ted Bromund, Mark Choate, Hang-Lien Nguyen, Mary Sharp, Gagan Sood, Jenni Siegel, Jeremi Suri and many others, but most of all Jay Geller. Florence Thomas and Ann Carter-Drier supplied essential long-distance support. My deepest appreciation goes to Robin Winks, for providing early inspiration as teacher and scholar; Paul Kennedy, who always brought a sense of fun to intellectual discussion; and Charlie Hill, for his incisive comments and constant encouragement.

In addition, the following scholars generously provided valuable feedback at various stages: Matthew Edney, David Gilmartin, Ayesha Jalal, Vijay Pinch and Willem van Schendel. I am also grateful to the anonymous reviewers who provided constructive criticism that greatly strengthened this work.

For a productive, challenging and culinarily enjoyable year at Stanford, I thank my colleagues at the Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC): Lynn Eden, Scott Sagan, Steve Stedman and all the visiting scholars, especially Laura Donohue, Chris Lee, Alex Montgomery, Ben Valentino and Erik Voeten. Thanks also to Norman Naimark and the members of the Sawyer Seminar on Mass Violence at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences. At the Stanford Libraries, I am especially grateful to Julie Sweetkind-Singer, who provided yet more evidence that there is a special place in heaven for map librarians, and to the efficient interlibrary loan department.

At the University of Colorado at Boulder, I am deeply grateful to Marjorie McIntosh, Mithi Mukherjee and Martha Hanna for pushing me to re-examine and expand my ideas and to Scott Bruce and Anne Lester, who were always ready with a sympathetic ear and a drink. Many thanks to everyone at Manchester University Press for making the publication process smooth and enjoyable.

The following organizations generously provided funding for this project: the Eugene M. Kayden Fund at the University of Colorado, the American Institute of Pakistan Studies, the Fox Fellowship Program, the Hamburg Fellowship Program at CISAC, the National Security Education Program and the Smith Richardson Foundation. Thanks for reproduction permissions go to the British Library and Her Majesty’s Stationery Office.

Alana Conner and Margaret Sloane kept me afloat at key moments. My extended family has always been wonderfully supportive; many thanks to all, especially Peggy Reiber, Bryan and Tina Huey, Doug and Mary Ellen Huey, Andrew Goldhor, Robert Goldhor and Mari Shirazi. Most of all, I thank Pamela Chester and Richard Goldhor, editors extraordinaire and so much more, and Mark Huey, for his patience, encouragement and love. This book is dedicated to our daughter Margaret.

Lucy Chester

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Borders and conflict in South Asia

The Radcliffe boundary commission and the partition of Punjab




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