Thus the two nations were granted their independence even before there was a defined boundary between them. Some critics allege that British haste led to increased cruelties during the Partition. No large population movements were contemplated; the plan called for safeguards for minorities on both sides of the new border.
It was a task at which both states failed. There was a complete breakdown of law and order; many died in riots, massacre, or just from the hardships of their flight to safety. What ensued was one of the largest population movements in recorded history. According to Richard Symonds , at the lowest estimate, half a million people perished and twelve million became homeless. However, many argue that the British were forced to expedite the Partition by events on the ground.
A massive civil war was looming by the time Mountbatten became Viceroy. After the Second World War, Britain had limited resources,  perhaps insufficient to the task of keeping order. Another viewpoint is that while Mountbatten may have been too hasty he had no real options left and achieved the best he could under difficult circumstances. The alternative seemed to be involvement in a potentially bloody civil war from which it would be difficult to get out. Conservative elements in England consider the partition of India to be the moment that the British Empire ceased to be a world power, following Curzon 's dictum: Venkat Dhulipala rejects the idea that the British divide and rule policy was responsible for partition and elaborates on the perspective that Pakistan was popularly imagined as a sovereign Islamic state or a 'New Medina', as a potential successor to the defunct Turkish caliphate   and as a leader and protector of the entire Islamic world.
Islamic scholars debated over creating Pakistan and its potential to become a true Islamic state   The majority of Barelvis supported the creation of Pakistan   and believed that any co-operation with Hindus would be counter productive. According to them Muslims and Hindus could be one nation. In their authoritative study of the partition, Ian Talbot and Gurharpal Singh have shown that the partition was not the inevitable end of the so-called British 'divide and rule policy' nor was it the inevitable end of Hindu-Muslim differences.
A cross-border student initiative, The History Project , was launched in to explore the differences in perception of the events during the British era which led to the partition. The project resulted in a book that explains both interpretations of the shared history in Pakistan and India. Berkeley, California based non-profit organization The Partition Archive collects oral histories from people who lived through the Partition and consolidates the interviews into an archive. The Museum, which is open from Tuesday to Sunday, offers multi-media exhibits and documents that describe both the political process that led to partition and carried it forward, and video and written narratives offered by survivors of the events.
Even now, more than 60 years after the partition, works of fiction and films are made that relate to the events of partition. Literature describing the human cost of independence and partition comprises Bal K. There is a paucity of films related to the independence and partition. The biographical films Gandhi , Jinnah and Sardar also feature independence and partition as significant events in their screenplay.
A Pakistani drama Daastan , based on the novel Bano, highlights the plight of Muslim girls who were abducted and raped during partition. The novel Lost Generations by Manjit Sachdeva describes the March massacre in rural areas of Rawalpindi by the Muslim League, followed by massacres on both sides of the new border in August seen through the eyes of an escaping Sikh family, their settlement and partial rehabilitation in Delhi, and ending in ruin including death , for the second time in , at the hands of mobs after a Sikh assassinated the prime minister.
The Google India advertisement Reunion about the Partition of India has had a strong impact in India and Pakistan, leading to hope for the easing of travel restrictions between the two countries. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Partition of Bengal Indian general election, and Indian provincial elections, Train to Pakistan being given an honour-guard send-off.
New Delhi railway station, Two men carrying an old woman in a makeshift doli or palanquin. Violence against women during the partition of India. Artistic depictions of the partition of India. History portal India portal Indian independence movement portal Pakistan portal. Burma, gradually annexed by the British during —86 and governed as a part of the British Indian administration until , was directly administered thereafter.
Other Himalayan kingdoms, Nepal and Bhutan , having signed treaties with the British designating them as independent states , were not a part of British India. The division of British India into India and Pakistan, achieved in Official Report , Nombre de bations representees, p. Historiography , Oxford University Press, pp. There is much in the Musalmans which, if they wish, can roll them into a nation. But isn't there enough that is common to both Hindus and Muslims, which if developed, is capable of molding them into one people?
Nobody can deny that there are many modes, manners, rites and customs which are common to both. Nobody can deny that there are rites, customs and usages based on religion which do divide Hindus and Muslmans. The question is, which of these should be emphasized Archived from the original on 11 November In their heart of hearts, the Indian Muslims are not Indian citizens, are not Indians: His historic warning against conversion and call for Shuddhi was condensed in the dictum 'Dharmantar is Rashtrantar' to change one's religion is to change one's nationality Chakravarty , "Mainstream" , Mainstream , 28 32—52 , Hindu and Muslim cultures constitute two distinct, and frequently antagonistic, ways of life, and that therefore they cannot coexist in one nation At the time of partition some of the two-nation theory protagonists proposed that the entire Hindu population should migrate to India and all Muslims should move over to Pakistan, leaving no Hindus in Pakistan and no Muslims in India The partition of the country did not take the two-nation theory to its logical conclusion, i.
Hindus and Muslims are one nation and not two It is a very peculiar attitude on the part of the leader of the ppposition. In fact if his point of view was accepted, then the very justification for the existence of Pakistan would disappear This proposition is the crux of the matter, shaping the Baloch attitude towards Pakistani politics. For Baloch to accept the British-conceived two-nation theory for the Indian Muslims Sayed,] the two-nation theory became a trap for Sindhis — instead of liberating Sindh, it fell under Punjabi-Mohajir domination, and until his death in he called for a separate Sindhi 'nation', implying a separate Sindhi country.
Punjabi view , Fiction House, Federalism, Nationalism and Development: India and the Punjab Economy. Retrieved 28 May The party had expanded astonishingly rapidly and was claiming over two million members by the early s, an unimaginable result for what had been previously thought of as just one of numerous pressure groups and small but insignificant parties. Ends of British Imperialism: The Scramble for Empire, Suez, and Decolonization. He made a serious misjudgement in underestimating Muslim sentiment before the outbreak of the war. He did not take the idea of 'Pakistan' seriously.
After the adoption of the March Lahore resolution, calling for the creation of a separate state or states of Pakistan, he wrote: Part of the purpose of the famous British 'August offer' of was to assure the Muslims that they would be protected against a 'Hindu Raj' as well as to hold over the discussion of the Act and a 'new constitution' until after the war. Adjusting to a Post-Imperial World. Viceroy Linlithgow's 'August Offer', made in , proposed Dominion status for India after the war, and the inclusion of Indians in a larger Executive Council and a new War Advisory Council, and promised that minority views would be taken into account in future constitutional revision.
This was not enough to satisfy either the Congress or the Muslim League, who both rejected the offer in September, and shortly afterwards Congress launched a fresh campaign of civil disobedience. Jinnah, the Muslim League and the Demand for Pakistan. Provincial option, he argued, was clearly an insufficient security. An explicit acceptance of the principle of Pakistan offered the only safeguard for Muslim interests throughout India and had to be the precondition for any advance at the centre. So he exhorted all Indian Muslims to unite under his leadership to force the British and the Congress to concede 'Pakistan'.
If the real reasons for Jinnah's rejection of the offer were rather different, it was not Jinnah but his rivals who had failed to make the point publicly. Islam in South Asia in Practice. At the all-India level, the demand for Pakistan pitted the League against the Congress and the British. The Jihad for Islam and India's Freedom. Yet these final years of the raj showed conclusively that British rule had lost legitimacy and that among the vast majority of Hindus Congress had become the raj's legitimate successor.
Tangible proof came in the elections to the central and provincial legislatures.
In the former Congress won 91 per cent of the votes cast in non-Muslim constituencies; and in the latter gained an absolute majority and became the provincial raj in eight provinces. The acquiescence of the politically aware though possibly not of many villagers even at this point would have been seriously in doubt if the British had displayed any intention of staying in India.
Metcalf 24 September A Concise History of Modern India. A History of India. History, Culture, Political Economy. His standing with the British remained high, however, for even though they no more agreed with the idea of a separate Muslim state than the Congress did, government officials appreciated the simplicity of a single negotiating voice for all of India's Muslims.
The Origins of Conflict in Afghanistan. Virtually every Briton wanted to keep India united. Many expressed moral or sentimental obligations to leave India intact, either for the inhabitants' sake or simply as a lasting testament to the Empire. The Cabinet Defense Committee and the Chiefs of Staff, however, stressed the maintenance of a united India as vital to the defense and economy of the region. A unified India, an orderly transfer of power, and a bilateral alliance would, they argued, leave Britain's strategic position undamaged.
India's military assets, including its seemingly limitless manpower, naval and air bases, and expanding production capabilities, would remain accessible to London. India would thus remain of crucial importance as a base, training ground, and staging area for operations from Egypt to the Far East.
Retrieved Apr 10, But the British still hoped that a self-governing India would remain part of their system of 'imperial defence'. For this reason, Britain was desperate to keep India and its army united. A Concise History of India. By this scheme, the British hoped they could at once preserve the united India desired by the Congress, and by themselves, and at the same time, through the groups, secure the essence of Jinnah's demand for a 'Pakistan'. Its proposal for an independent India involved a complex, three-tiered federation, whose central feature was the creation of groups of provinces.
Two of these groups would comprise the Muslim majority provinces of east and west; a third would include the Hindu majority regions of the centre and south. These groups, given responsibility for most of the functions of government, would be subordinated to a Union government, would be subordinated to a Union government controlling defence, foreign affairs and communications Nevertheless, the Muslim League accepted the Cabinet mission's proposals. The ball was now in the Congress's court.
Although the grouping scheme preserved a united India, the Congress leadership, above all Jawaharlal Nehru, now slated to be Gandhi's successor, increasingly came to the conclusion that, under the Cabinet mission proposals the Center would be too weak to achieve the goals of the Congress, which envisioned itself as successor to the Raj.
Looking ahead to the future, the Congress, especially its socialist wing headed by Nehru, wanted a central government that could direct and plan for an India, free of colonialism, that might eradicate its people's poverty and grow into an industrial power. India's business community also supported the idea of a strong central government In a provocative speech on 10 July , Nehru repudiated the notion of compulsory grouping or provinces, the key to Jinnah's Pakistan.
Provinces, he said, must be free to join any group. With this speech Nehru effectively torpedoed the Cabinet mission scheme, and with it, any hope for a united India. Muslim processionists who had gone to the staging ground of the foot Ochterlony Monument on the maidan to hear the Muslim League Prime Minister Suhrawardy, attacked Hindus on their way back. Violence spread to North Calcutta when Muslim crowds tried to force Hindu shopkeepers to observe the day's strike hartal call.
The circulation of pamphlets in advance of Direct Action Day demonstrated a clear connection between the use of violence and the demand for Pakistan. With respect to the Noakhali riots, one British officer spoke of a 'determined and organised' Muslim effort to drive out all the Hindus, who accounted for around a fifth of the total population.
Similarly, the Punjab counterparts to this transition of violence were the Rawalpindi massacres of March The level of death and destruction in such West Punjab villages as Thoa Khalsa was such that it was impossible for communities to live together in its wake. These instructions were to avoid partition and obtain an unitary government for British India and the Indian States and at the same time observe the pledges to the princes and the Muslims; to secure agreement to the Cabinet Mission plan without coercing any of the parties; somehow to keep the Indian army undivided, and to retain India within the Commonwealth.
When Mountbatten arrived, it was not wholly inconceivable that a settlement on the Cabinet Mission's terms might still be secured Limited bloodshed called for an united Indian army under effective control. But keeping the army intact was now inextricably linked with keeping India united. This is why Mountbatten started off by being vehemently opposed to 'abolishing the center'. Cultural and Social History.
Mountbatten had intended to resurrect the Cabinet Mission proposals for a federal India.
Role of Mountbatten in the Partitioning of India
The agreement to an Indian Union contained in the Cabinet Mission proposals had been initially accepted by the Muslim League as the grouping proposals gave considerable autonomy in the Muslim majority areas. Moreover, there was the possibility of withdrawal and thus acquiring Pakistan by the backdoor after a ten year interval. The worsening communal situation and extensive soundings with Indian political figures convinced Mountbatten within a month of his arrival that partition was, however, the only way to secure a speedy and smooth transfer of power.
Transfer of Power in India. Gandhi, the forgotten Mahatma. Mittal Publications, , p Soul and Structure of Governance in India. Survival and Subsequent Challenges. India's Foreign Relations, — Lessons from the Former Yugoslavia". Second, it was feared that if an exchange of populations was agreed to in principle in the Punjab, ' there was likelihood of trouble breaking out in other parts of the subcontinent with a view to forcing Muslims in the Indian Dominion to move to Pakistan.
If that happened we would find ourselves with inadequate land and other resources to support the influx. Given that Muslims in the rest of India, some 42 million, formed a population larger than the entire population of West Pakistan at the time, economic rationality eschewed such a forced migration. However, in the divided Punjab millions of people were already on the move, and the two governments had to respond to this mass movement. Thus, despite these important reservations, the establishment of the MEO led to an acceptance of a 'transfer of populations' in divided Punjab to, 'to give a sense of security' to ravaged communities on both sides.
A statement of the Indian government's position of such a transfer across divided Punjab was made in the legislature by Neogy on November 18, He stated that although the Indian government's policy was 'to discourage mass migration from one province to another'. Punjab was to be an exception. In the rest of the subcontinent migrations were not to be on a planned basis, but a matter of individual choice.
This exceptional character of movements across divided Punjab needs to be emphasized, for the agreed and 'planned evacuations' by the two governments formed the context of those displacements. The Making of the Modern Refugee. Notwithstanding the accumulated evidence of inter-communal tension, the signatories to the agreement that divided the Raj did not expect the transfer if power and the partition of India to be accompanied by a mass movement of population.
Partition was conceived as a means of preventing migration on a large scale, because the borders would be adjusted instead. Minorities need not to be troubled by the new configuration. As Pakistan's first Prime Minister, Liaquat Ali Khan, affirmed, 'the division of India into Pakistan and India Dominions was based on the principle that minorities will stay where they were and that the two states will afford all protection to them as citizens of the respective states'.
Retrieved 19 December The number of casualties remains a matter of dispute, with figures being claimed that range from , to 2 million victims. The Other Side of Silence: Voices From the Partition of India. Muslims in India Since Islamic Perspectives on Inter-Faith Relations.
Dr Ishtiaq underscores need to build bridges".
The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History. Four thousand Muslim shops and homes were destroyed in the walled area of Amritsar during a single week in March Were these exceptions which prove the rule? It appears that casualty figures were frequently higher when Hindus rather than Muslims were the aggressors. The Deadly Legacy of India's Partition. The Spoils of Partition: Bengal and India, — The Making of Exile: Sindhi Hindus and the Partition of India.
More on Viceroy's House
The Global World of Indian Merchants, — Archived from the original on 18 May The Shaping of Modern Gujarat: Plurality, Hindutva, and Beyond. Muslims In Indian Cities. Violence, Nationalism and History in India. The Indian Army and the End of the Raj. The Making of India and Pakistan. University of Southampton, retrieved Noorani 25 February Partition Narratives among Punjabi Migrants of Delhi. India International Centre Quarterly. The Demographic Impact of Partition in the Punjab in Mountbatten was a semi-royal, a great-grandson of Queen Victoria.
His father, although a German aristocrat by birth, had joined the British Navy and risen to become first Sea Lord, although he had to step down in the First World War due to anti-German feeling.
The family changed their name from the German-sounding Battenberg to the more British Mountbatten and Dickie grew up in England. He followed his father into the Navy. It was therefore not entirely surprising when Prime Minister Clement Attlee asked him to accept the role of Viceroy of India, overseeing the transition to independence. Mountbatten was reluctant to accept the position, because he had no political experience, and he knew it would be a thankless task. But he felt it was his duty. Even so, it will attract a far larger audience than any book on partition, and for many people it will be their only understanding of the subject.
How a British royal's monumental errors made India's partition more painful
Detecting it needs curiosity — critical rather than passive consumption — otherwise it never gets found out. South and Central Asia comment. Order by newest oldest recommendations.
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