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Unfinished Agenda

10. Frontiers

The creation of Pakistan would leave Hindustan without a scientific frontier. There are two considerations, which, if taken into account, will show that the apprehensions of the Hindus in this matter are quite uncalled for. In the first place, can any country hope to have a frontier which may be called scientific? As Mr. Davies, the author of North-West Frontier, observes:

It would be impossible to demarcate on the NorthWest of our Indian Empire a frontier which would satisfy ethnological, political and military requirements. To seek for a zone which traverses easily definable geographical features; which does not violate ethnic considerations by cutting through the territories of closely related tribes; and which at the same time serves as a political boundary, is utopian.

As a matter of history, there has been no one scientific boundary for India and different persons have advocated different boundaries for India. The question of boundaries has given rise to two policies the Forward policy and the Back to the Indus policy. The Forward policy had a greater and a lesser intent, to use the language of Sir George Macmunn, a senior British official. In its greater intent, it meant active control of the affairs of Afghanistan and the extension of Indian influence upto the Oxus river.In its lesser intent, it was confined to the absorption of the tribal hills between the administered territory (i.e. the Province of North West Frontier) and Afghanistan as defined by the Durand Lire and the exercise of British control right up to that line. The greater intent of the Forward policy, as a basis for a safe boundary for India, has long been abandoned. Consequently, there remain three possible boundary lines to choose from (1) the Indus river, (2) the present administrative boundary of the N.W.F.P. and (3) the Durand Line. Pakistan will no doubt bring the boundary of Hindustan back to the Indus, indeed behind the Indus, to the Sutlej. But this back to the Indus policy was not without its advocates. The greatest exponent of the Indus boundary was Lord Lawrence, a British expert, who was vehemently opposed to any forward move beyond the trans-Indus foot hills. He advocated meeting any invader in the valley of the Indus. In his opinion, it would be an act of folly and weakness to give battle at any great distance from the Indus base; and the longer the distance an invading army has to march through Afghanistan and the tribal country, the more harassed it would be. Others, no doubt, have pointed out that a river is a weak line of defence. But the principal reason for not retiring to the Indus boundary seems to lie elsewhere. Mr. Davies gives the real reason when he says that the

'Back to Indus' cry becomes absurd when it is examined from the point of view of the inhabitants of the modern North-West Frontier Province. Not only would withdrawal mean loss of prestige, but it would also be a gross betrayal of those peoples to whom we have extended our beneflcient rule.

In fact, it is no use insisting that any particular boundary is the safest, for the simple reason that geographical conditions are not decisive in the world today and modern techniques have robbed natural frontiers of much of their former importance, even where there are mighty mountains, the broadest streams, widest seas or far stretching deserts

In the second place, it is always possible for nations with no natural boundaries to make good this defect. Countries are not wanting which have no natural boundaries. Yet, all have made good the deficiencies of nature, by creating artificial fortifications as barriers, which can be far more impregnable than natural barriers. There is no reason to suppose that the Hindus will not
be able to accomplish what other countries similarly situated have done. Given the resources, Hindus need have no fear for want of a naturally safe frontier.

Unfinished Agenda
Prafull Goradia
1. Why Transfer Population?
10. Frontiers
11. Financial Resources
12. Armed Forces
13. Pakistan and Communal Peace
14. Redrawing Boundaries
2. Unfinished Agenda of Partition
23. Two Nation Theory
24. Ethnic Cleansing by Pakistan
25. Get Out of Bangladesh
26. Population Transfer Between Greece and Turkey
3. Betrayal
4. Hindu Muslim Gulf
5. Theological Genesis of Separatism
6. Medieval Experience
7. Subcontinental Ummah is One
8. Separate Homeland For All Muslims
9. Ambedhar on Partition

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