By way of framing Manan Ahmed Asif's intriguing personal (and poetic) reflection entitled “Idol in the Archive” in this current issue of the Journal of Asian Studies, it must always be remembered that in August 1947, the old British Raj gave birth to not one but two independent nation-states, namely India and Pakistan. India became a “Sovereign Democratic Republic” when its Constitution came into effect on January 26, 1950, following adoption of its draft Constitution by its Constituent Assembly on November 26, 1949. Pakistan took a bit longer, becoming the “Islamic Republic of Pakistan” when its first Constitution came into effect on March 23, 1956. Furthermore, of course, Pakistan underwent secession of its Eastern Province with the founding of the “People's Republic of Bangladesh” in 1971. It is hardly an exaggeration to suggest that partition is the defining event of modern independent India and Pakistan, and, more than that, continues to be the defining event of India and Pakistan even after more than fifty years of independence.

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