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Lines in the Sand: Deconstructing the Construction of the Indo-Pakistani Border

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Title: Lines in the Sand: Deconstructing the Construction of the Indo-Pakistani Border
Author: Jaenicke, Hannah
Advisor: Kitroeff, Alexander; Harrold, Deborah
Department: Haverford College Dept. of History
Type: Thesis (B.A.)
Issue Date: 2010
Abstract: India and Pakistan are locked in a battle in which neither will compromise. Their differences, they believe, are ultimately based in their religious identities and their experiences during the Partition in which they were created. This thesis posits that, contrary to the Indian and Pakistani nationalist historiographies, religion was not the primary factor in the formation of the Indo-Pakistani border. Instead, the roles of nationalism and the contemporary political climate as factors in the border's creation will be examined. The prevailing nationalist historiographies dictate that religion is the cause of the Indo-Pakistani border, that it determined its shape and the reasons for its creation. Instead, I argue that whilst religion determined the border's formation (as, without a religio-nationalist ideology, Pakistan could not have been created), it did not determine its form. The shape of the border was, instead, the result of numerous other factors, including the changing nature of nationalism, the short timeline in which it could be created, and the friendships between members of the British administration and the Congress Party. Nationalist histories ignore much of the role played by Britain, yet the pressures faced by the British administration influenced the border due to time constraints and the need to portray the Empire's decolonization as orderly and civilized in order to appease the United States. As this thesis refutes the prevailing historical interpretations of the formation of the Indo- Pakistani border, it provides a new analysis of the end of the Raj and the beginnings of two independent nations. The border's formation is ignored in most of the current historical analysis, with historians preferring to focus on the narratives of those crossing the border, rather than how the border was formed.
Subject: India -- Boundaries -- Pakistan
Subject: Pakistan -- Boundaries -- India
Subject: Boundaries -- Political aspects -- South Asia
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Jaenicke, Hannah. "Lines in the Sand: Deconstructing the Construction of the Indo-Pakistani Border". 2010. Available electronically from

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