Delhi University to focus on research on politics surrounding Partition, failures of then central leadership

DU's new centre to focus on 'high voltage politics' that accompanied partition along with different facets of freedom struggle and the impact it left.


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Delhi University campus. (Picture: Official Website)Delhi University campus. (Picture: Official Website)

Press Trust of India | May 24, 2023 | 02:36 PM IST

NEW DELHI: The Delhi University will set up a Centre for Independence and Partition Studies to facilitate research on the "high voltage politics" accompanying Partition and how the then central leadership failed to contain the "germs of separatism", documents show. It will also focus on the "non-insistence of central leadership on having the Frontier Province with India" and the way the "Congress Working Committee consented to Partition without consulting (Mahatma) Gandhi", according to the documents.

These "priorities" for research subjects were part of a draft concept note for setting up the Centre for Independence and Partition Studies. The eight-point concept note stressed how Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2021 emphasised on "revisiting and remembering the horrors associated with the partition of India".

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It noted that different departments in Social Sciences and Humanities at the university briefly touch upon the history, politics, and literary narratives around Independence and Partition but that is hardly based on field research, dedicated archival sources or the studies of affected groups. The concept note prepared by an eight-member committee will be placed before the statutory bodies -- the Academic Council and the Executive Council -- of Delhi University.

As per the agenda of the upcoming academic council meeting on May 26, the members will consider the recommendations of the committee. Delhi University South Campus Director Prakash Singh, who heads the committee, said the concept note contains suggestions but researchers can explore other subjects also. "There is a lot that needs to be studied and the Delhi University felt the need to provide a platform which can be used to study the cause and effect of Partition," Singh told PTI.

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The proposed centre should focus on different facets of the struggle for freedom and the reasons and impact of Partition. It should emerge in due course of time as a specialised resource and research centre to facilitate such studies, the committee stated in the note. It also listed the priorities for the research which include studies about unsung heroes of the freedom struggle and the role played by Cyril Radcliffe in the Partition. "The Centre shall broadly focus on the intricacies surrounding Partition.

Within this context many questions need further research. For instance, the role played by Radcliffe (who was hardly familiar with Indian culture, geography and demographic pattern) in Partition; the game plan and the strategies of the imperial government; the high voltage politics accompanying Partition; the germs of separatism that the central leadership failed to contain; the way Congress Working Committee consented to Partition without consulting Gandhi," the note read.

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"The reason for the non-insistence of central leadership on having the Frontier Province with India; the uncertainty of the fate of the princely states; the steps taken by the government to contain violence and death of innocent people; the strategies adopted for rehabilitation of the Partition victims," it added. The committee mentioned in the note that it would be "quite befitting to set up a centre" to carry out studies and research on Independence and Partition. The centre will be a constituent of the Faculty of Social Science, it added.

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