This book is one among a number of recent publications dealing with various aspects of the origin and development of Muslim communal politics during the national movement. Many of these—for example, Sheila Sen’s work on Bengal, A.K. Gupta’s book on the N.W.F.P and Francis Robinson’s work on the growth of Muslim separatism in the United Provinces—deal not only with specific periods but only with given regions. Since Kaura sets out to explain ‘the emergence of the demand for India’s partition’ as such, one expects her to put forward a generalized conceptual framework that can demonstrate the inevitability of the actual course of events rather than merely record their details. Before launching into any discursive comments, one has to reconstruct from the different chapters the author’s explanation for the reasons that gave rise to the demand for Pakistan. Kaura locates the genesis of Muslim communal politics in the fact that, in contrast to Punjab and U.P., where Muslims in comparison to their share in the population had a disproportionately large share of landed property, facilities for education and government jobs, in Bengal, ‘they were backward both economically and educationally.’.
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