What were the reasons behind the Indian-Pakistani partition of British India and present condition between the two nations?

1. Congress leadership: Nehru and Gandhi underestimated Jinnah, Muslim League, its ambitions and outreach.

  • In the 1920s, Gandhi neglected Jinnah and appealed to Muslims for a common cause, which seemed harmless at that time.
  • In the 1930s, Nehru, assured of the backing of his socialist ideology and the support among the Muslim bases for the same, arrogantly believed that Muslims won't be moved by a party based on faith. It later turned out he was false.
  • In the 1930s, Jinnah was willing to negotiate an agreement with the leadership, but was constantly ignored.                                                This is going over my head. Arrogance and underestimation of someone doesn't go unpunished. However blame is to be equally shared by all the top leaders.
  • In the 1940s, ML with almost a million members had no compulsion to bow out. He had no reason to cut a deal now. He was demanding recklessly. He refused to allow first independence , then partition. I may not comment on the course of history had this been allowed.
  • While Gandhi tried his best possible to stop the painful separation, Nehru wasn't ready to the idea of Jinnah being the first Prime Minister of the independent India till the very end. Patel hoped partition would show Jinnah the fault in his ideas and would seal his fate.

Thus the failure of Congress leadership and the rise of Jinnah is interlinked.

2. Jinnah and the Muslim League:

  • He instigated religious passions and fears among the masses since the 30s.
  • He was more concerned with the fact that Muslims and Hindus didn't intermarry or interdine and that Congress didn't have Muslim representatives in the 1946 Provincial Elections.
  • He claimed in his 1940 Muslim League Presidential Address that cultures, literature and way of living and views on life were different of the two communities. The theory of one nation had been carried along too far and that it was nothing but a far fetched dream. I don't think partition gave too much peace either.
  • The provinvcial elections were held on the lines of religion and demand for a new country, rather than on the promises of growth and "independence".
  • Direct Action Day was a call by this great leader. What else do you expect from such a gathering at such a crucial point of time on such a critical issue. If countries could be made by gatherings and processions, I'm going out on the streets to demand the Shubham Kingdom!

The violence, retaliation and counter violence led to the inevitable- Partition of two brothers, fighting for petty issues, not ready to listen and even the parents acting as stubborn kids.

3. The Brits ( Don't Forget them) :

  • The Brits promoted communal electorates. I don't see why a Muslim can't work for the cause for the Hindus and why a Hindu can't work for the cause of the Muslims as an elected leader.

However even if the Brits didn't do this, communal vote banks and voting pattern was coming into the picture, shown by 1300 members in the ML in 1927 rising to about a million by the time of independence, flocking from all strata of the society.

  • The Brits had positions reserved for the two communities in the government employment. "Special Care" was taken to promote animosity between the two groups.
  • Even after the partition, the Governor of West Punjab , Francis Mudie was more interested in his partisan policies and worked with his Cabinet to create a rift and thus killings were intensified.
  • In 1925, by the time struggle had peaked, the Sec of the State writes to the Viceroy that his priorities and hopes had always been the "eternity of the communal situation".
  • Even after the partition, most of the army personnel were deployed for the protection of the departing Brits, even when there was no imminent danger to them. No one had a moment to pay attention to them. There was "just a frenzied hunt for Hindu or Moslem symbols".
  • On 3 June 1947 Mountbatten announced partition from London and date had been strategically shifted to 15 August 1947 which was less than 10 weeks away from earlier planned June 1948.
  • The people, the country, the administration and the policy makers were ill-equipped to deal with something of this magnitude at such a short notice.
  • The Mountbatten administration seemed to portray that delaying the independence and the Partition process would have increased in more killings over a longer period of time, told by his biographer Philip Ziegler. In contrast , Andrew Roberts slammed him for his lack of action. Punjab Boundary Force was ill-staffed and there was no air cover. Hasty withdrawal led to more deaths according to him.
  • On 22 July Mountbatten writes to Radcliffe that "an extra day would reduce the disorder".
  • Mountbatten wanted to announce Punjab boundary award until the day of independence lest the forces be prepared on both sides of the boundary and the little killings which may have resulted would have been attributed to the Brits.

Thus we see there was a serious failure on the part of the Brits too. The intentions of the concerned officials were maligned and inhuman. They will never be forgiven for this!

19 Replies to “What were the reasons behind the Indian-Pakistani partition of British India and present condition between the two nations?”

  1. British never divided India(United them in fact)
    Afghanistan was never a part of India(Not by Fair means anyway)
    Before the invasion of Britain India was petty kingdoms which was ruled by greedy kings!
    India had a lot of cultural and religious differences
    During 1947 It was due to the interest of Indians and other separatists that India was divided
    For years Indians have blamed Britain and spread hatred towards them through text books, They have ignored the positives the British did for them

    The British rule has been: morally, a great blessing; politically, peace and order on one hand, blunders on the other; materially, impoverishment, relieved as far as the railway and other loans go. The natives call the British system "Sakar ki Churi," the knife of sugar. That is to say, there is no oppression, it is all smooth and sweet, but it is the knife, notwithstanding. I mention this that you should know these feelings. Our great misfortune is that you do not know our wants. When you will know our real wishes, I have not the least doubt that you would do justice. The genius and spirit of the British people is fair play and justice.

    Let us look at some things India gained due to the British rule
    1. Consolidation of former independent states under one administrative region called India. Leading to one nation called India.
    2. Introduction of Western education including arts, science and medicine. Introduction and exchange of new ideas.
    3. Introduction of Judiciary, Postal Services, Indian Penal Code, Indian Civil Services (IAS-now), etc, etc.
    4. Due to consolidation of states, peoples in India united together in freedom struggle.
    5. Acts passed against Sati tradition, etc, and elimination of other discriminatory traditional practices (untouchability, etc,etc)
    6. Consolidation and formalisation of Indian Defense forces into organised unit. Modernising and updating their weapons and strategies.
    7. Introduction of industries and employment for people.
    8. Introduction of Railway system.
    9. Setting up cities, introducing new architecture.
    10 Training workforce to run British India which also continued after independence.
    11. Introduction of English language

    An article from "The express"
    The period of colonial rule, spanning some 200 years, is routinely depicted as the systematic plundering of a nation. The popular view is that the Empire stripped India of its natural resources and gave little in return, leaving the place all but destitute when independence was finally granted in 1947.

    Now, however, a new book written by an Anglo-Indian challenges this notion. It asserts that in fact Britain laid the foundations for modern-day India and the prosperity that it enjoys today.

    The girders for every bridge, the track for every mile of railway and the vast array of machinery required for India's infrastructure were all carried there by the same ships that helped exploit a land thousands of miles away. The engineers who laid the cornerstones for India's development from Third World nation to burgeoning industrial superpower were British.

    "The indisputable fact is that India as a nation as it stands today was originally put together and created by a small, distant island country," says Dr Kartar Lalvani, founder of the vitamins company Vitabiotics and a former Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year, in the book he has spent the past eight years writing, The Making Of India: A Story Of British Enterprise. It comes out later this year.

    He adds: "The 'sins' of the Empire have been widely and frequently written about while the other positive side of the imperial coin, of which Britain can be proud and which laid the foundations for modern-day India, has always been overlooked. This is the first book of its kind to recognise Britain's vast contribution to India's social, civil and physical infrastructure provided during two centuries of colonial rule."

    THE British administration of India, a country then with a population of 500 million, diverse religions and spread over 17,000 square miles, was "superbly efficient", he argues. Dr Lalvani was born in Karachi, in 1931, where his father was a successful pharmacist and the family lived comfortably. But in 1947 the partition of India forced them to flee to Bombay, where they had to start their lives from scratch. With that background he is better placed than most historians, who have judged India from afar. He claims that India's success as the world's largest democracy, during a period when many other fledgling nations have endured strife, is largely down to imperial rule. It established the framework for India's justice system, civil service, loyal army and efficient police force.

    Dr Lalvani, who came to the UK in 1956 to study, believes that both nations benefited from the trade links that were firmly established in the 17th century and continued under the often maligned East India Company, which founded its first trading post in Surat, on the west coast of India, in 1613. Within 40 years it had another 22 bases, supplying the motherland with everything from salt to opium. At the time India, a country of disparate states, had no uniform government and it seemed that France might gain control as it also sought to expand its empire overseas. That prospect was ended by the victory of Robert Clive over French forces at Plassey, in Bengal, in 1757.

    It paved the way for the British Raj to rule India for almost two centuries, for the East India Company to thrive and for fortunes to be made by individuals.

    There were cases of corruption and greed and cruel reprisals against opponents but Dr Lalviani says: "It is important to note that there is a substantial list on the credit side.

    "They include railways, roads, canals, mines, sewers, plantations and the establishment of English law and language.

    "Great cities including Bombay, Calcutta and Madras were built and some of the finest universities and museums in India were founded. The first definitive atlas of India was drawn and there were great social reforms, such as the eradication of thugee (violent highway robbery), the banning of the custom of suttee (the burning of widows on the husband's funeral pyre) and female infanticide.

    "Perhaps most innovative of all was the bringing together of several different states into one unified India."

    Gradually the power of the East India Company was eroded to be replaced by more direct British government of India, leading to more investment. The Indian Army was formed and its top officers trained in new military academies, modelled on Sandhurst.

    At the heart of India's development was the expansion of the rail network, originally built to secure the colonial hold, which still prospers.

    Within 25 years, 10,000 miles of track were laid joining distant parts of the nation. By independence, 136,000 bridges had been constructed.

    Today Indian Railways is the world's largest employer, with a staggering 1.6 million workers on the payroll. By the mid-19th century India had a postal system, the spread of the English language allowed communication between people from different backgrounds, and the arts were thriving.

    Wildlife and ancient buildings, such as the Taj Mahal, were protected.

    As long ago as 1905 India's first national park was opened, in Assam state, to allow the endangered rhinoceros to flourish unmolested by hunters.

    The positive side of the Imperial coin has been overlooked Dr Kartar Lalvani

    By 1914, the Indian mining industry, which was built from nothing by the British, was producing nearly 16 million tons of coal a year. Health and life expectancy both improved dramatically, particularly because malaria was tackled and vaccination against smallpox introduced. Dr Lalvani adds: "The 200-year window of British governance was perhaps the only period in a thousand years of Indian history to date when the minorities and people of different religions felt more secure and less discriminated against, with a notable absence of killings, conflicts and persecutions."

    As the links between the two countries were established, wealthy young Indians were packed off to Britain to study and returned home well-trained, bristling with new ideas and instilled with a British sense of fair play. The mutual respect among Indians and Britons meant the transition from colonial rule to independence was peaceful.

    According to the author, by the time it happened India had a headstart over many former colonies and that was largely thanks to the Raj.

    The French, Dutch, Portuguese and Spanish all did much less for their former foreign outposts.

    Dr Lalvani believes some of the advantage was squandered by the first Prime Minister of independent India. He claims Jawaharlal Nehru erroneously ran the country along socialist lines, aligning India with the Soviet Union.

    Consequently, India missed out on the post-war economic boom and it took many years for the nation to become powerful. Millions of people were destined to live in poverty.

     When India belatedly embraced the global economy, about 20 years ago, it made huge strides. Now, 50 Indians are included on the annual lists of world billionaires – but the wealth has not filtered down to the country's poorest citizens.

    If the British left India untouched "The world's largest democracy" wouldn't have existed!

  2. Partition of India in Britain's imagination of the world served a purpose that far transcended the sub-continent. This becomes clear if one looks at British policy in context of events that took place just after independence. Put together with  functional utility of an Islamic Pakistan in British policy before partition we get a very clear picture of what had happened and more importantly how geopolitical games are played in the facade of fulfilling hopes and aspirations of people. All this becomes clear in what follows.

    For the sake of coherence I have divided the answer into three parts. I am briefly listing them.

    • Events immediately after independence
    • British position at United Nations
    • Containing soviet union

    • Events immediately after independence.

    A few months after independence was declared there was unprovoked aggression from the Pakistani side in the state of J&K. The aggressors were tribal pathans who were logistically supported by the Pakistani government. Later, Indian forces succeeded in relieving much of the province by November 1947.(They intervened after Hari Singh signed the accession pact.)

    Efforts to secure a political settlement continued throughout this military
    campaign. Mountbatten using his influence on India tried to press unilateral concessions. Nehru, by contrast, increasingly believed that an aggressive military response was the only option. However Mountbatten and Atlee(British PM) convinced Nehru into choosing a two-track
    course of action: a reference to the UN and contingency planning for attacking the bases in Pakistan. While Nehru proceeded in good faith on the first, Mountbatten held back on the second point.

    British partisanship at this point was part of a concerted policy. We now look at the British position at United Nations.

    • Partisan attitude in the United Nations

    At the United Nations in early 1948, British diplomats, advised by the United
    Kingdom’s Foreign Office, continually took positions and proffered proposals that favored Pakistan. This policy emerged from the developing crisis in Palestine(it's 1948) , concern about an Arab backlash, and the sense that Arab opinion might be further aggravated if British policy on Kashmir were to be seen as being unfriendly to a Muslim state. All of this was a piece of evolving British policy in the Arab region.

    • Containing soviet union

    As early as 1944, we know from the memoirs of Francis Tuker, the last General Officer Commanding of the British Indian Eastern Command that
    Imperial strategists supported the case for Pakistan, seeing it as a buffer against efforts by the Soviet Union to expand its influence into South Asia. Convinced that the Hindu faith, which was in Tucker’s view “to a great extent one of superstition and formalism”, would be displaced by “a material philosophy such as Communism”, British strategists believed it was very necessary to place Islam between Russian Communism and India.
    Below is an excerpt from his book "India’s Partition and Human Debasement, Vol. 1".

    There was much therefore to be said for the introduction of a new
    Muslim power supported by the science of Britain. If such a power could
    be produced and if we could orient the Muslim strip from North Africa
    through Islamia Deserta [sic], Persia and Afghanistan to the Himalayas,
    upon such a Muslim power in Northern India, then it had some chance of halting the filtration of Russia towards the Persian Gulf. These Islamic
    countries, even including Turkey, were not a very great strength in
    themselves. But with a northern Indian Islamic state of several millions,
    it would be reasonable to expect that Russia would not care to provoke them too much.

    Thus we see that Pakistan was planned as part of a mosaic of interlocking pieces(see image) intended to contain the Soviet Union long before the Partition of India became a certainty. Given the central role of Afghanistan in containing the Soviet Union  Britain’s interest in ensuring Pakistan is self-evident.

    This answer should not be construed to mean that the reason cited above was the only reason. It is rather a major reason to which most of the people are oblivious.

    1.There were many other details which should have been covered for the sake of completeness but I did not go into because that would make the answer inordinately long and also since most of them have been covered in User's answer.
    2. Comments are invited.

  3. I should share the historical fact which, in my view, may clarify many questions in this forum. India was, and has been, more of a region than a country – like ancient Khurasan or Asia minor, like Balkan or Scandanavia.
    It has happened only three times in the history of sub-continent that the most of the present day Indo-Pak region was under one rule.

    1. Ashoka (also included parts of present day Afghanistan and Iran)
    2. Aurangzeb Alamgir (also included Kabul, Afghanistan)
    3. British Raj
    Searching for answers to this particular question, we should keep the history in mind that present day sub-continent was never a country with a unified polity, not even the present day country of India. There were states and rajdhanis under various rajas and dynasties. They used to expand and shrink with the course of time. It is a history of wars, conquests, counter conquests, subjugation and tyranny. The inhabitants never lived happily together, even if there was any unification.
    That was also the reason the region was named sub-continent, as it includes many states with various nations and cultures with differing geographies. And that is why it took British invaders 100 years from the Battle of Plassey in Bengal (1757) to the Battle of Independence in 1857 to complete the conquest of sub-continent.
    There are many answers to your question but among the top would be the fact that it never meant to be a single country.

  4. Can you believe that Jinnah was the ambassador of Hindu-Muslim Unity till 1920 and played an important role in the Lucknow Pact?! Yes, he was.
    PIC: Gandhi – Jinnah talks

    In 1940, the Muslim League had moved a resolution demanding "Independent States" for Muslims in North Western and Eastern Parts of the country. The resolution "did not" mention partition or Pakistan. Then, what made the League demand an independent nation for Muslims?

    1930 – 1936: The League began viewing Muslims as separate nations from Hindus, and this notion might have developed from the communal tensions in 1920s and 1930s.

    1937 – 1945: Provincial elections seemed to have convinced the league that Muslims were a minority and would have to play a second fiddle in any democratic structure. It feared that the Muslims may even go unrepresented. The Congress's rejection to form a Congress-League government in the United Provinces agitated this issue.
    CONGRESS' PART: The Congress failed to mobilise the Muslim masses in 1930s allowed the League to mobilise its support, which grown large in number (enormously large) as it attracted people through religion.  The Congress under Nehru were so much confident in their sociological approach that they underestimated the Muslim League and its power. They thought that Muslims would not support a party just because of religion and would support the Congress because of its ideologies but they were wrong. The League now saw itself as the sole representative of all Muslims in the country. The Congress could not accept this claim since some Muslims still supported it.

    1946: Elections to the provinces seemed to indicate that Congress did well in the General Constituencies (where there were no reservations for any religious group) but the League's success in the seats reserved for Muslims was just spectacular and enormous! So, obviously, Jinnah, keen on political power, thought that he could be the first Prime Minister if there was a separate nation for Muslims. So, it was only in 1946 that he demanded for PAKISTAN.
    In March 1946, the British Cabinet sent a three member mission to Delhi to examine this demand and suggest a suitable political framework. It agreed that India should remain united with some autonomy for Muslims in N.Western and Eastern areas but they could not make the Congress and the League unite to agree to the specific details of the proposal. The Muslim League would not give up either, as it had fixed in mind that it would come into power if a separate nation was formed for Muslims was formed. Partition became more or less inevitable.
    Gandhiji tried his best to persuade Jinnah but in vain. He was prepared to make Jinnah as the first PM of India but Congress would not accept it.
    In August 1946, Direct Action Day was agitated among  the Muslims for winning its demand on Pakistan and communal riots broke out in Calcutta and Punjab region.
    PIC: Refugees from riot-torn Punjab gather in New Delhi in search of food and shelter
    By March 1947, hundreds of thousands of people were killed and violence had spread, women were raped, millions forced to leave their homes and become mere alien refugees in another country, India changed, many of its cities changed, and a new country Pakistan was born.
    So, the joy of our independence from British rule came with the pain and violence of partition.

  5. Question: What are the main reasons behind split of India-Pakistan split in 1947?

    Answer: The question is shown as asked by an Anonymous person. I hope that person is neither an Indian nor a Pakistani. Because this subject would have been well covered in History of both the countries. Indians and Pakistanis may have slightly different explanations on this subject. Most Indians would call it as an unwanted act but most Pakistanis would explain it as something that was needed at that time.

    Please see Partition of India – Wikipedia.

    Origin of the idea of partition

    At the start of 20th century in British India, some Muslims thought partition would be a good idea. They felt that Muslims in India are losing their political influence and the best way was to have a separate nation. It was also inspired by the Partition of Bengal that the British did in 1905. The British did it as a means to keep the Hindus and Muslims of Bengal separated so they could rule that province better. It was called ‘divide and rule’ policy. A few Muslims in Bengal fell for it. But it did not have a widespread appeal among all Muslims of India.

    Indian National Congress and Mr. Jinnah

    In India’s most popular political party of the time Congress, Mr. Jinnah was a famous Muslim leader and he was initially opposed to partition on religious lines. But by late 20’s he was losing influence and appeal in Indian national politics. Mr. Muhammad Iqbal was a famous poet and writer who convinced Mr. Jinnah in favor of Pakistan. Mr. Iqbal too was a patriotic Indian who wrote a famous patriotic poem called, ‘Sare Jahan se acchha, ye Hindustan hamara…’ (meaning, Our India is the greatest in the world). That poem is still very popular in India. It is a nationalistic poem but doesn’t disparage other nations. It helped instill patriotism among Indians during the times of British rule. By 1930’s Mr. Jinnah too came to the opinion that forming a separate nation was important for Muslims. Many more Muslim leaders like Chaudhury Rahmat Ali etc., were also of the same opinion. However, there were a few other Muslim leaders like Dr. Abul Kalam Azad who opposed partition on religious lines. He felt that India is the home for Muslims of this land.

    Indian elections of 1937 and 1945

    In the Indian elections of 1937, Muslim league, the party that promoted a separate nation for Muslims contested elections but lost very badly. On the contrary, Indian National Congress that opposed partition won many seats. Even in Muslim majority areas of India, Muslim league didn’t do well. By 1939, WW II had started in Europe. British viceroy announced India’s entry into the war. Congress which was a majority opposed it as they were not consulted in the crucial decision. Congress was opposed as it felt that Indians will fight in the war and lose a lot of money and resources but will be denied independence from the British (it had happened earlier in WW I). Congress leaders resigned en masse. In this political vacuum, Muslim league provided support to the British. It helped them to increase their appeal among Muslim majority areas. In the Indian elections of 1945, Muslim league won majority seats in Muslim majority areas of India – Punjab province and Bengal province, as also a few seats in other parts of India. Mr. Jinnah felt that it is the best time to demand a separate nation for Muslims. Congress continued to oppose it still. British were vacillating. They had started the divide and rule policy but couldn’t handle the divisions between Congress and Muslim league.

    Direct Action

    Mr. Jinnah was uncomfortable with the vacillation of the British. He was equally frustrated that Congress is not accepting his demands. The Muslim leaders in Congress such as Dr. Abul Kalam Azad or Mr. Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan still opposed partition. Mr. Jinnah made a clarion call, Direct action. It was a call that led to violence between Muslims and Hindus. It was a point of no return. The British government of India could not manage the violence. Hindus and Muslims who had been good neighbors saw each other as evil and indulged in mass violence and killing. Due to the government’s inaction and the mass riots, partition became a need of the hour. British government agreed to partition. Congress who had been opposed till this point came about to accept it. India’s greatest independence leader, Mahatma Gandhiji who opposed partition was crestfallen and sadly accepted it.

    Independence of India and Pakistan

    British government announced that they would be granting independence to India and Pakistan and the two independent nations were born on 14th and 15th of August 1947. Although the dates are different, it was a difference due to a few minutes before the midnight of 15th in Pakistan, and after a few minutes after midnight of 15th in India.

    India and Pakistan after independence

    At the time of independence in 1947, Pakistan was home to the largest Muslim population in the world, followed by Indonesia and then India. Muslims in India have been able to live freely and follow their religion safely till date. Of course there have been some attacks and riots against Muslims in India, just like there have been against minorities from time to time in all other countries of the world. Muslims have attained greatest positions such as President of India.

    Pakistan was formed as the nation where Muslims can freely practice their faith and to some extent it is true. But Pakistan split into two distinct nations, Pakistan and Bangladesh in 1971 after a protracted conflict and a war. Presently, Indonesia is the most populous Muslim nation in the world followed by India and then Pakistan.

  6. The partition of India into two states, is not really the whole story. In 1947, the British under the influence of largely one person, Winton Churchill, attempted to leave behind an even weaker state than any Indian could have imagined. There are many apologists for the British who will claim, that the last thing the British wanted was a broken India. As their intention had been to leave behind a legacy. This notion on a factual basis is not only disproven, it shows that without a doubt there was no intention of leaving India intact from 1905 onwards. In fact England had been pushing for divisions to develop between the Hindus,Muslims and later even Sikhs. Through various propaganda campaigns, and deliberate conditions placed on the methods in which parliamentary representation would function.

    Bengal, 1905

    Lord Curzon to the right, the Bengal Tiger became an endangered species under British Rule in India. Since that time many attempts have been made to revive this species so representative of India.

    Lord Curzon the Viceroy of India, announced on July 7, 1905 that Bengal would be partitioned into two provinces. The West of Bengal which was more affluent, dominated by Hindus and center of the Independence activities of India at the time. The East, which was predominantly Muslim, far poorer and less educated was split with it’s capital at Dacca. Lord Curzon stated this as his reasons for the action:

    "Calcutta is the centre from which the Congress Party is manipulated throughout the whole of Bengal, and indeed the whole of India. Its best wire pullers and its most frothy orators all reside here. The perfection of their machinery, and the tyranny which it enables them to exercise are truly remarkable. They dominate public opinion in Calcutta; they affect the High Court; they frighten the local Government, and they are sometimes not without serious influence on the Government of India. The whole of their activity is directed to creating an agency so powerful that they may one day be able to force a weak government to give them what they desire. Any measure in consequence that would divide the Bengali-speaking population; that would permit independent centres of activity and influence to grow up; that would dethrone Calcutta from its place as the center of successful intrigue, or that would weaken the influence of the lawyer class, who have the entire organisation in their hands, is intensely and hotly resented by them. The outcry will be loud and very fierce, but as a native gentleman said to me – 'my countrymen always howl until a thing is settled; then they accept it'."

    The Hindus of the Western region immediately protested this, and demanded that Bengal be put back together. In the East the Muslims for the most part did join in immediately. However, the Indian National Congress soon began to have impact in the Eastern areas and mobilized them to action as well. This resulted in the 1911, undoing of the partition of Bengal back into one province. This was a victory for the Indian Congress, and a defeat for the British administration which since 1757 when it had annexed Bengal, had managed to take Bengal Province from the richest Province of the Richest nation on earth to a place of famine and deindustrialization. In fact the British had been successful in one thing, they had made India the poorest large nation on Earth. India which had in 1757 been 25–33% of World GDP was now a nation which could be told of it’s so called racial, and economic inferiority by the very people who had robbed and taken it’s dignity away. However the British government had a second objective now, which was not about taking Indian wealth anymore. This second objective was to create permanent division as it was becoming clear that India would not stay in slavery. The problem was now Bengal in particular and India at large.

    Bengal in the period before British Rule, (Before 1757)

    Since Bengal had the unfortunate luck of being the richest province in Hindustan, under the Mughal Sultanate. It had been eyed for centuries when the British were just traders in India under the guise of the British East India Company. On June 23, 1757, the moment finally came when the British were able to finally through intrigue and supporting local feuds gain entrance into Indian politics. Bengal was annexed, and mountains of gold and silver were plundered. By many accounts barges filled with the riches of Bengal were loaded on to barges which lined up to be nearly 7 miles long, left India with Bengals wealth never to return. And this in turn funded the industrial revolution which just happened to begin in 1760. Thus, began in India the first of many famines, robberies and ultimately the slow take over of all of India under this detrimental foreign rule. Bengal suffered longer than any other province as it had been the most export oriented province of the Mughal Empire. Thus it’s industries were intentionally destroyed by the British. The tales are so tragic, of actual skilled workers having their fingers removed and factories burned, followed by excessive taxation and forced growing of cotton and opium rather than food. Thus, the basis of the wealth of Mughal India was destroyed. After the failure of the first war of Indian Independence in 1857, the immense national desire for Indian rule began in large measure in Calcutta, Bengal.

    The British colonial government attempted to stop the revolutionary ideas which in the early 20th century were fueling the educated classes in Calcutta. Everyday it seemed a new message and vision of an India freed from England was being talked about. Of course all of this was sedition, and arrests were always being made. But, after 1911 a tentative peace had been reached. And this peace was basically the use of force had been hard enough that open talk of independence had died down. Bengal needed time to reunify and the colonial administration felt like for at least the time being things would calm down. This of course was a complete miscalculation, as in another part of the Empire, M.K. Gandhi was thrown out a first class train car for the color of his skin. And this incident would give birth to a freedom fighter who was not like anything the Empire had seen before or would ever see again. By 1919, M.K. Gandhi returned to India. And within a couple of years he had gone further than anything which had been thought of by Congress in Bengal. He simply realized that the Empire had started as a money taking venture and this would be the first thing that had to be stopped. Thus through his non-cooperation and full endorsement of making things in India again, which by the way was illegal by colonial law, India began to have some semblance of it’s former self.

    Mahatama M.K. Gandhi and Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose

    A unified Indian freedom movement resisted British rule into the 1920’s. In fact Jinnah at this time was a symbol of Hindu-Muslim unity. The problems began when in the late 1920’s as the concept of the freedom movement changed from non-cooperation to demands for full independence. The British began at first by demonizing the Hindu religion as had been done in the early years of colonial rule. This was followed by Mother India, and other tales of how the British had come to India to benefit the backwardness of Indian culture. And to add to this narration a new and sudden comradery with the Muslims of India based upon the fact that the British and the Muslims followed an Abrahamic Religion. Of course this argument was a sham argument, as before this the British had been claiming the Aryan identity of India’s most ancient scriptures the Hindu Vedas. And along with this, they had claimed that they were more like the original Indo-Aryans, linguistically and racially. By doing so they had justified their rule. But, now after they had taken down all vestiges of Mughal rule and for nearly a century claimed how intolerant and barbaric it had been a new appreciation for it had developed conveniently. Of course in reality this was about dividing the freedom movement and trying to stop the eventual freedom of India. The historical interpretations and conclusions of British Colonialism can not at all be considered to be works academic credibility.

    In The Bengal famine 1942–1944, between 6–10 Million Indians died in the largest Human engineered famine in history. Winston Churchill, wanted to “Starve India’s freedom India maintain food exports. He stated “I hate Indians, they have a beastly religion.” The U.S. offered to assist with food, but he refused.

    Thus, with this new seed of friction, a new political push was also launched. A ludicrous system of groupings was supporting. By doing this a Muslim population of about 26% was to be guaranteed the voting power of 50%. Of course Congress was appalled by this concept, as democracy no where in the world works as such. But, here in India this was to be the medium by which India would be turned into a federation. Of course the intention was to make India into a dysfunctional nation. The masses could now be drawn into this debate, and it became harder as time passed to take the idea of groupings away from politicians who could not win with a clear majority, such as Jinnah. In the 1930’s congress began to win majorities throughout India including the Muslim majority areas. Jinnah saw there was no way for him to win against Nehru. So personal frustration and the support of Winston Churchill’s government for the concept of Pakistan began to change the dynamic of India. The British had realized that India was done as a colony. Churchill who was an ardent racist against Indians, since his early days, devised plan B under which even if India was lost his favorite part of India the North West would stay with England. When in 1940, Jinnah made his Lahore declaration and official demand for Pakistan, he knew already that it had been guaranteed it’s creation. Jinnah was not a freedom fighter he had never been arrested by colonial authorities. In fact, he was never even harassed by them. On all occasions he had supported Britain’s wars and cooperated to fullest extent possible. And the demand for Pakistan was again under the same mood of full cooperation.

    Partion of India, August 1947. The largest migration of people in history began. Nearly 30 Million people were affected, and more than 1.5 Million lost their lives.

    Of course after this point, many more platforms for a weaker and weaker India were offered to Congress. Which in retrospect were properly rejected by Congress. So an India which was handed back to Indians was done so with the condition of a creation of Pakistan, and the ability of 500+ princely states to decide their own fate. By this is was meant that they could join India, Pakistan or remain independent. During a period of six months Sardar Patel made deals which resulted in nearly all of them joining India. In August 1947, only the Nizamat of Hyderabad and the Maharaja of Kashmir held out. When Pakistan attacked Kashmir, the Maharaja of Kashmir Hari Singh joined India. And the L.O.C. today is where that stalemate ended. Hyderabad was invading by Indian troops and the Nizam at this point joined the Indian Union and later became a member of the Indian government. In January 1950, the Indian constitution was ratified and India became a Secular Republic and Democracy. Pakistan, did not ratify a constitution and became the world’s first Islamic State. Pakistan waged three unsuccessful wars against India. In the last war of December 1971, India liberated East Pakistan from a Pakistani led genocide of Hindus and Bangladeshi nationalists. This resulted in total defeat of Pakistan with nearly 100,000 Pakistani prisoners of war which were released some time later. The state of Bangladesh was created. Pakistan served the purpose of allowing it’s territory to be used by foreign powers during the cold war. It also never closed it’s economy to foreign investment such as India did in the decades after independence. The economies of the two nations have developed in completely different ways. And India today is counted among the world’s fastest growing economies. India also has had continuous democratic rule since 1950. Pakistan has had several military coups and civilian governments were routinely overthrown.

    Dacca, December 16, 1971, General Jagit Singh Aurora accepts the surrender of Pakistan.

    Both nations today are estranged even though in essence they were one country not so long ago. The seed of division has grown so deep that it is unlikely that it shall be rectified anytime soon. The cost of this division in life and economics has been severe for both nations. It is a tragedy of history for the sub-continent and the people of India and Pakistan that partition has not yielded any solution to the populations of India or Pakistan. In fact it has only made the situation worse, and started a new cold war on the Indian Subcontinent which for much of it’s history was united.

  7. It has already been pointed out by Rishav Banka that India was indeed left as 553 Independent kingdoms plus India and Pakistan so they didn't actually leave us united as one country. An addendum: It is a fact that on many occasions the British tried to keep the rulers from joining either India or Pakistan. One such case was the kingdom of Travancore (modern day Kerala) because of their desire to acquire thorium form the kingdom.

    It must also be understood, that the British, much like many in the rest of the world actually expected India to disintegrate within a few decades of Independence. And the effort to actually break the country into pieces and give separate independence was a logistical nightmare especially considering the strong political opposition. (Read about:  Political opposition to partition of Bengal (1905) and the opposition to Partition Of India).

    You must also keep in mind that there was never a movement for the united Independence of Africa or Middle East as compared to India.

    Summing up answers to your questions:

    "Why did the British leave it in one piece…?" They did not and even when we united they mostly never expected us to last in one piece.

    "How was creation of India beneficial to GB?" To state in relation to the alternative it was not.

    "Wouldn't GB had benefitted more if they had created many countries…?" Yes. If India were a set of small relatively powerless countries busy fighting with each other the British would have immensely benefited by trading with one party and another. Instead they have one big country to deal with. That too one that can challenge their authority as a world leader.

    Summing up my reservations with your premise:
    "the British are world renowned for their "Divide and Rule" policy. However, India seems to be an exception to this case." You are wrong. Its a fact that British used divide and rule in India. Look at Pakistan and Bangladesh for evidence. They also divided us along lines of regionalism. I gave you the example of Travancore.

    Also you give too much credit to the British for the unity of India. India is united because of the tireless efforts of Indian statesmen and the undeterred idealism in our political class back then. What you see of today's India is not what was left by the British. The British left our country in tatters. We have gathered the scattered pieces of our land and by perseverance stitched it into one nation. That is the legacy of Gandhi and Nehru and that is the legacy of Patel.

  8. ‘Islam is in danger’: Pakistan could have never been created without a highly flawed idea which can best be captured in these four chilling words.

    There was a clear disconnect between the ruling elite Muslims and the regular working class Muslims of India throughout much of India’s history. As a result the elite Muslims could not get the mass support of Muslim population to fulfill their personal ambitions. However they realized that they could get mass Muslim support by propagating this idea of ‘Islam is in danger’ and channelize this support to get whatever they fancied. Coming to reasons of partition, there were mainly 3 events that led to partition, and ‘Islam is in danger’ was the dominant idea that made this possible.

    1. Lucknow pact of 1916: During early 1900s freedom struggle was more of lawyers’ game than mass movement that we generally associate freedom struggle with. Congress negotiated with British government in incremental steps that could eventually lead to freedom. However there was another player in this game of power, Muslim League. Muslim League also seemed like an elite club of lawyers, with one important difference. It was a communal club and as such was negotiating with British less for independent India and more for Muslim interests. This was seriously undercutting the efforts of Congress for freedom. Under such circumstances divide and rule seemed like a piece of cake for the British. Both Congress and Muslim League understood this and decided to make some concessions in their respective demands, to confront the common enemy. This led to Lucknow pact of 1916. According to it Muslims were to be given 1/3 rd representation in the Central Government, and there were to be separate electorates. This meant that only Muslims could vote for Muslims. As can be seen this pact had already partitioned India electorally, next logical step was geographical partition.

    2. Khilafat Movement: World war 1 was a pretty humiliating experience for Caliph of Ottoman Empire. To say the least he was pounded by the British. Indian Muslims were furious. The fate of Mecca and Medina was hanging in the balance, worse it lay in the hands of the British, and this meant one thing ‘Islam was in danger’ from the Christian British. Gandhi sensed an opportunity to start his freedom struggle as Muslim mobilization was guaranteed, Hindus were asked to join in by Gandhi with following words “It ought not to appear strange for the Hindus to be on the same platform as Muslims in a matter that specifically and solely affects the Muslims. After all the test of friendship is true assistance in adversity” However Gandhi had only one condition that the struggle for the caliphate be non violent. Hindus and Muslims were on board. Muslims voluntarily gave up cow slaughter; ‘Hindu Muslim bhai bhai’ slogans were raised. There was Euphoria everywhere. However this was sadly not going to last long. Muslim leaders wanted to change gears to Civil Disobedience Movement. Gandhi personally lead this movement but warned the moment it became violent he would abandon it. Gandhi seemed to be legitimizing forces that were much beyond his control, violence was reported and Gandhi quit the Civil Disobedience Movement. It left a scar on Muslim psyche so deep that it never truly healed. Muslims would never trust Gandhi again. It is interesting to note here that it was Gandhi who used the idea of ‘Islam is in danger’ to meet his political aspirations and it was Jinnah who had warned Gandhi of dangers of mixing politics and religion. Few years later their roles were to be reversed.

    3. Aftermath of 1937 elections: With separate electorates 1937 elections should have been easy for Muslim League; that was not the case. It performed horribly in Muslim seats, Congress on other hand performed wonderfully. There was a real chance of avoiding going in the direction of partition by having a Congress-League alliance government. Congress leaders were optimistic. Jinnah was hopeful, he even appealed to Gandhi for a nationwide Congress-League alliance. But Nehru royally snubbed Muslim League and said that there were only two relevant forces, British Imperialism and Indian Nationalism and League represented neither. After this the course for partition was so set that nothing could reverse it. For Jinnah, this was a proof that Congress wanted to keep Muslims out of power and he got even more determined to reinvent the Muslim League. But 1937 elections had proved that Muslims did not view Muslim League favorably. How could he reinvent the League? By shifting the narrative to ’Islam is in danger’; with this narrative he knew he could not fail, he professed this idea that Islam was in danger in India and only way to save it was by having a separate geography. The idea picked pace, communal riots increased throughout the country, with the madness that had gripped the country partition was only logical.

  9. What Was The Two Nations Theory In 1947 ?

    Two countries were born, men abducted women, fathers killed their daughters. Everyone said it was to save their honour. Some young girls died, others survived. People moved like the sea, leaving everything behind: broken memories, half-dreamt dreams, places of worship" – this is the main character of 1947. Excitement over independence was quickly overshadowed by some of the worst bloodletting the world has ever seen, leaving up to 1 million people dead as gangs of Hindus and Muslims slaughtered each other.

    It’s been 70 years since India and Pakistan were carved from the former British Empire as independent nations, a process that triggered one of the largest human migrations in history. Overnight, Hindu and Muslim neighbors became fearful of one another. Mob violence broke out, leaving hundreds of thousands dead. Some 12 million people fled their homes — including Hindus afraid they would not be welcome in the newly declared Islamic state of Pakistan, and Muslims worried they’d suffer at the hands of India’s Hindu majority.

    Trains carrying migrants heading in either direction – Muslims going west to the newly formed West Pakistan or east to East Pakistan; and Hindus leaving those areas – were attacked, sometimes pulling in to their destinations with hardly a living soul left aboard. When the trains would reach Agra, thousands of Muslims would gather around the river. The trains would throw out bodies of Muslims into the river. While releasing some in the river, the water gradually turns red.

    The date was August 27, 1947, just 13 days after the partition of the Indian subcontinent into Muslim-majority Pakistan and Hindu-majority India, as the region gained independence from Britain. It is described by historians as perhaps the largest political migration in human history, with an estimated 15 million people fleeing their homes. Conservative estimates say that at least a million people were killed in the mass communal riots and widespread slaughter between religious communities that followed.

    According to the partition memory of 1947, Gangs of killers set whole villages aflame, hacking to death men and children and the aged while carrying off young women to be raped. Some British soldiers and journalists who had witnessed the Nazi death camps claimed Partition’s brutalities were worse: pregnant women had their breasts cut off and babies hacked out of their bellies; infants were found literally roasted on spits.

    By 1948, as the great migration drew to a close, more than fifteen million people had been uprooted, and between one and two million were dead. The comparison with the death camps is not so far-fetched as it may seem. Partition is central to modern identity in the Indian subcontinent, as the Holocaust is to identity among Jews, branded painfully onto the regional consciousness by memories of almost unimaginable violence.

  10. You have, in fact got your facts wrong. Contrary to what we believe, India was not cleanly divided into 2 parts.

    There were multiple provinces and small princely states that did not accede to India, Perhaps the most known of it all was Hyderabad province.

    I cannot find the map of India that showed how divided the country was then but Sardar Patel, The Iron man of India is so called for a reason.

    During his short tenure, he is said to have integrated almost 553 small states and provinces into the country. Political integration of the country was ,probably, the most daunting task facing the country after Independence.

    You can read more on the wikipedia article:

    Political integration of India

    EDIT: following map found by Quora User and posted in comments.

  11. The background of the Partition of India:

    The first official meeting of the Indian National Congress (INC) was held in 1885. The Muslim League had been formed as a result of the British Government efforts to divide the province of Bengal along religious lines, which had collapsed in the face of the vehement opposition led by the INC. The Muslim League had been formed to safeguard the rights of the Muslims in any case of such divisive actions of the British. Originally formed as an opposition to the INC, the Muslim league had generally agreed with the INC in their mutual motive of expelling the British from the country. The British, however, had always attempted to pit the INC and the Muslim League against each other.

    With the onset of the First World War, India had provided the British with the service of one million Indian soldiers on the assumption that such helpful actions might finally translate into political leniency on the part of the British, which may even result in independence of the nation. While such moves were consented by both the INC and the Muslim League, they had been severely wrong. Following the atrocities committed by the British in Amritsar in 1919, where the British had opened fire on an unarmed assemblage protesting against the British Regime in India, which had claimed more than thousand lives, the political scenario had changed drastically. The 1930s had witnessed millions of people without previous political inclinations signing up with INC and the Muslim League. Mohandas Gandhi, who had become a prominent and leading personality in the INC, had always upheld the cause of a united India with no discriminations between the Hindus and the Muslims. However, other members of the INC had demurred to join the Muslim League in a political fight to purge the British from India. Such alienation had initiated the Muslim League to think in terms of a separate nation for the Muslims.

    The apartheid between the Hindus and the Muslims:

    During the British regime in India, the Muslims comprised of approximately 25% of the total population of the country. However, the racial discrimination between the Hindus and Muslims were getting more pronounced. The Muslims, though differing in ethnic traits and language were spread across the country, especially in the erstwhile Bengal and Punjab regions where they had formed a majority of the population. The Muslims also varied in their societal and economic status ranging from solvent businessmen to urban and the rural poor class. However, the religious differences between the Hindus and Muslims, despite their coexistence, had been marked. The Muslims were strict adherers to the doctrine of one God (Monotheists), as dictated by their religious text Quoran, while the Hindus were polytheists and idolaters with their religious text – the Bhagavad Gita.

    Such religious differences also translated into sharp social differences. Despite being neighbors, they refrained from eating or studying together. Even separate waters were allocated to the Hindus and Muslims while travelling, for instance, on train journeys. Intermarriage was strictly prohibited. While cows were preached by the Hindus, beef happened to be the staple meat for the Muslims. India was at the eve of its freedom from the British rule and all set to create its own government and constitution. The Muslims were apprehensive of the fact that, through the implementation of such governance and constitution, the Hindus were actually attempting to constrain the lives of the Muslims. They were afraid that the Hindu Majority will severely interfere with the Muslim ways of living as dictated by the Quoran. In other words, they were almost sure that the Hindus will take away their social and religious freedom.

    In congruence with such intense racial feelings, Muslim League Leader Mohammed Ali Jinnah, an exceptionally bright and competent lawyer, had embarked upon a campaign advocating a completely separate Muslim State. Jinnah had made himself the forerunner of the Muslim cause and the demand of the Muslims was power, not only demarcated by geographical boundaries as specified under normal democratic conditions, but also involving religious appropriations. Moreover, emphasizing the purity of the Muslim religion, their demand was a separate nation designated ‘Pak – i – stan’, (Pak meaning purity and stan meaning place). To inspire and gather further Muslim support for his exclusive Muslim political party, Jinnah had advocated that an all round integral development of the Muslim community was impossible without the existence of the proposed Pakistan. Emphasizing the impossibility of the coexistence of the Hindus and Muslims under a Congress regime, he had added, “to live under the Congress authority on account of acts of injustices”. He had also posted a warning that under such a system the dignity of the Muslims would eventually be degraded to that of the ‘Shudras’ (lower castes). He had further added that he would, “….never allow Muslims to be the slaves of Hindus”. As described by Jinnah his ultimate goal was a consistent betterment of the Muslims, marked by developments in all the spheres of life, “……our spiritual, cultural and economic life in consonance with our own ideals, and according to the genius of our own people”.

    However, the Hindu dominated INC, led by Jawaharlal Nehru, was in favor of a united India. This was, of course, a very plausible political claim on the part of Nehru, because under such circumstances, following the impending independence of the country from the British regime, the government formed, of whatever democratic nature may it be, would have an overwhelming majority of Hindus. Given the fact that the Muslims were scattered all over the country, the British Government was in a tough situation trying to decide how sovereignty could be granted to the Muslims, keeping in mind the demands of the Muslim League and Jinnah. Especially, Punjab proved to be a difficult proposition where the Muslims were a prominent majority and the Hindus a minority. In an attempt to form a truce between the INC and the Muslim League, the British Government after months of pushing a hard bargain had arrived at the blueprints of allocation of power to both the Hindus and the Muslims. It was a complicated political arrangement under which the minority Muslims in the different states of India would be granted sovereignty and autonomic functions. The arrangement had been agreed upon by Jinnah.

    However, Punjab with its population of 6 million Sikhs had continued to be a problem. The Sikhs, a very upright class of Hindus, have the origins of their religion in the basic doctrines of Hinduism. However, they are monotheists, non believers of a divisive caste system and believers in an equality of all religions. They are very orthodox when it comes to guarding their heritage and they did not really agree with the proposed Muslim sovereignty in the Muslim minority states. Punjab had a large concentration of Muslims and agreeing to such a proposal would have meant the Sikhs living in a Muslim autonomy with practically non – existent political powers for them. So, refusing to be subjects of a Muslim sovereignty, the Sikhs had refused to agree to such proposals of the British Government. The INC had initially acquiesced to such proposals but Nehru, after rethinking the entire proposition, had found it politically unsound and had been showing signs of retracting from the agreement. Such actions of Nehru had left the Muslim League and Jinnah with a general feeling of distrust and breach of faith. Jinnah had alleged Nehru of thwarting all probabilities of framing a constitution based on arbitration and accommodation of the Muslims.

    The Hindu – Muslim riots of 1946:

    India by this time, unnoticed by everyone, had been sitting on a bed of gunpowder of communal violence and the recipe for disaster had already been brewing. The Hindu Muslim conflict had reached a flashpoint and the fire in the hole had come on the fateful day of August 16th, 1946. The Muslims had dubbed this day as the ‘Direct Action Day’. What had started as a protest rally on the streets by Jinnah and his Muslim League to step up political pressure actually had been the premeditated preparations of a grisly communal violence. The riots had first erupted in the city of Calcutta (Kolkata), when the Muslims had led the attack on the Hindus. On that very day the police force in the city had been given a special leave. So, in no time the city had succumbed to the control of the mob and the ensuing gruesome violence had claimed the lives of nearly 4000 Hindus and Sikhs. The joint retaliation of the Hindus and Sikhs had been even more violent and the Muslim front had soon disintegrated in the face of such retaliation. The violence had spread like wildfire from Calcutta to the cities of Dacca, Bihar, Bombay, Ahmedabad and Lahore. The communal violence triggered by the ‘Direct Action Day’ had claimed the lives of 5000 people with 20, 000 mortally injured and another 100,000 had been left homeless. The Military under the British Government had finally been able to contain the violence after three days of mass slaughter on both the Hindu and the Muslim sides. The air had been pervaded with the putrid stench of rotting human bodies that had been stuffed down in the sewerages or piled in dumps on the road that had blocked the traffic.

    Meanwhile, the Winston Churchill Government in England had suffered a crushing defeat in the elections and had been replaced by the Labor Party. The Labor Party had been in favor of immediate independence of India and accordingly, as of February 20, 1947, the new Prime Minister of Britain Clement Atlee had announced that the British Government would grant complete independence to India no later than June 1948 by surrendering the power in ‘responsible Indian hands’. Lord Louis Mountbatten, the then Viceroy of India, had appealed to the Hindus and the Muslims for a united India. Mahatma Gandhi had been the only person to support the stand of Mountbatten. However, such pleas of Gandhi and Mountbatten had fallen upon the deaf ears of the communally blind Hindu and Muslim leaderships. In the light of the anarchy reigning over the country, Mountbatten had been compelled to acquiesce to the concept of two different nations and the date of independence had been declared as August 15th, 1947.

    The Partition of India and the Independence:

    The geographical locations of the Muslims had made the partitioning of India an even more complex procedure. In northern India the Muslims were concentrated in two major areas situated on the opposite sides of the country with a Hindu majority in between. Also almost the entire of north India was an intermixture of Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians and other minorities. In the midst of all these, the Sikhs had also advocated for a nation of their own, but such claims had been brushed off by the British. Punjab with its almost equal ratios of Muslims and Sikhs had now developed into an extreme problem. Neither the Sikhs nor the Muslims had wanted to part with the wealthy and the fertile lands of the province and the feeling of apartheid was intense. As a result, the province had been partitioned right across the middle between Lahore and Amritsar. What had followed was an indescribable melee in which people had wanted to get on the preferred sides of the partition as dictated by their religious affiliations. People were ousted from their homes by their past neighbors that had resulted in millions of refugees. The partition had caused an absolutely chaotic and unwanted displacement of at least ten million people while 500, 000 lives were claimed in the affray.

    The Islamic Republic of Pakistan was established on August 14th, 1947. A day later on August 15th, 1947, history witnessed the foundation of the independent Sovereign Republic of India.


  12. When in 1940, Lord Linlithgow made the August Offer to free India after the World War and to allow India to have its own constitution, it was rejected by the Congress as it gave India a dominion status and they wanted Poorna Swaraj, i.e, Total Independence.

    Then, there were 3 significant attempts made to break the deadlock in India.

    1. The Cripps Mission, 1942
      Stafford Cripps, a famous sympathetic person towards the griefs of British India, and a member of House of Commons was sent to India in 1942 to resolve issues in India. He made his proposals but they were rejected by the Congress. Winston Churchil was the the head in Britain then.
    2. Cabinet Mission Plan, 1946
      The head in Britain then, Attlee sent Stafford Cripps, Pethick Lawrence and A.V. Lawrence to help India resolve its issues.
      They, under this plan, suggested the formation of an Interim Government of 14 members to look after the administration of the country while a Constituent Assembly was formed to frame the new constitution of free India.

      In 1946, this proposal was accepted and elections were held.
      But since Muhammad Ali Jinnah failed to win any constituency, he withdrew the acceptance of the Muslim League from the acceptance of the Cabinet Mission Plan.

    3. Indian Independence Act, 1947
      The bill was introduced in the House of Commons and was passed within 15 days. Lord Mountbatten came to India to decide the fate of free India. He took personal meetings with each and every ruler of provinces and other leaders and he soon realised that nothing except partition could solve the issues pertaining in India. Thus, under this act, India was partitioned.

    Thus the great nation was divided.

    Now every state was given a choice to either merge into India, Pakistan or remain independent. This requires a whole new aspect to the story, I suggest watching this episode of the Pradhanmantri series to get in depth knowledge about the same.

    I hope I helped.

  13. There are many arguments which has been put forward regarding the same.

    1. Muhammad Ali Jinnah was adamant for the partition of India and forming East and West Pakistan and Britishers wanted to settle the dispute before completely transferring the power.
    2. Britishers wanted to leave the administration of India in a fragile situation since partitions meant division of resources, wealth as well.
    3. It is said that after WW2, as there was a change in political party in United Kingdom from Conservative to Labour party, there was a change in view regarding the administration of the colonies of U.K
    1. P.M. Winston Churchill was replaced by Clement Attlee and Mountbatten was appointed as the Viceroy of India on 21st February 1947, Viceroy Mountbatten wanted himself to be remembered as the person who helped our leaders in minimising blood shed during partition and a person who played a key role in finalising the agreement between P.M. Nehru and Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

    These are some of the reasons that Britishers did not left India without the division.

    One interesting fact is It was Lord Mountbatten who had personally decided the date of Aug 15 because he had considered that date to be “very lucky” for his career. During the World War II, it was on Aug 15, 1945 (Japan timezone) that the Japanese Army had surrendered before him (Lord Mountbatten was the commander of the allied forces).

  14. There were many reasons behind India-Pakistan partition. The 3 main reasons were-

    • British:
    • The British had always taken the policy of "Divide and Rule" to rule India.
    • Introduction of communal electorates.
    • M.A Jinnah:

      • M.A Jinnah was once known as 'ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity' and a practitioner of constitutional policies. Even as he remade himself as a defender of Islam and Muslims in his personal life and ignored the claims of faith.
      • However in late 1930s he aggressively began to show religious passions.
      • His aggressive and violent strategies and demand for Pakistan as a separate country for Muslims made partition inevitable.
      • He believed that both Hindu and Muslim had a separate faith,culture,ideologies and way of living and hence cannot exist with each other peacefully.
      • The call for the Pakistan was first taken by Muslim league in 1940.
      • Errors of Nehru and Gandhi in dealing with Muslim League:
      • In 1920, Gandhi ignored Jinnah and tried to make common cause with the Mullas.
      • In the 1930's Nehru arrogantly and falsely claimed that Muslims would follow his socialist that party based on faith.
      • Meanwhile,Muslims started joining Muslim League in large numbers. Jinnah was willing to make a deal but was ignored.
    • The British didn’t have much of a ‘motto’ in the partition. Recent scholarship has suggested that there was a far more complex set of factors behind the division or partition of India.

      No other event has influenced contemporary Indian history culture, literature, and historiography in a manner more profound than the Partition of 1947. The events that preceded Partition form an interesting study in the interplay of politics and ideology and the role of individuals like Jinnah. The rapid rise to power of the Muslim League in the 1940s and the Congress’ acceptance of Partition, with seeming readiness were some such paradoxes. In this essay, we shall attempt to examine whether the logic of communalism or the circumstances and nature of colonial rule made Partition ‘inevitable’.

      From a traditional historical perspective, the Partition of India has been seen as ‘inevitable’ in which it is seen as the obvious and eventual culmination of the ‘logic of communalism’ and Muslim separatism.

      The theory of inevitability was born out of the ‘Two-Nation theory’, believed to have been first articulated by Saiyyid Ahmed Khan, and subscribed to by the official historians of Pakistan. The ‘Two-Nation’ theory essentially says that the Indian Muslims were always a distinct, divergent and separate community and therefore ought to live in a distinct political space. Sir Saiyyid Ahmed Khan, who founded the Mohammedan Anglo Oriental College, believed that education and cooperation with the British was vital for the survival of the Muslim community. Tied to all the movements of Muslim revival was the opposition to assimilation and submergence in Hindu society. Sir Saiyyid Ahmed Khan was thus the first to conceive of a separate Muslim homeland. While many nationalist writings regard Saiyyid Ahmed Khan as the perpetuator of such separatist tendencies and one who helped carve out a niche for India’s Muslims within the spheres of colonial policy and discourse, it needs to be understood that his politics was essentially elitist. He could not and did not have even partial mobilization of the subordinate classes and therefore one cannot draw any definite correlation between his ideas and electoral representation in Muslim politics.

      The idea of a separate state first started to be talked about after the Khilafat and Non-Cooperation days. The first articulation of a demand for a separate Muslim state was first done by Mohammad Allama Iqbal in 1930. This idea interestingly did not receive a serious consideration and initially even the League rejected it as an impracticable idea. It was only after 1937 that this idea came into the formal political sphere. Mushirul Hasan has argued that the creation of Pakistan had more to do with tangible material considerations and power sharing, than with any ideological or even instinctive urge to create a separate Islamic state. In this context it is also important to analyse the role played by Jinnah and the Muslim League; whether it was their concerted effort which made the Partition of India inevitable.

      Colonial policy of ‘divide and rule’ forms a background to understanding the manner in which communal politics developed in the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s ultimately culminating in Partition. Traditionally British policy has been blamed for creating rifts based on perceived divergent economic and political interests between the two communities – Hindu and Muslim, which had been historically and traditionally united. In the census too the British categorized people according to religion and viewed and treated them as separate from each other. Mushirul Hasan has seen the introduction of separate electorates in this context as giving a sense of Muslims being religious-political identity in the colonial image. The ideological contours of the future Pakistan were had been delineated by British opinion and policy, long before Jinnah and the Muslim League came into prominence

      Ayesha Jalal has however criticized this view since these interpretations tend to be tautological. Under separate electorates Muslims voted for Muslims, if the elected representatives worked for the interests of their constituents, the politics of the Muslims became ‘communalized’. She writes that what is underplayed in this analysis is the extent of provincial dynamic in representative activity, as envisaged by the Montford Reforms, countered the process of ‘communalization’ of Muslim politics at the all-India level. By 1937, the provincial imperative had prevailed over a specifically Muslim community line within the domain of representative Muslim politics. There is therefore a clear need to reexamine the traditionally ascribed roles to Nehru and Jinnah in the process of Partition. We shall try and chronologically discuss the events which led up to August 1947, and try and analyze them, while looking at both the conventional and the revisionist perspectives. The question before us is – did the emergence of Jinnah and the Muslim League as the ‘sole spokesman’ of the Muslim community, make Partition inevitable or were there other variables involved.

      In the early 20th century, Jinnah had been a moderate who encouraged secularism and Hindu-Muslim unity. He was in fact one of the two men who framed the Congress-League Lucknow Pact of 1916 to cooperate on all national issues. Jinnah had always been in favour of constitutional reforms. In 1920 he resigned from the Indian National Congress. He still did not voice his support for separate Muslim negotiations with Britain over the future of India. From 1924 onwards he formed an in-house party of moderates that played a bridge between the Congress and the government. Later he was elected president of the Muslim League but the Muslim League itself was divided into two factions i.e. the Pro-Congress Jinnah faction and the pro-British Shafi faction. After a brief retirement from politics, Jinnah returned in 1934 and took over the leadership of the Muslim League.

      It is intriguing how the man who Sarojini Naidu had called the ‘Ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity’ eventually came to demand a separate Islamic state. According to Bipan Chandra, the transformation of Jinnah reflected what he called the ‘logic of communalism’. Ayesha Jalal sees the change in the demands of Jinnah as a transformation of political strategy and tactic rather than one of ideology.

      Asim Roy points out that till 1935 there is a broad convergence in views regarding the significance of events. Till this point of time the League objective was a negotiated pattern of sharing power with the Congress, conditional on significant League representation at the Centre. The agreement between the orthodox and revisionist views also extends to the recognition of the importance of the provincial elections of 1937. The two views however diverge with regard to the nature and meanings of this significance. The Congress scored an overwhelming success with a clear majority in six and emerging as the single largest party in three of the eleven provinces. The total rout the League suffered reduced their importance as allies to the Congress, as was apparent in the post-election attitudes and dealings. The elections of 1937 had shown that in reality while Hindus dominated the Hindu-majority provinces, the Muslims barely dominated the Muslim-majority provinces. Jinnah realized that in case of a transfer of power the prospect of a Congress dominated centre was very much a reality. In such a scenario he realized that the Muslim interests could hardly be safeguarded. The orthodox view regards this as the turning point of Jinnah’s personality, ideology and policy when his earlier secular ideals were discarded in favour of the two-nation theory. The revisionist view however envisages no real change in Jinnah’s political goals, only in his strategy and tactics. His aims are regarded to have remained the same i.e. secure Muslim interests ‘within’ and not in a total separation from India.

      The first formal demand for Pakistan came in 1940 at the Lahore session of the Muslims League. The Muslim League, without announcing any exact geographical boundaries formally demanded independent Muslim states in the north-west and north-east of India. Jinnah’s stance at this point of time seems rather contradictory. The very Party aiming to represent the Indian Muslims had staked an apparently separatist demand for independent Muslim states. Stanley Wolpert has seen the 1940 Lahore Resolution as Jinnah’s first official pronouncement for Partition. According to this view, Jinnah saw Partition was the only workable and feasible solution to the communal problem and the 1940 declaration marked the ‘Islamization’ of Jinnah, as well as the communalization of politics.

      This argument however needs to be revised and some of the problems with it have been highlighted by Ayesha Jalal, who has critiqued the basic orthodox thesis of the demand for Pakistan. Jalal points out that it should be noted that in the Lahore Resolution there was no mention of Pakistan. The term Pakistan was first coined by Rehman Ali, a student at Cambridge. Also, this demand for Partition defies the communal logic since around 40 million Muslims living in the Muslim minority provinces were sidelined by this proposition which sought to form an Islamic state whose contours were defined according to Muslim majority areas. In fact the Partition was likely to make the position of these 40 million Muslims even more precarious. The interests of the Muslim minority provinces could definitely not be ignored, especially since it was the leaders of these very minority provinces who had brought Jinnah back to the centre stage of politics and the leadership of the Muslim League. Also, not even the interests of the Muslim majority provinces, as their political future was assured in a federal structure with provisions for strong provisional government. The revisionist view therefore makes it clear that that the Lahore Resolution, did not make Partition an inevitable event. The revisionist view therefore sees the Lahore Resolution of 1940 Resolution as a ‘tactical move’ rather than an outright demand for Pakistan.

      Jinnah eventually resorted to religion due to the diversity of opinion within the Muslim political voice as well as the lack of organizational capacity of the League. Religion he realized would have to be used as a unifying and mobilizing tool within the Muslim community as well. The idea of ‘Pakistan’ fired popular imagination. Many Urdu poets and writers endowed the new nation with a historic destiny and projected the Pakistan ‘project’ as a crusade for an Islamic state. The idea of an Islamic state was thus embedded in popular imagination as a religious crusade in defence of Islam. Many Muslim groups also began to support the idea for their own vested interests. The Muslim middle class in particular which felt that it had gotten a raw deal in terms of jobs in government service, welcomed up the idea of a Muslim state. Industrialists and merchants too felt that they would benefit from the lack of Hindu competitors. The war years therefore witnessed a spectacular jump in the popularity of a ‘Pakistan’ among most Muslims. Yet, it needs to be reiterated that popular sentiments for an undefined demand of Pakistan still did not translate into matching political organization working for it.

      The revisionist argument helps us in order to understand better many of Jinnah’s actions and decisions which the conventional view had failed to do. This can especially be seen in the academic analysis of the Cripps Mission of 1942 and the Cabinet Mission Plan of 1946 which the traditional view has not explained adequately. His rejection of the former and acceptance of the latter are ostensibly in opposition to Jinnah’s perceived desire for Partition, as the traditional school of thought would have us believe. Ayesha Jalal argues that the Cripps Mission which offered provinces and not communities the right to opt out of the Indian union nearly exposed the inconsistencies and incongruities in Jinnah’s stand by offering him what he was apparently demanding and not what he actually wanted.

      The Cabinet Mission Plan on the other hand which had rejected Partition and did not even mention a Pakistan was accepted by the League. It provided a weak centre, denied secession, clubbed the Muslim provinces under the League and set up an interim government and a Constituent Assembly. The Cabinet Mission Plan was close to what Jinnah’s political vision was. However the Congress imperatives for the extension of the Centre’s power led to the undoing of Jinnah’s strategy. Although the Congress approved the Plan initially, within days of Nehru taking over as President it was declared that the Congress was ‘uncommitted’ to the Plan, stressed that the central government would require some overall power to intervene in crisis and warned that central power ‘inevitably grows’.

      In the popular realm the Congress seemed to stand for unity as opposed to the League, which supposedly stood for partition. This idea needs to be reexamined. Congress commitment to freedom conditional to a unified subcontinent was a significant part of their ideology. They conveniently sidestepped the “Muslim problem” by taking a line that freedom should precede and not follow the resolution of the communal problem. Ultimately the vital and most crucial and determining factor in the Partition was the nature of the central government. Confronted with a choice between ‘unity’ and a ‘strong centre’ Congress was beginning to favour the unity even if it came at the cost of strong central control.

      It was at this point of time that the political situation and context was undergoing rapid change. Inter-communal relations were starting to deteriorate in many parts of the country. The accompanying violence was narrowing the options of those negotiating at the Centre even further. Moreover, the return of the Labour government to power in Britain, with its commitment to decolonization also meant that new imperatives were at work. Not only did the British decide to withdraw in a short specified period, but they were keen on leaving behind a strong centralized government which would safeguard British economic interests in the region. The British and the Congress discovered their common interests in an India with a strong centre and this they achieved this by using Jinnah’s demand for Pakistan. By 1947 Jinnah was left with no choice but to go along with the creation of a Pakistan shorn of eastern Punjab and western Bengal, model which had been proposed to him time and again, and which he had rejected.

      We can therefore surmise that Partition was not an ‘inevitable’ culmination of Muslim separatism, the ‘communal logic’ or even colonial policy. Partition should be understood in its specific contexts and not as a logical culmination to divisions dating pre-colonial times. The creation of Pakistan far from being the logical conclusion of the ‘two-nation theory’ was in fact its most decisive political abortion. Pakistan in the ultimate analysis was not embedded in the historical logic of the two-nation theory. The Partition arose from a complex interaction of changing communal policy, communal question and the demands and strategies of the Congress and the League. The Partition of India in 1947 also needs to be seen in the context of the relationship between ‘high politics’ and popular sentiments. The Partition of India arose out of the specific conditions of the post-war period, growing communal tensions and the nature of political strategy of the League and the Congress.

    • I will provide here some interesting points mentioned by Rajmohan Gandhi in a 2010 speech. He is a former MP, historian, journalist, and Professor at Univ of Illinois. He also happens to be the grandson of Mohandas Gandhi. The speech was titled ‘Why Partition Occurred: An Understanding’. Here are some excerpts:

      “The people, leaders and led, who in the 1940s addressed the Partition question were, you might say, travelling on a moving train on a rough track, or on a ship in rough waters, with independence as their destination. They lacked the luxury of being able to resolve the matter in a quiet, calm, stationary spot. It was on the hectic path to independence, amidst a hard fight against the British, in a dynamic rather than a static setting, that the question had to be decided.

      “In the 1700s, Hindus in Bengal did not want Muslim [Mughul] rule to return [after the British had taken over]. The 1857 Revolt was followed by rival Hindu and Muslim efforts to prove loyalty to the Queen. In the 1880s, the formation of the Indian National Congress, and its appeals for a modest Indian say in India’s governance, saw Sir Sayyid Ahmed Khan warning Muslims against the Congress. During the joint Hindu-Muslim struggle between 1919 and 1922, the questions of free speech, Khilafat, the Punjab wrongs including the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, and Swaraj were common issues for many Indians; but the end of that struggle saw an increase in Hindu-Muslim mistrust that paralleled what had happened after 1857. The great independence campaigns of the 1930s and 1942, including the Salt Marches and Quit India, were likewise followed by a lack of Hindu-Muslim trust at some important levels and finally by Partition and its tragic killings.

      Thus every step towards independence seems also to have been, from today’s perspective, a step towards division. In retrospect we can indeed say, given the existence of Muslim-majority provinces, that a journey towards independence that did not remove Muslim anxieties was bound to lead to Partition. I believe this conclusion to be valid irrespective of whether or not these Muslim anxieties were justified. This awkward truth may be more important for understanding Partition than identifying blunders or master strokes from the main actors.

      “The second half of the 1930s had seen an interesting and in some ways promising relationship between the Congress and the British. Each side hoped to use the partnership for its goal or goals, yet provincial self-government was being exercised by the INC and it looked possible that self-government would grow into something like independence. But the start of World War II upset everything. The British became more cautious about granting power to Indians, with Churchill declaring that unlike the countries of Europe India was not entitled to independence, while Indians on their part became more eager and impatient for independence.

      “Needing a ground for rejecting the independence demand, the British looked for an organization that could challenge the Congress’s claim of representing India. To their relief, they found the Muslim League and its leader, Jinnah. Viceroy Linlithgow’s letter to the King in October 1939 was candid: “As soon as I realized,” he wrote, “that I was to be subjected to heavy and sustained pressure designed to force from us major political concessions as the price of Congress’s cooperation in the war effort, I summoned representatives of all the more important interests and communities in India, including the Chancellor of the Chamber of Princes and Mr Jinnah.” Linlithgow added that it had been decided not to “give to the Congress what they are asking for, which is an understanding… that India will be given political independence at the conclusion of the war.”

      Also in 1939, the RSS chief, M.S Golwalkar, lent some justification to Jinnah’s new line [and Muslim anxieties and suspicions]. In We, or Our Nationhood Defined, Golwalkar said: “Germany has… shown how well nigh impossible it is for races and cultures having differences going to the root to be assimilated into one united whole… The foreign races in Hindusthan… must lose their separate existence to merge in the Hindu race or they may stay… wholly subordinated to the Hindu nation.”

      For India, the Britain favoured division before independence — for two main reasons. One was a British assessment that a pro-West Pakistan would be useful geopolitically vis-à-vis the Soviet Union. The other reason, no less influential, was British annoyance at Gandhi, and all Indians who had the gall to reject tutelage and demand independence. Viceroy Wavell’s diary and Churchill’s recorded remarks show that offence at the Indian stand prodded key British leaders into a wish to divide India before quitting it. On 29 March 1945 in London, Churchill asked Viceroy Wavell, who went to Britain for instructions, to ensure that India was divided into “Hindustan, Pakistan, Princestan etc.”

      Clearly the British contributed in a major way to Partition. This inclination to divide India was evident from 1939. Yet for us to insist that the British should have acted wisely and farsightedly is perhaps to expect too much from human nature. We asked the British to quit. In the end, after much resistance, they did, but while doing so they helped ensure our division. That unfortunately is the sort of thing annoyed human beings do.

      Another way of understanding the process that led to the Partition is to recognize that voices asking for cooperation between Hindus and Muslims for the sake of independence were not the only sounds the people of India heard. They also heard Hindu voices insisting that the Muslim, not the white man, was the real foe, and they heard Muslim voices declaring that the Hindu, not the white man, was the real danger.

      “The unsuccessful Hindu-Muslim talks of the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s may have owed part of the failure to aggressive propaganda by extremists on both sides who fuelled fear and prejudice at the grassroots. These extremists from both sides also helped produce the killings of 1946 and 1947.”

    • The history of India and Pakistan partition will remain for ever . The whole process of partition of India and Pakistan could be attributed to Britishers who were successful in implementing the "Policy of Divide and Rule " . There was seed sown long back which ultimately led to Partition of India.

      Events which attributed to partition of India and Pakistan Partition of Bengal : – Partition of Bengal which separated the largely Muslim eastern areas from Hindu western areas breaking communal harmony.

      All India Muslim League : – was a political party established during the early years of the 20th century century in the British Empire . It strongly advocated for the separate – Muslims majority nation state , Pakistan which became successful in course of partition.

      Ignorance : – The issue raised by the All India Muslim League that Congress is extremely incompetent in fulfilling the needs of Muslims .

      Election of 1937 : After Congress , Muslim league bag the second position in the election , wining over (6.7%) of the total seats.

      After the Independence

      The word "secular" has been adopted in the Constitution of India which believes that all religion are same and every body enjoys the right to profess it.Sustainable development : Indian Constitution of India believed in sustainable development of various sections like marginalized communities , religious communities , ethnic communites.

      Article 16(4)- Provides for the reservation of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes etc.

      Right to profess :- There has been to right to follow any religion and no one will compelled to follow a particular religion.

      Issue :

      Innocent Killings : – There has been killing of the innocent Muslims people in the name of cow vigilantism by the mob claiming to ardent followers of Hinduism.

      Jammu and Kashmir issue : – Jammu & Kashmir issue in the matter of time has just intensified not improved at all .

      The defiant attitude of Pakistan : –despite many major reforms insurgency and hostility still remains a major treat . For example Afghanistan and India connectivity remains a matter of debate due to Pakistan .

    • Although Afghanistan has been a part of ancient India and is mentioned even in epics like Mahabharata and was a part of the mauryan empire, it was not under Indian influence for the last 1000 years.Though it has been under the control of mughals for a brief period.

      • The british tried to gain control over afghanistan several times but failed miserably.
      • By the time of second world war,The soviet union has expanded till the borders of aghanistan.
      • This fact that the whole of south asia could come under communist influence pertubed the western powers such as USA and UK.
      • By the end of World war-II the British became incapable to control the colonies world wide.
      • Coupled with the mutiny in the Royal Indian Navy, independence of india has become inevitable.
      • The British for years have tried and succeeded divide and rule policy to gain control over the large subcontinent
      • That policy worked when they tried to instigate minority over majority in the form of Muslim league.
      • The Muslim league has gained ground over the years subsequent to independence and has proven itself as the sole voice of the Muslims patly due to inability of congress.
      • Even in 1947, had some rulers set their ego aside India would have remained undivided, but would become a loose federation rather than a centralised country.
      • But the Indian National Congress which has been shown as the face of freedom struggle had Communist leanings even before independence.
      • This has been proven by the fact that INC adopted a resolution to make India a planned economy on the lines of Soviet union.
      • British being aware of all these facts and knowing that they cannot control undivided India anymore opted for a divison on the religious lines.
      • Contrary to the popular belief, that the British have united the country they tried to divide and balkanize the country when they left.
      • They did not want a strong undivided communist leaning India.
      • By the division the west gained a valuable ally in Pakistan,access to central asia and a market for their weapons and goods.
      • By having Pakistan as an ally they tried to check the Soviet influence in Afghanistan by supporting various insurgent groups and supplying weapons illegally.
      • When the Soviet union intervened militarily the USA and the NATO supplied weapons and provided training to a group called Taliban.which later went out of their hands.

      Inshort on the power game between the capitalistic and socialistic world afghanistan and south asia has been a loser.

    • The partition of the Punjab in mid-August 1947 took place as part of a negotiated settlement brokered by the British between the Indian National Congress, the All-India Muslim League and the Sikhs of Punjab to partition India and transfer power to India and Pakistan.

      The total population of the undivided Punjab Province was 33 million. It included territories directly administered by the British (pop. 28 million) and several princely states. The Punjab was a Muslim majority province while Hindus and Sikhs together made up a very large minority of 44-47 percent. The principle on which India and the Punjab were divided was that Muslim-majority areas were separated from the rest of India and given to Pakistan.

      The demand to partition India was made by the main communal party of the Muslims, the All-India Muslim League. It insisted that Indian Muslims were not a minority (one-fourth of the total population of India) but a separate nation by virtue of their Islamic faith and culture.

      When the Muslim League demanded the partition of India the Sikhs of Punjab demanded the same principle be applied to the Punjab. The Indian National Congress wanted to keep India united but realizing that the Muslim League was insistent on the partition of India, on March 8, 1947, it threw its weight behind the Sikh demand for the partition of the Punjab.

      Viceroy Mountbatten came to the conclusion that the partition of India had become inevitable. Therefore on June 3, 1947, the Partition Plan was announced which required the Punjab and Bengal assemblies to vote on whether they wanted to keep their provinces united or partitioned. Both the assemblies voted in favour of partitioning their provinces.

      The actual transfer of power to India and Pakistan proved to be bloody and bitter. Some people have described it as one of the ten great tragedies of the 20th century. The estimated loss of life during the partition of India is one million. Besides, 14-18 million people were forced to cross the international border in search of safe havens.

      For the Punjab alone, the loss of life is estimated somewhere between 500,000-800,000 and 10 million people were forced to flee for their lives. More importantly, after World War II the first case of ethnic cleansing took place in the Punjab. Therefore, it bore the brunt of the partition violence. Thus at the end of 1947 all traces of a Muslim presence in the Indian East Punjab were wiped out, except for some Muslims remaining in the tiny princely state of Malerkotla (total population 88,000). In the Pakistani West Punjab, Hindus and Sikhs became conspicuous by their absence.

      Given the fact that the pre-partition Punjab had a robust legacy of a 'live and let live' tradition bequeathed by the efforts of Muslim Sufis, Hindu Sants and Sikh Gurus, such an outcome at the end of 1947 was too drastic and traumatic and remained an intriguing and perplexing puzzle. There were some peculiarities which rendered the Punjab vulnerable to violence in case the competing parties and their leaders could not agree to keep their province united. Among them the main factor was that nearly a million Punjabi Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs had recently been demobilized from the British Indian Army.

      Additionally there were criminal gangs operating all over Punjab. These two elements and partisan government functionaries, politicians and ethnic activists formed nexuses that began to coordinate attacks on the 'enemy community'. Once the British were gone and two partisan administrations came to power in the divided Punjab whole-sale attacks on the minorities started taking place. By the end of the year ethnic cleansing had been achieved.

      The main argument set forth in this study ("The Punjab Bloodied, Partitioned and Cleansed: Unravelling the 1947 Tragedy through Secret British Reports and First-Person Accounts"/OUP) is that the partition of India was necessary but not a sufficient basis for the partition of the Punjab. In other words, if India had not been partitioned the Punjab would not be partitioned. However, there was no logical necessity for the Punjab to be partitioned if India was partitioned.

      Why could not Punjabi Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs agree to keep their province united? Why did the violence that took place in the Punjab dwarf the violence that took place in other parts of India? I explain these with the help of a theoretical framework developed in a chapter entitled 'A theory of ethnic cleansing'.

      Fear of an uncertain future, lack of communication between the leaders of the estranged communities, the waning authority of the British and the consequent unreliability of the state institutions and functionaries created the social and political milieu in which suspicion and fear proliferated, generating angst among the common people. In such situations reaction and overreaction led to intended and unintended consequences which aggravated and finally resulted in the biggest human tragedy in the history of the Indian subcontinent.

      There is the first holistic and comprehensive study of the partition of the Punjab. It covers chronologically the events which unfolded during 1947 and covers the whole of Punjab – the 28 districts and the princely states. During January 1 – August 14, 1947, it was under British rule. According to Sir Evan Jenkins, the last British governor of Punjab, only some 5,000 fatalities had taken place till August 4, 1947. From August 15 to December 31, 1947, those figures shot up to anything between 500,000 to 800,000.

      No official documents are available from either India or Pakistan on that period. I have, for the first time in 65 years, brought to light the events on both sides with more than 230 first-person accounts. I also spoke to people now settled in other parts of India and Pakistan and in London, Stockholm and several US cities. It took me 12 years to collect the evidence to tell the story of what happened after power was transferred to the East and West Punjab administrations.

      The conclusion I reached from my research is that in March 1947 the Muslims started large-scale violence, mainly against Sikhs but also against Hindus, in the Muslim-majority districts of northern Punjab. Yet at the end of that year more Muslims had been killed in East Punjab than Hindus and Sikhs together in West Punjab. How and why that happened is for the first time presented in this book of mine.

      Meanwhile I have designed a website kindly take a look at it addastudio.cf

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