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Pakistan's Search for Identity

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Master's thesis

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Review of the history of the area now known as Pakistan provides insight into the ancient Hindu culture and that of its Muslim conquerors, enabling a more complete understanding of current differences between India and Pakistan. When the British gained control of the Indian subcontinent, they divided it into two kinds of political units. Provinces were directly under British rule, but princely states, constituting the other political division, were headed by hereditary Indian rulers who acknowledged paramountcy of the government of India. This dichotomy later produced disputes which still seem insolvable. Nationalism flourished in South Asia during the early 20th century and gradually diverged into opposing Hindu and Muslim groups. The Muslims of India were not willing to accept independence within a united India where Hindus would hold a majority. Consequently, they sought and precipitately obtained the establishment of two dominions in the subcontinent, India and Pakistan, with boundaries generally determined on the basis of the majority religious composition of the population. Communal disorders accompanying partition caused the death of a half million or more people and the migration of some 12 million. Pakistan was, indeed, virtually shattered before it became a nation and relations with India deteriorated to a condition of armed conflict when disagreements concerning the princely states, division of assets and military stores of British India, and evacuee property all seemed to defy solution. Tasks which faced the new state of Pakistan were gigantic. Despite an economic structure which was almost totally disrupted and lacking in natural resources, Pakistan made slow but remarkable progress in implementing sound economic planning. United States assistance made this possible and aided substantially in modernization of the military forces of the new country. This assistance should be continued.

Subject Categories:

  • Government and Political Science
  • Humanities and History

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