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The Origins of War in South Asia: 1947-1971
Ganguly, Sumit Kumar
Department of Study
Degree Granting Institution
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Political Science, General
The study attempts to examine the origins of war between India and Pakistan during the time span of 1947 to 1971. Two major themes undergird this study. They are those of ideology and irredentism. The two nations of India and Pakistan were based upon markedly opposed ideological principles. The Indian state was predicated on the concept of a secular polity while Pakistan was inspired by the religious vision of Islam. These two competing ideologies clashed and led to an irredentist/anti-irredentist relationship between the two states over the status of the state of Kashmir. This state which was nominally ruled by a Hindu monarch but had a Muslim-majority population became the focus of the Pakistani irredentist claim. This was rejected with equal zeal by India, which was intent on demonstrating that all minorities could thrive under the aegis of a secular polity. These two basic forces were animated by the interplay of domestic, regional and systemic forces and thereby led to war.