CHAPTER ONE: A LESSER EVILIn many ways, this chapter is an extended consideration of the same themes and examples from the paper (by the same author) I considered a few posts ago; Kumar considers the colonial and post-colonial development of the "divide and rule" and then "divide and quit" British policy in Cyprus, Palestine, Ireland, and the Indian subcontinent, and then compares and contrasts those situations to contemporary Bosnia. In order to avoid redundancy, it would be easiest to redirect readers to this post where I summarized Kumar's arguments.
However, regular reader Owen was correct to question some of the views I incorrectly ascribed to Kumar (who I also, to my great embarrassment, identified as a "he" for reasons I don't understand--my sincere apologies for the confusion). My review was rushed and sloppy, and therefore did not accurately convey some of the nuances of her analysis.
To be more specific, I either implied or directly stated that it is Kumar's thesis that partition causes war, specifically in the case of India/Pakistan. Owen was correct to question this reading, and he was right--and I need to set the record straight right now. Kumar clearly knows the chronology far better than I do; her thesis is that ethnic partition fails to prevent war, and in fact makes the outbreak of violence all the more likely. Conversely, she does not argue that communal conflict necessarily leads to partition--Owen noted that partition in India had been discussed as far back as at least 1940, and had been largely agreed to by the leading Muslim and Hindu parties, respectively. This is also true, and Kumar goes into more detail on this history in the first chapter.
The colonialist heritage of ethnic partition is crucial to understanding Kumar's argument, and I hope I at least managed to convey that much. I must admit I have done her views, and the first chapter of her book as well as the previously considered paper, a disservice so far. I will try to redeem myself in the next post, which I will try to write before another nine-day gap has passed.