In Search of the Third World: Decolonization, the Cold War, and Afro-Asianisms in Pakistan in the 1950s and 1960s

Thursday, January 3, 2019: 3:30 PM
Marshfield Room (Palmer House Hilton)
Ali Raza, Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient
This paper seeks to examine the past of envisaged futures in Pakistan during the 1950s and 60s. Situated within a wider backdrop of decolonization and cold war rivalries, Pakistan was marked by fractious political, social, and cultural debates between ideologically opposed camps that sought to determine the future trajectory of the nascent nation-state. The debates were centered on geo-political alignments, cultural linkages, and most importantly, the place of the 'Third World' in Pakistan. These alignments, together with the question of Afro-Asian solidarities - manifested most powerfully in international conferences, student politics, intellectual concerns, translated works, poems, novels, and travelogues etc – formed the basis of cultural and political contestations in Pakistan. This paper will chart these debates through the lens of anti-imperial internationalisms in what is otherwise a much-neglected area in the historiography in Pakistan.
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