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From imperial discussion to transnational debate. The Commonwealth journal The Round Table and the Indo-Pakistani partition, 1947–1957

Journal article
Authors Jens Norrby
Published in History of European Ideas
Volume 46
Issue 1
Pages 25-40
ISSN 01916599
Publication year 2020
Published at Department of Literature, History of Ideas, and Religion
Centre for European Research (CERGU)
Pages 25-40
Language en
Keywords British Empire, commonwealth, decolonisation, the Indo-Pakistani partition, The Round Table, transnational history
Subject categories History of Ideas


© 2019, © 2019 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. The political shockwaves from the partition of India and Pakistan were felt far beyond the local tragedies that followed in its wake–not least in British imperial politics, where the two new Dominions and the subsequent reorganisation of the Commonwealth drastically altered the character of the imperial machinery. This article covers the first decade of Pakistan’s and India’s independence through the activity of the Commonwealth journal The Round Table. Through studying the interaction between the local correspondents and the English editorial staff, it argues that the inclusion of these new members, whose political class did not primarily stem from settlers, pressed the journal to transform its character. Thus, the journal went from facilitating imperial discussion, in which a homogenous group of contributors sought agreement, to transnational debate, in which a heterogeneous set of national perspectives were contrasted without any substantial reconciliation. As such, this meant the breakdown of the journal’s vision of a united, disinterested imperial truth and in its place spawned a multitude of parallel national views.

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