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Footnote to Partition, 1938? Burma in India, Riots in Burma

Matt Schissler

Burma’s time as a province of British India was short: barely four decades. Separation occurred in 1937. A year later, riots across lower and central Burma killed or injured more than a thousand people. Though in recent years these riots have been used as evidence for enduring “anti-Muslim” antagonism, many of those killed were identified as Indian but were not Muslim. These riots, as an event receiving global media coverage, meanwhile, triggered powerful responses from elsewhere in the empire. This paper argues that attention to that controversy can help us both better understand the violence of the colonial Burma as well as challenge dominant trends in historiography.