ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles by Rakesh AnkitSubscribe to Rakesh Ankit

The Transfer of Jodhpur Railways, 1947–48

The process of partition between India and Pakistan, that is, dividing up material assets, remains an under-written subject, barring its border-building aspects. While the old scholarship offered an adversarial account of this exercise, the recent attempts revise this narrative by stressing upon the cooperation evinced by the two sides. Where the former found antagonism, the latter has sought to locate some mutually agreed method in the madness. Focusing on Jodhpur, a princely state, which has not found a place in this matrix, this paper brings together a slice of history from the integration of the princely states with the history of partition, a connection not usually made. Delineating a facet of early interdominion relations on the division of asset of a princely state, it questions the “two peas in a pod” seeking-consensus approach to early India–Pakistan relations that puts two unequal entities together on an equal plane.

J F Duff and the University Education Commission of India, 1948-49

It has been a difficult period for university education in India, with the controversy around the four-year undergraduate programme joining the old complaints about lack of autonomy, political interference, financial ill-health, and deteriorating standards of academics and administration. In these times, the thoughts of one who was present at the conception of independent India's university structure and contributed to its making are a fascinating window into the state of affairs 65 years ago.

The Last Sahibs

Little has been written about the role of provincial governors in the closing period of British rule in India with all the emphasis being on the Viceroys. This article instead considers the sahibs in the provinces. When British India came to an end on 15 August 1947, it had 11 provinces under 13 governors (11 Britons, two Indians). These last governors of British India, located in a subjective space, found themselves straddling the dichotomy of the coloniser and the colonised. Based on the hitherto unused private papers and correspondences of Mountbatten and the governors, this article seeks to throw a different light on the engagements of the last days of the British in provincial India, where the rulers of the past (British governors) and rulers of the future (Indian ministers) jostled with each other.

How the Ban on the RSS Was Lifted

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh faced its first ban from February 1948 to July 1949 following the assassination of Gandhi. From December 1948 onwards a series of attempts were made by the Sangh's well-wishers and members to get the ban lifted and more importantly, to involve India's first Home Minister Sardar Patel in the process. The meetings and correspondence on this issue between the various actors and the chief of the Sangh, M S Golwalkar is a slice of Indian history that is not very well known.

The (Un)Making of Article 370

Article 370: A Constitutional History of Jammu and Kashmir by A G Noorani (New Delhi: OUP), 2011; pp xvi + 487, Rs 850.

1948: The Crucial Year in the History of Jammu and Kashmir

The involvement of the British in Kashmir even after India's and Pakistan's independence, British realpolitik, crystallisation of Cold War politics and an "idealist" infant United Nations - all had major roles to play in the imbroglio between India and Pakistan over the state. A historical overview of the events in 1948 that "sealed the fate of Jammu and Kashmir" is presented here after perusing papers of the British government of that time, which have been released after 60 years.

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