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Rivers DividedIndus Basin Waters in the Making of India and Pakistan$
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Daniel Haines

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190648664

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190648664.001.0001

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The Problem of Territory

The Problem of Territory

(p.19) 1 The Problem of Territory
Rivers Divided

Daniel Haines

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the contested meanings of territoriality in decolonizing South Asia, building on recent scholarship on nationalist thought. It argues that when independence came, bringing with it the Partition of Punjab and Bengal, the spatial basis of the Indian and Pakistani nation-states was hardly stable. As the British colonial government prepared to withdraw, nationalists put forward competing visions of what independence could bring. Many of these visions had a difficult relationship with the idea of a national territory. The Indian National Congress sought a composite Indian national identity to hold together a vast and diverse region, while the Muslim League proposed a new entity called ‘Pakistan’, but with little clarity regarding the state’s location, extent or constitutional relationship to India. These territorial uncertainties provided the political context in which the Indus waters dispute became a matter of state sovereignty after independence.

Keywords:   Territoriality, Nationalists, Decolonization, Indian National Congress, Muslim League, Partition, Indus waters dispute

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