1947 documents edited by Naseem Ahmed Bajwa

Indian independence and British Parliament 1947: Records of Proceedings in British Parliament and Declassified Archives, volume 1. Edited by Naseem Ahmed Bajwa. Grosvener House Publishing Limited. 2017

Barrister Naseem Ahmed Bajwa is one of the oldest friends from school days living today and a lifelong human rights activist with a dazzling academic record. I was privilged to be present at his 80th birthday celebrated by his family and friends recently and was delighted to receive copy of his compilation of independence records yesterday.

The book is a tome of over 600 pages, comprising a string of documents, including Indian Independence Bill and debates on it in the Houses of Parliament and the committee of the whole house, and the Independence Act, besides declassified archives and appendices. It promises to be the first volume of a series sponsored by Pakistan Academy of Law and Social Sciences, a brainchild of Bajwa, and to be produced by him with assistance from Aasia Ismail and Faisal Bajwa. The series is intended to traverse a journey back to 1935, when the first act towards independence was passed.

In a short preface, the editor tends to emphasise that “both the Government and opposition spokesmen expressed their unhappiness that India” had to be divided and hope was expressed that the two dominins in time to come might “come together to form one great member state of British Commonwealth of Nations”.

That was not to be.

The book has raised many “pertinent question” but discomforting question and I will defer handling them at the moment, hoping to come to them at a later stage. In the meantime, however, I will draw my readers’s attention to a poignant statement the editor has offfered by way of dedication: bajwa-book-dedication

To this I wholeheartedly commit.


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