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Title: Sind and the partition of India, c.1927-1952
Author: Shahani, Uttara
ISNI:       0000 0004 7651 4761
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2019
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Sindhi Hindus comprise the world's most widespread South Asian diaspora. When the British divided their Indian empire in 1947, unlike Punjab, Bengal, and Assam, they did not partition Sind (today a part of Pakistan), despite the minority campaign for a partition of the region. Sind's partition in 1947 was a deterritorialised and demographic one, producing over a million 'non-Muslim' refugees who resettled in India and abroad. A frequently overlooked region in histories of South Asia, Sind is of profound importance to the history of the partition of India. In the decades preceding partition Sind formed the core of the demand for the creation of 'Muslim majority' provinces that later gave Pakistan its territorial basis. This thesis outlines a new history of partition from the pre-partition Sindhi movement for separation from the Bombay Presidency. It explores the hardening of communal identities in a province renowned for its blurred religious boundaries and the ambiguities of defining a 'Muslim majority' province in the run-up to the foundation of Pakistan. Partition histories emphasise the role of sudden and unexpected genocidal violence in creating refugees. The processes of nation-formation and establishing new political-legal sovereignties also shaped refugee flows. Sindhi Hindu migration at the time of partition is also located within their older histories of mobility and suggests a more complex picture of displacements at the time of partition. Largely unwelcome in India, Sindhi refugees exercised a considerable amount of initiative, in rehabilitating themselves and in challenging the state's slow response to their demands for rehabilitation. Using rarely studied legal archives, this thesis charts how, despite being a stateless minority, Sindhi refugees' legal campaigns shaped the Indian constitution and informed broader notions of Indian citizenship. Refugee initiatives to create a 'new' Sind and port in Kutch collided with the governmental agenda to secure the integration of the princely states and harness their economic resources to the Indian Union. By investigating the 'failures' of this attempt to re-establish 'Sind in India', this thesis provides unique insights into the fraught interaction between refugee resettlement and the birth of a new nation.
Supervisor: Chatterji, Joya Sponsor: University of Cambridge
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Sind ; Sindh ; India ; Pakistan ; South Asia ; Partition ; Refugees ; Diaspora ; Citizenship ; Legal History ; Nationalism ; Decolonisation ; Empire ; 1947 ; Sindhis