August 14, 2009

Today, Xeb-who-has-no-more-clothes, would like to offer you an essential history lesson.

A strangely persistent belief has been embraced by the world at large that I - and others who know better - realize is patently false. The belief in question is that Pakistan separated from India, in the year of 1947.

Now, there are many confusions and mysteries in history: why did Cain kill Abel? Who picked out the animals for Noah's ark? What is the cure for cancer? And more where that came from. Which is precisely why when things are clear, they should remain such and political rhetoric and baseless conjecture should be removed instantly from the equation.

Which brings us to the claim that Pakistan obtained independence from, separated from or generally broke away from India. Let me enlighten my audience with the truth by logically sequencing history as we know it.

1. Since the time when they rudely made their presence known within the land ruled by Mughal emperors, the British occupied the subcontinent declaring it their 'raj'. They raped and pillaged (aka colonized) the land ruthlessly subjugating the 'native' population.

2. 1947, at the end of the second world war the British finally decided to up and run. Good news for the natives that, but much talk ensued about what kind of politically autonomous nation-state type thing to leave behind.

3. Native agitation (and constant internal bickering) proved fruitful sometime near August when the British finally exited the scene leaving behind, on the 14th of August 1947: Pakistan (eventually to be known as the Islamic Republic)

4. And later, on the 15th of August 1947, India separated from Pakistan.

Now I know that history is not always fun, and it's not always pleasant but fact, my loves, is fact. I don't know why it's so difficult for Indians (in particular) to understand the above historical reality, but as my friend Mr. Holmes would say, 'Elementary, my dear Watson'. And ele-men-tary it truly be.

Happy Independence day all :)


Deepak Iyer said...

*hehe* .. good one ..

I also just realized that Sri Lanka separated from the both of us ! :D

Jamz1234 said...

India separated from pakistan?:P
As if pakistan existed b4
14th August 1947

Xeb said...

D: That they did. Little buggers! :P

J: It didn't. But Pakistan existed on August 14th, whereas India existed on August 15th. Ergo, India separated from Pakistan. Simple logic darling! :)

Deepak Iyer said...

Btw, this is called post hoc ergo propter hoc (

Jamz1234 said...

India was India b4 15th August 1947

it was liberated from the british empire on the 15th August 1947
Pakistan came in to existence on the 14th August 1947 and was separated Giving India its current image

"ergo" India existed b4 pakistan and pakistan separated

Deepak Iyer said...

@Xeb : Good luck explaining.

S said...

I'm glad it's still a cathartic exercise for people to solve chicken and egg problems... However, another lesson history teaches us (which may, just MAY be relevant here) is that neither nation state existed as a coherent entity until the disparate native factions fighting for their individual independence realized that co-operation was the best strategy for beating a technologically superior, disciplined and ruthless occupant.

But I completely agree that setting historical records (even imagined ones) straight, should be a priority for all educated South Asians.

However, might I ask the reason for sudden nationalistic fervor? Feeling a little liberated today, are we?

Xeb said...

Err, where are my Pakistani readers? My brilliant theory (which is not false causality or logical fallacy whatever Deepak thinks)is being bashed. I resent this, and I maintain that as a political anthropologist, I must point out the following:

1. The only political entity recognized as legitimate in the world today is the modern 'nation state'.

2. The nation-state is defined as a community with set national boundaries (and a flag, and a passport and other related bullshit marking real and imagined territoriality.

3. The subcontinent was NOT a nation-state, rather a governed land mass with no political (as defined by the modernists who took over the world) reality of its own. For all intents and purposes it was a gora acquisition.

4. When Pakistan was created on August 14th, a national identity was attributed to this land mass.

5. On August 15th, when India celebrates Independence a second national identity found its way to this land mass.

6. In this identity-giving, identity-taking scenario if Pakistan (political entity) to have separated from India (political entity) then India's independence should have been on August 13th (or earlier).

I see why you're annoyed darlings, but again, history is a bitter pill sometimes. Dont-cha-think?:P

S said...

Aah... I do believe that even the 'propoganda' that we're taught back in the Motherland got this part right, but I do believe that the identity of a unified 'Bharat' came together, and underwent several political, geographic and ideological transformations, starting out with the revolt of 1857 (which was essentially an attempt to re-instate the Mughal emperor as a titular head of a coalition of mostly North and Central Indian semi-autonomous monarchies) and percolating into its ultimate avatar (that included India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and other assorted territories) around the time of the Non Co-operation Movement (which advocated a democratic set-up divided equitably among the Indian National Congress, the Muslim League, and the myriad other parties fighting for their own beliefs, and which the Muslim League happily participated in under the flag of a united 'India' - the British term of endearment for their favorite colony). There... some more fodder for your wikipedia fueled cannon...

Xeb said...

Wikipedia?! Forsooth! Do not malign me this way you awful Indian man! :P Just because you take dejection badly does not give you a right to attribute the beautiful logic of my brain to the stale notes of a wiki-anything!

And yes, I agree with what you say. But as you know, in the world of 'modernists' all of that counted for nothing. What matters is territorial boundaries. And other such drivel. All of which I soundly thrashed in my MA thesis (the-one-which-won-the-prize-I-still-brag-about). But I must admit, thrashing aside, the concept has some merit when it comes to defining India-Pakistan political reality. No? :P

Anonymous said...


I think we all agree that the united Imdia or sub continent as it was known back then, went through myriad transformations both in terms of emergence of new political parties as well as change of rule at both national and regional levels. However, what Xeb is saying is that the state 'India' came into existence on the 15th after Pakistan was carved out. United India existed before as well but not in the form of the 'State of India' as it is now!
In any case, the important thing is to have some samosa and chai and enjoy the national holiday that both the countries enjoy to mark the independence day!:)

A-Pakistani-reader-of-Xeb's blog

brok3n said...

I want samosa too. And THIS is interesting =P

Xeb said...


Pakistani readers!

*dances around with joy*

I'm also craving samosas, chai I just had though!

S said...

What?!!! Who dares silence my indignation with samosas and reconciliation! I shall not fall for these Obama-esque connivances! For shame! I shall rain down upon thee with blazing thunderbolts of logic and furious... ooh wait... are these kheema samosas or aloo samosas we're talking about? And is there masala chai involved?

Deepak Iyer said...

What ?? You guys too get samosas and tea for I-day ??? We have more in common than I thought.

@Xeb : People really fell for that ? Or do I not deserve to be among your readers ?

P.S. : Whenever you mention anthropology, I think of cockroaches. I don't know what the relation is, but any ideas ? Is there anything related to cockroaches with a similar sounding word ?

Ubaid said...

enjoys what brok3n said... and i know its late per mujhey bhi samosa chaiya hai =$ and this is really fun!!

Ali K. said...

haha India separated from Pakistan.. love it!

Ali said...

Yes, i went to aku for free break fast :) only to be disappointed this year:P

Well, i like your logic Pakistan got independence on 14th Aug. 12:30 am

and subsequently our neighbors followed us.. We be her elder brother, just that she be eating ALOT!!!

Mars said...

hehe..interesting logic there! :)

Mars said...

hehe..interesting logic there! :)

Mars said...

hehe..interesting logic there! :)

Salman Latif said...

Interesting theory. Not that it matters either way. :D

APOO said...

Hahaha! I love this theory! You should publish it in a journal. Confuse the historians

Xeb said...

Finally! Somebody who appreciates revisionist historians! ;) Welcome to my blog.Come back often! :P

Deepak Iyer said...

24 comments for this post !! Damn, I need to start posting radical stuff too :)

Anonymous said...

Good afternoon- I am going to use simple terms, sans any political theory or anthropological theories.


India, as it stood undivided pre-1947 was recognized the world over as India (without being known as the democratic secular republic as it is now known). Pakistan was a part of India. This is the truth.

Let me give you some instances purporting this truth:

a) Pre-1947, India entered into various international conventions and treaties (as India, which including the piece and parcel of land which later became Pakistan). India even issued its own travel documents and was a part of world trade and commerce as India.

Since only 'recognized' nation states can enter into and bind themselves into treatise and conventions and issue internationally recognized travel documents, I would like to believe that the world community at large recognized India as India, even prior to 1947.

Your argument in Para 1, 2 and even 3, therefore, fails.

b.) Pre-1947 era India had plethora of laws which were validly passed by the relevant legislative divisions under various Government of India acts. It should not be surprising then that most of India's and Pakistan's present days laws are verbatim. Including some of the most basic and important ones, such as Contract Act, Stamp Act, Transfer of Property Act and even the Penal Code. Please don't now take the defense that Pakistan's laws made prior to 1947, which laws your today follow, were enacted by some amoeba-like 'governed land mass' cluster!!

Since legislative functions can be carried out by a nation-state only, I would like to believe that India as a nation-state existed even prior to 1947.

c.) The fact that the British had India's political sovereignty; does not evade India's political nation state existence itself. By Xeb's unexplainable rationale, it would mean that France never existed before the Americans stormed the beaches of Normandy, and that Japan was not Japan before the brokered peace with the Allied, or (stretching it) by that rationale, Pakistan still does not exist, since international community is really perplexed about the unity amongst the divided fraction of Pakistan. I am sorry to be rubbing it in but sometimes uninformed bashing can bring out abrasion beyond reasonable proportion.


It is a self-defeating myth that Pakistan came into existence before India. The fact, like I said in the first para, India existed even before the British came along. British owned India's sovereignty for a temporary period. That by itself does not mean anything. Both for Pre-1947 India or for post Pakistan.

And Xeb, just to assuage everyone's ego here, India and Pakistan practically separated mutatis-mutandis, which was 00:00 at the night between August 14 and August 15. Please interpret as it suits you.

And oh of course, enjoy the Samosa and the Chai! Its perfect weather for some Guinness though.

Xeb said...

D: *hehe* Maybe you should!

Anon: Good afternoon. I could argue (because argument is fun when it's not painful :P) some more, but I think I'm going to sit back and enjoy the Samosa and Chai. You can come too. And bring your Guinness! :)

Ps: I wish you had left a name, but oh well!

Anonymous said...

Isko bolte hain: Bolti Bandh.

Xeb said...

Haha, I'm tempted. But I don't have the energy to further this pointless argument! :P Sorry. Some other time. Promise!

crackfire said...

Is it even necessary to worry about who separated from whom. Arrey both cited irrevocable differences for the divorce.

So to me all that matters to me is that we separated. For good or for bad, let history be the judge of that.

Xeb said...

Irrevocable differences. I like that! *hehe*