Sunday, August 12, 2007

'Exit Wounds' by Pankaj Mishra

For those of you who have time, Pankaj Mishra has written a thought-provoking piece in The New Yorker about how the British Empire's shoddy handling of the partition of erstwhile India in 1947 helped sow the seeds of a war that is now leaving people as far away as Europe and the US scarred for life. This chilling conclusion is perhaps what is most noteworthy:

Meeting Mountbatten a few months after partition, Churchill assailed him for helping Britain’s “enemies,” “Hindustan,” against “Britain’s friends,” the Muslims. Little did Churchill know that his expedient boosting of political Islam would eventually unleash a global jihad engulfing even distant New York and London. The rival nationalisms and politicized religions the British Empire brought into being now clash in an enlarged geopolitical arena; and the human costs of imperial overreaching seem unlikely to attain a final tally for many more decades.

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