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Civil war was better option than partition

india Updated: Aug 25, 2006 18:57 IST

Noted columnist Kuldip Nayyar believes a civil war was a better option before the Congress than going for partition, which claimed more than a million lives, as it has failed to solve the problems of the sub-continent.

"We should have accepted civil war, if it was inevitable, than agreeing to partition. At least after that we would have settled down to something," Mr Nayyar told the audience last evening while releasing Partition of India by Anita Inder Singh.

Claiming that partition had failed to solve the problems besieging the sub-continent, he said even today we continue to be dogged by the same problems which were there during partition.

"Whether it was the communal problem or any other, we continue to be besieged by them even after about 60 years."

However, at present the onus of improving ties with Pakistan and Bangladesh lies with India. "The responsibility is ours. Though it is understandable that for India the going would be a hard way as it is an open society and our functioning is democratic."

Calling for a South-Asian federation, sans borders, Mr Nayyar said it would be a reality not very far from now. "This dream will some day come true, for how long can we keep fighting with each other."

He emphasised he saw the germs of this dream and of the reflection of our society elsewhere too which made him believe so. "I see in Pakistan some kind of liberal middle class which thinks of a country with a liberal, democratic, secular society," he said adding "It is because of our ethos."

Well known educationist Professor Amrik Singh said the British left India not because they wanted to, but because they had come to know that they were losing power and control and needed to move out.

Dr Sucheta Mahajan of the Jawaharlal Nehru University said that the partitions of Ireland, Cyprus, Palestine and India were done on the pretext that the differences between the communities were irreconcilable and the book puts partition in true international perspective.

"As far as India is concerned, it was not decolonisation or self withdrawal for the Britishers, but administrative breakdown, their inability to rule and the larger part of the law and order problem."

Partition was also an option before them, which was being put forward in different ways before various players, as much was a united India, she added.

The writer, Anita Inder Singh, said historical writers should be meticulous and provide evidence to authenticate what they write and to bring credibility to the written word.

"I have tried my bit to do just that and in Partition of India tried to reflect the findings of my research work and document those of which I had proof."

In writing the book effort has been made to address why even today we don't jointly fight for our problems -- that of communalism. Perhaps it is because how politicians use religion and because of the problem of identity, she added.