Lecture note on Pakistan Colonial Administration

Abstract

On 15th August 1947 Indian Subcontinent won freedom from two centuries of British rule. The country was partitioned on the basis of religion. Muslim majority inhabited people formed Pakistan and Hindu majority people formed India. Bengal was partitioned into two. Two thirds of it joined with Pakistan and one third remained with India. Muslim majority inhabited East Bengal was with Pakistan. With the birth of Pakistan on the midnight of 14 August 1947 the eastern part of Bengal became province of Pakistan. Other provinces of Pakistan were Punjab, Sind and Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP). In several reasons this post-colonial state Pakistan state was unconventional. There are at least three reasons for why we can call Pakistan state as a very unconventional or special state: • First, Pakistan state was founded upon religious nationalism. Religion was supposed to cement a new national identity , something that had not been tried before---the only other modern example of a religiously based nation-state being Israel, which was founded a year later than Pakistan. • Second, Pakistan was a country with two discrete territories, separated from each other by about 1,500 km of Indian terrain. West Pakistan was by far the larger of these two wings but East Pakistan was more densely populated. In fact most Pakistani citizens lived in East Pakistan: the First population census in 1951 revealed that Pakistan had 78 million inhabitant, of whom 44 million (55 per cent) lived in East Pakistan. • Third, these two reasons combined with a third: Pakistan did not become heir to any of the colony’s central institutions. India, on the other hand inherited the capital New Delhi as well as most of the civil bureaucracy, armed forces and police. The bulk of the country’s resources and industries, and its major port cities of Mumbai and Kolkata also went to India. By contrast Pakistan inherited largely raw-material producing regions. Whereas the new rulers of India supplanted the British in the old center of colonial power, the new rulers of Pakistan had a much hard time to establish themselves. No other postcolonial state combined the loss of its administrative hub, the need to govern two unconnected territories and the ambition to found a national identity on a religious one.

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