Letters: India's Partition
MELISSA BLOCK, host:
Now, to your comments. This week, in addition to Russia, we've also been focusing some attention on South Asia and the relationship between India and Pakistan. In one report, historian Ayesha Jalal of Tufts University said she blames the British for the violence that accompanied the partition of India in 1947.
Professor AYESHA JALAL (History, Tufts University): The British simply didn't want to get their hands dirty in this business of keeping Indians from going at each other's throats with the result that the British military did not actually try to prevent people from massacring each other or abducting each other or taking possession of property.
MICHELE NORRIS, host:
Listener Anthony Matthews, a former British officer, took issue with that statement. He worked with the Indian army during partition. He says it's unfair to blame the British who were overwhelmed by the scale of the violence.
BLOCK: He writes, the speakers know all too well that the subject matter is complex and their immediate and unanimous response that the British did not plan it properly does little justice to either themselves or the people involved. And Mr. Matthews continues, plans were made and properly executed with Indian troops, with both British and Indian officers deployed in an effort to control the situation. They were far too few, but they were not anymore available.
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