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Title: The City as a Space of Suspicion: Partition, Belonging and Citizenship in Delhi, 1940-1955
Authors: Geva Halperin, Rotem
Advisors: Prakash, Gyan
Contributors: History Department
Keywords: Decolonization
Subjects: History
Asian history
Issue Date: 2014
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: Decolonization in India was combined with territorial partition that resulted in mass killings, forced displacement, and the creation of millions of refugees. India's capital city, Delhi underwent demographic transformation as hundreds of thousands of Hindu and Sikh refugees from what had become West Pakistan poured into the city while a considerable portion of its Muslim population fled in the opposite direction. This dissertation explores the meanings and ramifications of partition in Delhi. I treat partition as a process that unfolded during the years 1940-1955, as the idea of Pakistan was dramatically and violently transformed from a nebulous concept to concrete reality, carrying practical implications for citizenship and belonging in the nation and the city. This process began in 1940, when the Pakistan movement gained momentum, infusing the city with an extremely aggressive political culture. Partition in August 1947 was not the end point of this process, but rather the beginning of a protracted operation through which borders were fixed, citizenship determined, and a shared linguistic and cultural world divided. The dissertation emphasizes a host of uncertainties that imbued this period of transition with intense emotions--great anxieties and great hopes surrounding the different imaginings of "Pakistan," "Independence," and "Partition" that circulated on the eve of partition. This emotional climate induced the violence against, and the minoritziation of, Delhi's Muslims in partition's aftermath--their transformation from a dominant public to a weak minority on the city's spatial, political, and cultural margins. The dissertation includes four chapters. Chapter 1 provides an in-depth study of the September riots in Delhi. Chapter 2 examines the law-and-order situation in the first years after partition, underscoring the persistent nature of the violence. I highlight the competing visions of the Indian nation and the extremely fractured nature of the state that sustained the violence. Chapter 3 focuses upon struggles over Muslim "evacuee property" and their spatial consequences. Chapter 4 looks at the "wars of words" taking place in the Urdu press between refugee and Muslim editors, which provide insight into how these publics understood this period of great upheaval, and their place in the city.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:History

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