On 15th August 1947, India became an independent, democratic republic. But at one cost, partition of India. The Britishers divided India into Republic of India and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
But the seeds for partition were sown by the British a long time ago. So let’s look at the main Characters and events that resulted to the cruel partition of India.
Table of Content
- Partition of Bengal
- Muslim League
- The Government of India Act 1935
- Mahatma Gandhi’s role to Avoid Partition
- Hindu – Muslim Violence during Partition
- The Liaquat–Nehru Pact
- Conclusion of Partition of India
Partition of Bengal
It all started in 1905 when the British used its divide and rule policy to divide Bengal on the basis of religion. The then viceroy, Lord Curzon Ordered of partition of Bengal into two parts, one Hindu majority and other one being Muslim majority.
This was precisely done because Bengal was rising capital of the freedom struggle.
Sir Syed Ahmad Khan
The Muslim League was found by Sir Syed Ahmad Khan in 1886 but was banned until 1906. Their motive is to look after Muslim interests and to make sure that Muslims get opportunities so that they don’t become an oppressed community.
Sir Syed Ahmad Khan was an Islamic scholar, philosopher, teacher. Ahmad Khan founded the Alighar Muslim University. Sir Syed is credited with upliftment of the Muslims in the pre-independence era as a majority of them were uneducated and believed in orthodox practices.
He advocated the reformation of the Muslims in India and rejected all evil customs practices by Indian Muslims. Sir Syed believed in the power of western education and considered it as a tool to uplift the Muslims in India. He is credited for the two-nation theory that eventually led to the partition of India.
Muhammad Ali Jinnah
Muhammad Ali Jinnah was the founder and first governor general of Pakistan. Jinnah was a barrister, in fact, the youngest barrister to become at the age of 20. Jinnah joined the Muslim league in 1912. He is credited for pushing the two-nation theory in the Lahore resolution.
The Muslim league passed the Lahore Resolution on 23 march 1940 in Lahore. In short, it demanded the acceptance of the two nation theory and asked for the unification of the north western states, which were Muslim majority states. This eventually led to the formation of Pakistan and hence is also known as the Pakistan resolution.
It was because of this resolution and the efforts put by Muhammad Ali Jinnah that the Muslim league won every seat reserved for the Muslims. In fact, it was a great jump from 4.4% in 1937 to 75%.
This further deepened the hatred between the two cultures and hence made partition of India an Utopian idea.
The Government of India Act 1935
The government of India 1935 was the outcome of the following:
- Simon commission report
- All round table conferences
- The white papers published by the British in 1933
- Report of the joint Select Committees
The act gave Indians some autonomy by having provincial elections in 1937.But the Muslim League suffered a serious blow as they received only 4.4% votes. This hurt Muhammad Ali Jinnah really bad and brought a ton of doubts in his mind.
He was concerned that after independence the Muslim minority would be persecuted by the Hindu majority [As an Indian I can hold my head high with pride as the republic of India turned out to be secular and the minorities were never persecuted.
In fact, the Muslim population was 10% in 1951 and rose to 14% in 2013.It is estimated that by the year 2050 Muslim population would surpass Indonesia making India the country with the most amount of Muslims].
In fact, in 1933 Muslim nationalist Choudhry Rehmat Ali calls for a state of “Pakstan” in a pamphlet – the first appearance of the name. It was derived from the names of some areas he saw as making up the state –with P for Punjab and K for Kashmir – but also meaning land of the pure. An “i” is later added to improve pronunciation.
After the devastated defeat in the 1937 Muhammad Ali Jinnah and other prominent Leaders of the Muslim league started to push for the support of the ideology of PAKISTAN.
Muslim League delivered more Islamic speeches. They talked about Muslim interest and the fear of Hindu dominance in Independent India.
Mahatma Gandhi’s role to Avoid Partition
Mahatma Gandhi was against partition. He once said that if the partition should happen, then it should be over his dead body. He went on a fast and even went through many villages with Muslim dominant villages calling for unity and peace.
But with time Gandhi understood that his words fell over deaf ears as he received very little support and was pain stricken by it.
He always opposed partition but eventually agreed to a Hindu majority India and a Muslim majority Pakistan. Even after partition he tried everything to maintain peace between the two countries. In 1944 Talks between Jinnah and Gandhi failed.
Hindu – Muslim Violence during Partition
One of the main reasons that Gandhi accepted the partition of India was because of the violence India saw. There was great tension between the Hindus and the Muslims and the Sikhs and the Muslims. All the while, communal violence was escalating.
In August 1946, the Great Calcutta killings left some 4,000 people dead and a further 100,000 homeless. This Convinced leaders like Sardar Patel and Pandit Nehru that partition of India was inevitable as without partition there would be great internal trouble and hence challenge the integrity of Independent India.
The world noticed great violence during the partition of India. Millions of people moved to what they hoped would be safer territory, with Muslims heading towards Pakistan, and Hindus and Sikhs in the direction of India.
They traveled unescorted on bullock carts or by foot. Some lucky ones were able to catch an overcrowded train but that was more of a coffin. Estimates of the death toll post-Partition range from 200,000 to two million.
Women were often targeted as symbols of community honor, with up to 100,000 raped or abducted. Large number of people died due to hunger and disease during migration. Women left their babies on the road crawling because they had nothing to feed them. Therefore, I say that it is one of the darkest parts of the history of humanity.
It fact I read about a story where a Sikh narrates a story where they were attacked by the other village with Muslim majority and their leader agreed on peace if he was awarded a Sikh girl. On learning this his father who was the leader of their village called each and every girl of their village chopped off their heads one by one.
The Liaquat–Nehru Pact
The Liaquat–Nehru Pact was a treaty between India and Pakistan. It allowed refugees to return to dispose of their property, abducted women and looted property were to be returned, forced conversions were unrecognized, and minority rights were confirmed.
It was signed on April 8, 1950. India went on to fulfill the promise it made but it doubts whether Pakistan could live up to its promise. There is a sharp decline in the percentage of minorities in Pakistan since independence.
Conclusion of Partition of India
The Partition of India into two parts was inevitable. In fact, the communal riots that the two countries experienced even after partition prove my point. Jinnah’s support and role in spreading the two-nation theory acted as a catalyst to this outcome.
Britishers divide and rule policy further accelerated the sad but practical outcome. I personally believe the foundation of the partition was cultural difference. What culture am I talking about? One being the Islamic culture another being the Hindu culture.
Let me give you an example. Sir Syed Ahmad Khan always opposed Hindi as the language of India and rather propagated Urdu. Jinnah imposed a similar ideology on east Pakistan [Modern Bangladesh]. He insisted that the people of east Pakistan should converse in Urdu rather than Bengali.
The ancient Hindus have always thought of accepting people as they are. To allow people to express themselves with utmost freedom. Some Muslims decided to stay back in India because freedom of speech is an integral part of the Hindu culture
They called themselves Muslims but identified themselves with the Hindu culture. For example, the Sufi movement of India. It’s an epitome of Islamic scholars with Hindu culture.
The amount of growth both the counties have enjoyed and then look at the condition of minorities of in the respective countries. India chose to become a secular state whereas Pakistan officially became an Islamic state.
Let’s assume that the partition never happened. Do you thing that India would able to progress as much as it did under the influence of radical Islamic preachers who now work from Pakistan?
Think for yourself!
India became independent on August 14, 1947
To answer this question in a sentence, partition of India was sparked by Sir Syed Ahmed Khan
Theoretically, Yes but practically it is impossible. The partition of India Has led to intense hatred among the two nations.
It was further fueled by the deep state of Pakistan which led to three wars between the two countries
Reunification Association (IRA) an organisation that wants peaceful reunification of Pakistan and Bangladesh with India under a secular government.
Sadly, the situation between India and Pakistan is quiet bad!
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