Reflections on a Revolution in Pakistan

Overcrowded train transferring refugees during the partition of India, 1947. Columbia University

THE case for self-determination supposes the right of a people to strive to amount to something worth while--not just the opportunity to drift into ineffectuality and frustration. The fostering of international organization and coöperation also assumes the existence of states capable of getting things done and helping each other. Both the aspiration that divides and the aspiration that unites postulate states capable of playing historic rôles. Such is the norm we assume in our concept of the state in international life. One of its characteristics is a population conscious of a political identity, and aware of a common history, able to produce consensus and endowed with capabilities for running the apparatus of a state. A second characteristic is a defined territory, identified with the people by habit and history. A third is a régime identified with the populace and the territory, and endowed with faculties for making policy--that is, for making and enforcing public decisions involving the allocation of resources to new patterns of effort and creating new relationships, in contrast to mere enforcement of custom, order and peripheral security.

It has been all too easy to regard every political entity in colonial subordination as a frustrated state and in this light to view independence as the removal of impediments to development toward a mature, reasonably effective state in accordance with inherent teleological elements. These assumptions and hopes are reflected in the bringing of ever-increasing numbers of political units into formal statehood. An enormous multiplicity of states has come about in three historic phases--the Napoleonic period, the aftermath of World War I, and notably the period since World War II--with still more in the wings getting ready to come on stage in the next few years, especially in the African continent.

These new states are admitted into the dignities of their status. They send and receive envoys. They pick up franchises in international organizations. Those rising to independence in current times usually enter almost at once into the

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