From Subjects to Citizens: Society and the Everyday State in India and Pakistan 1947 - 1964

  • Contact Us
  • The Flux of the Matter: Loyalty, Corruption and the Everyday State in India and Pakistan, 1947-1964

    William Gould, Taylor C. Sherman and Sarah Ansari


    This article explores the history of the everyday state in South Asia in the first decade after independence. Considering two provinces and a former princely state in the same frame for the first time, it compares the changes in government service in Sindh in Pakistan, in the former princely state of Hyderabad (Deccan), and in Uttar Pradesh in India. While existing scholarship has tended to assume that, in the immediate aftermath of independence in 1947, India and Pakistan did little to alter the police and bureaucracy that they inherited from the British Raj, this article demonstrates that notions of loyalty, belonging and service were in fact radically altered by the violence of partition and the integration of the princely states. At the same time, independence, the introduction of self-rule and the expansion of the responsibilities of government transformed both the behaviour of government servants and the expectations the public had of them. Far from forcing India and Pakistan to consolidate their services and eschew change, the flux witnessed in this period stirred fresh demands for access to government jobs, inspired new suspicions about minorities and political opponents within the services, and gave rise to a wave of efforts to end corruption. This article examines the ways in which these forces reconfigured the composition of the police and bureaucracy and altered conceptions of service in both India and Pakistan.

    This piece is currently under review. Please join our Research Network to be informed when it is published.