Administrative Consequenses of Partition

Topics: Pakistan, Partition of India, Punjab Pages: 77 (12992 words) Published: March 18, 2013

A BSTRACT. Large scale migrations, especially involuntary ones, can have a sudden and substantial impact on the demographic landscape of both the sending and receiving communities. The partition of the Indian subcontinent in 1947 resulted in one of the largest and most rapid population exchanges in human history. We compile comparable census data pre and postpartition from India and Pakistan to estimate the impact of the migratory flows on educational and occupational compositions of districts, as well as gender ratios. An Indian district that experienced a one standard deviation increase in inflows experienced an increase in literacy of about 1%, and a decrease in percent engaged in agriculture of almost 6%. A district in Pakistan with a one standard deviation increase in inflows saw its literacy rate increase by 0.8% and its percent male decrease by 0.25%. Outflows, on the other hand, decreased literacy levels in India and Pakistan. Outflows from India also tended to decrease percent male and increase percent engaged in agriculture in India. While the inflow and outflow effects tend to mitigate each other, reducing the net impact, the overall impact of partion needs to be interpreted in light of the fact that partition led to increased religious homogenization. Also as a result of partition, cross religious group differences were replaced with within religious group differences. We hypothesize that the compositional effects of the flows had important consequences for the subsequent development of India and Pakistan.

E-mail address:,, Date: October 2008 .
Thanks to Saugata Bose, Michael Boozer, Tim Guinnane, Ayesha Jalal, Saumitra Jha, T.N. Srinivasan and Steven Wilkinson for comments on earlier drafts of this paper. We also thank the South Asia Initiative at Harvard for funding part of this project. Thanks to James Nye at the University of Chicago Library for access to the India Office records. Mytili Bala and Irfan Siddiqui provided excellent research assistance. 1



Large-scale migrations, particularly involuntary ones induced by war and political strife, have been a constant feature in world history. Recent events in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan (Darfur) bring to the forefront the importance of studying involuntary migrations. Current estimates suggest that there are 12 million refugees and an additional 21 million internally displaced people (World Refugee Survey 2006). Since migratory flows can have potentially large and long-lasting demographic and socio-economic effects, it is not surprising that such events can play a large part in shaping the future of affected regions. However, the consequences of involuntary flows are not well understood. Involuntary movements typically occur under extraordinary circumstances such as wars, partition, and ethnic/religious strife, and often involve the movement of a large number of people in a very short amount of time. These events make it all the more difficult to gather basic demographic information and even in their aftermath such data are hard to recall. The partition of India in August 1947 offers a unique opportunity to examine the consequences of such involuntary migrations. It was one of the largest and most rapid migrations in human history - an estimated 14.5 million people migrated within four years (Bharadwaj, Khwaja & Mian, 2008).1 Moreover, As detailed data is available for the periods before and after partition this facilitates an empirical investigation. In an earlier work (BKM 2008) we detail the data compilation exercise we conduct at the district level to allow for a micro-level analysis, and present evidence for the significance of the migratory flows. We estimate that 16.7 million...
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