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W.H. Auden’s poem – Partition

My friend IK has reminded me of W.H. Auden’s poem “Partition,” published in 1966. These moving verses  highlight the absurdity of the way the border was created sixty two years ago: 

Unbiased at least he was when he arrived on his mission,
Having never set eyes on the land he was called to partition
Between two peoples fanatically at odds,
With their different diets and incompatible gods.
“Time,” they had briefed him in London, “is short. It’s too late
For mutual reconciliation or rational debate:
The only solution now lies in separation.
The Viceroy thinks, as you will see from his letter,
That the less you are seen in his company the better,
So we’ve arranged to provide you with other accommodation.
We can give you four judges, two Moslem and two Hindu,
To consult with, but the final decision must rest with you.” […]

Impressions – White Mughals by William Dalrymple

My bright, young friend Imaduddin (left) has written this excellent, terse review of the engaging book White Mughals.

Yesterday when he emailed me this text, I was intrigued by his views as well as envious of his ability to say a lot in so few words. […]

July 8th, 2008|books, History|5 Comments