To Orwell Today,


I am a high school student. I am doing a historical investigation on the following topic:

- What are the causes of India's partition?

I came across your work on this topic. Can you suggest any books which particularly deal with this topic?


Greetings Vaisnavi,

I suggest the book THE GREAT PARTITION: THE MAKING OF INDIA AND PAKISTAN, by Yasmin Khan, because it is mentioned favourably in the article on my website that you mentioned.

I haven't read it myself yet, but I read a good review about at

"Partition is a lasting lesson of both the dangers of imperial hubris and the reactions of extreme nationalism". Ms. Khan's account of the destruction (and a little of the re-emergence) of stable feelings of belonging in South Asia is both searing in narrative and reflective of the dangers of haste at the top, both British and indigenous, to ordinary people compelled to live with the consequences of inadequately and simplistically visualized change. So much of the published history to date in English of the events before, during, and after Partition is about the dilemmas of the well-known figures who brought on, or tried to navigate, the always difficult passage from colonial empire to swaraj, self-rule. Ms. Khan takes a very valuable and radically different approach. Her book's narrative themes are developed from comments by, for the most part, middle class people contending with monstrous waves of fear, doubt, worry, anxiety, agony, and desperation.

"The Great Partition tells how the ideas of Pakistan and swaraj triggered calamities that, with today's knowledge of cultural, linguistic, and religious development paths, could have been predicted. That they were not then is testimony to how much has since been learned by innumerable social scientists working in subjects barely conceived in the late 1940s as Pakistan and India began to emerge as independent states. Ms. Khan has rendered not only all those affected by Partition, but anyone charged with or aspiring to leadership, a service of great value. That she should be so young is especially good news, for what depth and breadth of insight can we expect from her next?

"Missing still, at least to this reviewer, is a book that links the financial and political circumstances of Atlee's and Truman's governments to the horrendously unexpected and in due course calamitous decision of Mountbatten in early June 1947, when he announced -- to the surprise of virtually everyone around him -- that the dates of both Partition and Independence would be only 2-1/2 months ahead into what already was clear would be a riotful future." [end quoting from review]

All the best,
Jackie Jura

PS - Also, I recommend you read Orwell's BURMESE DAYS because he held similar sentiments for India as he did for Burma and you will probably be able to relate to what he's saying

Jackie Jura
~ an independent researcher monitoring local, national and international events ~