Birth of Post-colonial South Asia: India, Pakistan, Bangladesh October 6, 2008 Based primarily on Bose and Jalal Jalal, Democracy and Authoritarianism Jahan, Bangladesh
Main questions • What was the nature of the political and institutional developments in India and Pakistan? • Why did we have democracy in India and military dictatorship in Pakistan? • Why did Bengalis fight a War of Liberation? • What was the nature of the political and institutional developments in Bangladesh? • How are these histories reflected in contemporary events in the countries?
India achieves independence and incorporates West Bengal and Assam Pakistan is created; incorporates East Bengal (the East Wing, or East Pakistan) and territory in the northwest (the West Wing, or West Pakistan); Jinnah becomes governor general of Pakistan; Nehru, the PM of India The map Recap 1: August 15, 1947
Recap 2: Two Nation theory • First articulated in the Presidential address to the All India Muslim league in 1930 by Allama Iqbal, the famous poet, philosopher and politician. • Argued that the aspirations of two different communities, especially when one was a minority, and the other a majority, could be addressed within one state • Was in disagreement with both Nehru and Gandhi • In India’s nationalist discourse this came to be known as Muslim separatism.
Recap 3: Savarkar and Hindutva • Vinayak Damodar Savarkar was the President of the Hindu Mahasabha • Advocated the idea of Hindu Rashtra and supported the two-nation theory • His famous article “Who is a Hindu?” argued that more than a religion, Hindus were ethnically and territorially connected to India
Recap 4: Colonial rule and the Nature of identities • Both Hindus and Muslims fractured by class, region and rural-urbal divide, sect, caste, doctrine • This too complex to hence the effort to forge one Muslim and one Hindu identity • For this allegiance was sought with the elites • In the end, partition was a combination of these factors, domestic elite politics and the arbitrariness of colonial power.
Partition by W.H.Auden • Pg 155 of Bose and Jalal. • Full text here • The poem is about the work of Cyril Radcliffe who actually designed the Partition of the territory • To think: do you know of any other country/region where borders have been imposed arbitrarily? What have been its consequences?
Question I • What was the nature of the political and institutional developments in India and Pakistan?
India: Nature of the political and institutional developments • Centrism • Dominance of elected politicians, particularly parties, and particualrly the Congress • Democracy • Fundamental rights • Economy – state intervention • Overall: Centrist, interventionist but liberal, accommodation of minorities through constitutional measures
India India’s two goals emerging from the struggle • Social transformation and • Projection of a unified nation • Jalal suggests these are contradictory: Why? • Single party dominance in a multi-party democracy • Laid the ground for patronage politics
Pakistan: Nature of political & institutional developments • Conception of Pakistan • P=Punjab • A=Afghan • K=Kashmir • S= Sindh • Tan from Baluchistan What did this mean for the Pakistani state?
State formation in Pakistan (2) • What did this mean for the Pakistani state? • The tension between provinces and the ‘centre’ was inscribed into the very heart of the polity • In this conflict, bureaucracy rather than party emerged as victorious.
Pakistan (3) • Tensions with India, Kashmir situation etc., also created insecurity • This led in turn to a strengthening of the military • Resource scarcity • Assassination of first PM Liaqaut Ali Khan • By 1951, the US saw this as an opportunity to extend Cold War politics
Sources of Power: Pakistan • Military • Bureaucracy • Landowning Classes • Prime Minister and Party in government • President • Religion & Religious Leaders • External relations (in particular, with the US)
II. Why the difference? Three factors: • Concept of the ‘center’ • Pre-existing and non-existing state structures • Consequences of partition
Q III-IV: Bangladesh • Why did Bengalis fight a War of Liberation? • What was the nature of the political and institutional developments in Bangladesh? Link to map and timeline
Turning points in History • 1952 – Language revolution • 1971 march – Beginning of the Liberation War • 1971 - Sheikh Mujib arrested and taken to West Pakistan. In exile, Awami League leaders proclaim the independence of the province of East Pakistan on 26th March. The new country is called Bangladesh. Just under 10 million Bangladeshis flee to India as troops from West Pakistan are defeated with Indian assistance • Dec 16 1971: Surrender of the Pakistan Army (termed Victory Day)
Birth of Bangladesh • Internal colonialism • Challenge of facing both a state apparatus and a political community • Disarray of civil bureaucracy and the military • Schism between ‘collaborators’ and ‘patriots’ • Institutionalization of the ‘freedom fighters’ into a political entity
Bangladesh • Continuing militancy • Debates over the constitution – extent of political power of the Prime Minister • Mujibbad – Mujibism – nationalism, socialism, democracy and secularism • Supposed to correct the deficiencies of communism and capitalism (the third way)
Bangladesh timeline 1971-5: The Mujib era. This is the formative period, associated with a strong nationalist and statist fervour, with Mujibur Rahman and his party Awami League in power; 1977-81: The Zia regime. This is the beginning of military rule in Bangladesh, marked by the adoption of Islam in the constitution; 1982-91: The Ershad regime. Military rule, and declaration of Islam as state religion; 1991-6: the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) regime, with Khaleda Zia as Prime Minister; 1996-2000: The second Awami League regime, with Sheik Hasina as leader; 2001-2006: Coalition government headed by the BNP 2006-present: Caretaker government, postponement of elections, declaration of a state of Emergency and political violence