Citizens of the Nation

Haimanti Roy

in Partitioned Lives

Published in print January 2013 | ISBN: 9780198081777
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199081875 | DOI:
Citizens of the Nation

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This chapter examines the processes and legislations in India that sought to clear up such confusions. Although the laws defining citizenship came to be established by the Citizenship Act of 1955, ambiguities about who was an Indian citizenship continued and were prone to contextual interpretation with regard to those groups who would become ‘minorities’ within India and Pakistan after 1947. While in practice officials often failed to accurately implement equal rights when it came to India’s Muslim minorities, concern for Hindu minorities across the border in East Pakistan continued to guide official policy and actions in the post-Partition period. It argues that it was the continuing migration in the East (rather than in the West) that prompted legislators to confront specifically the modalities of defining a citizen and to formulate the rules for refugees to acquire Indian citizenship.

Keywords: Citizenship Act, 1955; Muslim minorities; migrants; citizens; Jawaharlal Nehru; optees; hostage theory; Muhammed Ali Jinnah; Pravash Chandra Lahiry; constitution; constituent assembly; refugees

Chapter.  10329 words. 

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