Perry Anderson · Why Partition? · LRB 19 July 2012

I have been doing a goodly bit of reading about Gandhi recently, and I have to recommend the series from Perry Anderson in the London Review Books. Most are behind a paywall, but this selection here is not. Incredible.

Perry Anderson · Why Partition? · LRB 19 July 2012:

In April 1947, he told Mountbatten that ‘the only alternatives were a continuation of British rule to keep law and order or an Indian bloodbath. The bloodbath must be faced and accepted.’ To an Indian journalist, he said he ‘would rather have a bloodbath in a united India after the British quit than agree to partition on a communal basis’. In the dénouement, the violence that satyagrahaspared the British was decanted among compatriots, as Gandhi had said was preferable.


One thought on “Perry Anderson · Why Partition? · LRB 19 July 2012

  1. No doubt there will be specialists–and perhaps one or two surviving direct witnesses to the events Anderson describes–who will quibble about what he chose to emphasis or not emphasize but in its broad outline Anderson’s thesis is very persuasive–certainly more persuasive than what we are told by the hagiographers of Gandhi and apologists for Attlee. If there is, however,a truly thoughtful and intellectually honest expert with a radically different view than Anderson’s, I can only hope that the Review will publish what he or she has to say–at equal length if necessary–on what must be one of the greatest fiascoes in memory. The subject matters too much to do otherwise.

    Meanwhile, I think we owe the editors our gratitude for giving Anderson the extra-space that he needed to state his case with so much brilliance.

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