Animosity at Bay

An Alternative History of the India–Pakistan Relationship, 1947–1952

Pallavi Raghavan

A fresh, unconventional look at the early post-partition years, suggesting that cooperation rather than conflict was the order of the day between India and Pakistan.

Bibliographic Details
Animosity at Bay Hardback
January 2020£40.00
9781787382145 247pp

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In this groundbreaking book, Raghavan uses previously untapped archival sources to weave together new stories about the experiences of post-partition state-making in South Asia. Through meticulous research, it challenges the existing wisdom about the preponderance of animosity and the rhetoric of war.

The book shows how amity and a spirit of cordiality governed relations between the states of India and Pakistan in the first five years after partition. Arguing that a hitherto overlooked set of considerations have to be integrated more closely into the analysis of bilateral dialogue, this book analyses the developments leading to the No War correspondence between Nehru and Liaquat Ali Khan, the signing of a ‘Minorities’ Pact between the two prime ministers, and the early stages of the Indus Waters negotiations, as well as exploring the calculations of Indian and Pakistani delegates at a series of interdominion conferences held in the years after partition.

This book will be of interest to specialists in histories of diplomatic practice as well as a general audience in search of narratives of peace in the South Asia region


Pallavi Raghavan is Assistant Professor of International Relations at Ashoka University, Delhi, where she researches on India's international history, and on the global history of partitions.


Animosity at Bay [provides] a fresh look at a historical period that has always haunted popular imagination.’ — The Mumbai Mirror

‘A fascinating account of how, in the shadow of a bloody Partition, India and Pakistan worked to create bilateral spaces of mutuality and reciprocity, collaboration and cooperation, to address the most pressing issues of the time—from citizenship and the rights of minorities, to property, water sharing, and trade—even as they embarked upon the arduous task of state-making. This marvellous alternative history of a foundational period has particular resonance for the contemporary moment.’ — Niraja G. Jayal, Professor at the Centre for the Study of Law and Governance, Jawaharlal Nehru University

‘A pioneering and timely intervention at a critical time for one of the world’s most dangerous regions. Raghavan’s sober analysis of cooperation as well as conflict challenges the dominant perception of India-Pakistan relations as the site of uncompromising hostility.’ — Farzana Shaikh, Associate Fellow, Asia-Pacific Programme, Chatham House, and author of Making Sense of Pakistan

‘An outstanding and pioneering account of cooperation and collaboration between India and Pakistan in the early years after partition. This revisionist study is sure to become the definitive work on that period and essential reading for those seeking fresh historical insights into the troubled relationship.’ — Amitabh Mattoo, Professor of Disarmament Studies, Centre for International Politics, Organization and Disarmament (CIPOD), School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University

‘The most original study yet written of one of the world’s oldest conflicts, Pallavi Raghavan’s history of Indo-Pakistani relations revolutionises the genre. It does so by looking at how this conflict is defined more by what the two countries share than their differences, which is what makes it so intractable.’ — Faisal Devji, Professor of Indian History and Director of the Asian Studies Centre, University of Oxford