Revisiting Creating a New Medina: Reflections on Fault-lines of Partition Historiography
AbstractThis essay responds to various questions and criticisms that have been articulated regarding my book, Creating a New Medina, over the last nearly four years since its publication. It locates the book in the field of Partition studies and clarifies its arguments and contributions to the debates on Partition and Pakistan. It then addresses the most prominent criticisms—be they methodological, historiographic or political—by choosing four reviews by scholars in the field. These reviews have appeared in a variety of venues- an online news portal, a long form narrative journalism magazine, and a literary journal devoted to reviews of books in India, besides a professional scholarly journal in the U.S. In the process of replying to critiques, the essay also indexes a range of extensive and thoughtful comments by scholars in various fields thus pointing to the nature of conversations that have happened in the aftermath of the book. It concludes that arguments on the Partition are by no means over and bound to continue. It consequently calls for a civil debate based on careful historical research that is communicated in clear writing, to keep up the robust conversation on what remains a compelling subject in which not just scholars but the general public at large in the subcontinent along with its far-flung diaspora remain passionately interested and invested.
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