Partition of India

In this podcast Natasha Robinson explores the history of the Partition of India in 1947, and how this history is taught in England. The 75th anniversary of Partition has sparked renewed interest in this period and its legacy, with several high-profile books and documentaries being released on the subject. England is furthermore home to a large South Asian diaspora community, making this history profoundly personal to many students. Family memories of this period are often diverse, painful, and deeply contested, requiring sensitivity and consideration from the history teacher.

To help think through some of the issues that teaching Partition presents, Natasha speaks to Dr Anwesha Roy, a lecturer in Indian history and culture at the University of Oxford. Dr Roy’s book Making Peace, Making Riots: Communalism and Communal Violence, Bengal 1940-47 was published in 2018 by Cambridge University Press. And to Catherine Priggs who is Assistant Headteacher at Dr Challoner's Grammar School and CPD Lead across Astra Teaching School Hub. Together they explore what makes this history controversial, and how to navigate some of the sensitivities that teachers might experience.  

Please note that each of the introductions are specific to the individual podcast while the acknowledgements are generic in all of the introductions. 

1. Introduction
2. What got you interested in the history of the Partition of India?
3. How did you get into teaching Partition?
4. Would you say the way this history has been taught has changed over the years?
5. What are the trends in the academic literature? What do students need in order to contextualise the history?
6. What narratives do teachers need to keep in mind when teaching Partition?
7. What other areas and approaches should teachers be aware of?
8. What do students come to the classroom already knowing about Partition? What assumptions do they bring?
9. How do you approach the teaching of Partition?
10. How do you teach Partition within a Higher Education context?
11. How do you approach the teaching the violence of Partition in the classroom?
12. What sources do the National Archives offer?
13. What sources do you use in a higher education context?
14. Can you talk about the politicised nature of Partition and how this might arise in the classroom?
15. How important is it for teachers in Britain to be aware of the political conversations being had in India and Pakistan around Partition?
16. Why is this history relevant for British students who don’t have a South Asian background?
17. Are comparisons with the division of Ireland and Israel/Palestine useful when teaching the history of Partition?
18. How do you think about the issue of comparisons and links to Partition in the classroom?

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