Frontier into Borders, defining South Asian states 1757 -1857.
Ainslie T. Embree, Mark Juergensmeyer.
After the apocalyptic days of Second World War, British India got its independence and partitioned into two separate independent states of India and Pakistan.
But the more interesting and overwhelming point in the whole history of Indian independence and partitioning is that the present seven South Asian countries more or less have the same boundaries as delimited by the British colonial masters for them.
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The battle of Plassey (1757) in the present day Indian state of West Bengal and it’s victory gave a stunning political mileage to the British East India Company over their French competitors who participated in the Plassey battle and the Nawab of Bengal, Siraj ud Daula, Army were also being trained by them.
Dutch and their Dutch East India Company shocked at this defeat of Nawab and French at the battle of Plassey founding that there is no future for them in Bengal now, they ultimate relinquished their Dutch Bengal territory to British East India Company in 1824.
Martha’s defeat (1817-1819) and the fall of Tippu Sultan of Mysore (1799) left India open to them with no obstacles for them. They were now roaming and manoeuvring the vast expenses of India for their political and economic interest in next the hundred years.
The last attempt by the Indians to overthrow the yoke of Britishers was 1857 mutiny. This was the first War of Independence though British called it Indian Mutiny or the Sepoy Revolt of 1857.
These hundred years (1747-1857) were the formative phase of the present day seven South Asian states on the territorial basis.
Professor Embree gave a holistic look to reader by starting from the death of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb Alamgir when the regional powers or the warlords as they now maybe called in the modern parlance, seized powers for them.
The book also differentiates between the British and French sense of “boundary” and “frontier”.
The British notion of “Natural Frontier” was the geographical or landscape demarcation separating one area from the other. The French believed in the existence of “Natural Border” based on the social and demographic composition of an area like modern state borders.
The book with 4 chapters with a prologue and epilogue is good choice for read for knowing about the present day geopolitics and issues of South Asia.
Murtaza Kaleem an educator, freelance writer, movie-watcher, melodious music listener and an avid reader about International Relations and World Politics with a decade long experience of education and teaching to students of different sociological and economic backgrounds. My social links are;