Contents: Foreword. Introduction. I. Political power struggle and communalism: 1. First escalation. 2. Interim. 3. New escalation. II. The internecine strife: 4. Before and after the Rawalpindi Massacre. 5. Partition and transfer of power. III. Independence: 6. Ethnic cleansing and genocide. Conclusions. Bibliography.
"The Partition of Punjab in 1947 constituted a humanitarian catastrophe with an estimated death toll of ½ a million people. This book is a study of the changing nature of violence in the period 1937-47 wherein the traditional forms of violence gave way to genocidal massacres. It looks at the actual incidents of violence and the role of political power struggle in altering the manifestation of violence. The unprecedented violence was not a sudden wave of anger and madness that erupted in August 1947. It was anticipated by the colonial rulers themselves and the communal organisations that had embarked upon assembling and training private armies.
"The deep-rooted communal beliefs spurred by national political events gave vent to violence that engulfed village after village, private homes, women and children who were once considered beyond the self-constructed boundaries of communal violence. It is a pre-history of Partition violence that is otherwise tucked away in the footnotes of Independence struggle." (jacket)