The Types Of Political Boundaries

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The political boundaries have variously been classified. I would like to add further fruitful classifications based on the element of permanence and consistency as enumerated below:

1.The Perennial Boundary:

Such boundary as is relatively permanent and fixed whether on land, water or in air may be called a perennial boundary.

Now, the very concept of "relativity" differs person to person. It may be 100 years', 200 years' or even 1000 years' period and so on. I take it to mean 100 years' period at least. Any boundary which does not remain stable as it is for 100 years minimum may not be entitled to be called a perennial boundary. Just as a perennial river is supposed to be carrying water throughout the year reflecting the permanence of the element of water so does a perennial political boundary shows the permanence of the element of the Boundary Line. Relatively speaking, even the so-called perennial rivers may be termed seasonal when viewed from the perspective of a long geological period of time. Like, the long lost river Saraswati must have been a perennial river of the Indian subcontinent thousands of years back. But, it does not exist anymore. However, a line of reference has to be drawn somewhere. Hence, I have taken a period of 100 years as the crucial deciding factor to differentiate political boundaries into perennial and seasonal ones.

 2.The Seasonal Boundary:

 The boundary which is seasonal and does not possess the permanence of the element of boundary line for at least a period of 100 years may be termed seasonal boundary. Just as a seasonal river brims with water during a certain season and remains dry during the rest of the year so does a seasonal boundary remains fixed during a certain short period of time and remains perturbed during the rest of the period of time in a given span of 100 years. Therefore, we as political geographers must necessarily take into account the behavior of a political boundary in the preceding   100 years' time.

 Examples:

 The political boundary of the U.S.A. may safely be called a perennial boundary. On the other hand, political boundaries of many a nation states in Africa in 20th  century A.D. may be labeled seasonal political boundaries, since these altered several times from 1900 A.D. to 2000 A.D.

3.The Cyclonic Boundary:

In a typical cyclone, air rushes into low pressure center from high pressure surrounding areas. A similar or near similar phenomenon can be observed at work in case of political boundaries, too. The Political Capital cities of the two adjacent and neighbouring nation-States may act as high pressure areas from where political desires/ambitions flow towards the low pressure centre of the common political boundary. The Low pressure is created on a given political boundary when it is not defined clearly and displays elements of ambiguity. Consequently, the high pressure -flows from both the political capitals converge on such a low pressure area as this political boundary. The Intensity and magnitude of such flows may vary from time to time due to various reasons. However, this cyclonic phenomenon in politico-geographical terms may not clear out as fast as a climatic cyclonic phenomenon. It may take years and even decades to peter out. Once a convergence takes place n such a low pressure centre, there is heavy precipitation in terms of border disputes, clashes, skirmishes and may even be a fullfledged or proxy military warfare. This precipitation may take several years before the political weather on geographical-political surface becomes clear which may happen only if one of the two sides inflicts a crushing defeat on the other, through amicable negotiations and mediations or an imposition of a solution by an outside agency. The net result is that either the political boundary maintains a status quo or gets perceptibly changed. It may either lead to cooling down of the frayed political nerves in both the political capitals or may leave enough scope for future political troubles.

Example:

Both India and Pakistan don't have a clear cut political boundary line in Jammu and Kashmir region. The so-called Actual L-O-C (line of control) separating the two neighbours here is in fact a cyclonic political boundary. As such, it has witnessed enactment by both countries of several rounds of hostile acts, skirmishes, battles and wars in the politico-military operation theatre. Despite defeat of Pakistan in 1971 Indo-Pak war and subsequent Shimla Declaration accepting the L-O-C as the permanent political boundary line(PBL)  , the said PBL is ill defined/delineated on the actual ground and not clearly marked on political maps  besides the factor of its non-acceptance by both the nation states.

Many such more examples may be found in the past and present times.

The Cyclonic political boundaries (CPB) are potential trouble spots. As such, precautions must be taken to prevent emergence of such CPBs either through pre-emptive measures of defusing the high pressure in both the political capitals or else at a later stage managing a peaceful "precipitation" on the CPB.

4.The Anticyclonic Boundary: 

The Anti-cyclonic political boundary (APB) is exactly the opposite of a CPB in many respects, if not in toto.

Here, the high pressure centre develops on the political boundary per se and proceeds towards the comparatively low pressure areas of both the political capitals. The people living on either side of the political boundary are so enmeshed with each other that they hardly see any rationale in the existing political boundary. They come to view it as something artificially and superficially superimposed upon them. They don't see each other as parts of altogether separate political entities. Rather, this "nation"   sprawling on either side of the existing political boundary line (EPBL) and including the EPBL itself becomes so powerful that it generates outflow of political ambitions towards the political capitals. These ambitions entail dismantling of the EPBL. Since the political capitals become low pressure systems, these are overwhelmed by high pressure system forces. In other words, political authorities in both the political capitals become so weak that they are unable to resist the political demands of the nation transcending their EPBL! Consequently, by the time such a precipitation is over and the political sky becomes clear, one finds that the EPBL has simply withered away!

Example:

The Great Berlin Wall signified an APB which ultimately led to the collapse of the EPBL that had once separated artificially the Great German Nation into East Germany and West Germany.

The APBs by their very nature are harbingers of Geographico-politico unity of two separately existing political sovereign nation-States. In a way, these are initiators of Peace and Unification of disparate nation states.

Viewed from a larger global perspective, we find ourselves in the midst of the dynamic process of conversion of existing CPBLs into APB lines albeit on quite a subtle level. For example, regional economic groupings like European Union (EU) with a common currency called Euro has subtly modified CPBLs of its constituent nation states into effective APB lines. No longer do the citizens of these nation states see themselves as fragmented parts of different political entities. Rather, they think of themselves as part of a greater politico-economic union called EU. Thus, we see emergence of the APB lines.

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