The book is based on archival material accessed for the first time from the Nehru Papers and the archives of the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India. It provides readers with a new perspective on a great many significant issues of the subcontinent's India–Pakistan discourse. The Partition was an opportunity for the two nations to go their own ways and build egalitarian societies, complementing each other. Unfortunately, unable to transcend old animosities, Pakistan added new ones to construct the bogey of Indian hegemony. This was diametrically opposed to India's determination to steer clear of the past and pursue a positive policy towards Pakistan since it shared centuries of historical, economic, social and cultural ties with its people. For India, the separation was like a family dividing its assets by mutual agreement of its members and living peacefully thereafter. For Pakistan, however, the separation was akin to a permanent breakup of a family, which was accompanied by the nursing of grievances and the harbouring of adversarial feelings. It is this mental make-up dictating the Indo–Pakistan narrative in the years following the Partition, which the book succinctly captures.
Avtar Singh Bhasin joined the Ministry of External Affairs in 1963 where he served for three decades, retiring in 1993 as Director of the Historical Divison. Since retirement, he has taken to academic research. He was Senior Fellow of the Indian Council of Historical Research from 1994-96. He was Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Contemporary Studies, Nehru Memorial Museum and Library from 1997 to 2001. He has edited and authored several books on South Asian affairs. He also contributed many articles in newspapers on developments in the neighbouring countries. His 75 pieces on Partition and Freedom were published in the Asian Age consecutively from June 1 to August 14, 1997, coinciding with the Golden Jubilee celebrations of the Indian independence.
Amb Rakesh Sood, Distinguished Fellow, ORF
Amb Satinder K Lambah, Chairman, Ananta Aspen Centre
Professor Riyaz Punjabi, Vice Chancellor, University of Kashmir
Suhasini Haidar, Deputy Resident Editor & Affairs Editor, The Hindu
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