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Reviewing The Partition Of India History Essay

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Published: Mon, 5 Dec 2016

The Partition of India carries a lot of importance among Hindus and Muslims. It is an event which led to the division of India and resulted in creating two separate sovereign states, India and Pakistan. Before the partition, India was ruled by the British Empire. The Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs lived together in one land.   Although the partition of India took place in August 1947, the seeds of this event had already been sown in 1900 when Indian national congress refused to represent Indian Muslims rights and demands. During the British rule, the Hindus were a majority over the Muslim population which caused the British leaders to prefer Hindus over Muslims on the basis of jobs, education and business whereas Muslims were given lower jobs and salaries as compared to Hindus.   The Muslims feared being ruled by the British and the Hindus so they decided to form a political party which would protect their rights and demands. As a result, the All India Muslim league was created in 1906 which was led by a prominent leader, Muhammad Ali Jinnah.   He believed that Muslims and Hindus were separate and could not live in one nation whereas Gandhi , the leader of the Hindu party opposed that idea and did not want separation of India.   Muhammad Ali Jinnah fought for a separate nation for the Muslims. His goal was finally achieved when the British decided to vacate India, after their involvement in world war two had crippled in and give independence to India.   In August 1947, two Independent states came into existence, Pakistan for the Muslims and India for the Hindus.

The partition of India Was it the inevitable result of a Subcontinent divided by religion and facing a power struggle at the end of the Raj? Or was it a chance occurrence, arising from a unique set of historical circumstances? Many believe that, in fact, nobody was particularly keen on Partition – yet it happened anyway. A combination of complex socio-economic realities and political complications in the wake of an intense and troubled colonial encounter provided a setting for the simultaneous rise of Partition and Independence amidst the Final days of the British Raj.

India was partitioned hastily, this caused massive problems for the Indian population, had the Commission been more careful, partition could’ve been a smoother process. For example, there were instances where the border was drawn leaving some parts of a village in India and some in Pakistan

Since he had just a month, Radcliffe saw little point in being careful to skirt villages. His border was drawn right through thickly populated areas instead of between them. There were even instances where the dividing line passed through a single house with some rooms in one country and others in the other.

Radcliffe justified such casual division with the Idea that that no matter what he did, people would suffer. The thinking behind this justification may never be known since Radcliffe destroyed all his papers before he left India. He departed on Independence Day itself, before even the boundary awards were distributed. By his own admission, Radcliffe was heavily influenced by his lack of fitness for the Indian climate and his eagerness to depart India

The implementation was no less hasty than the process of drawing the border. On 16 August 1947 at 5:00pm, the Indian and Pakistani representatives were given two hours to study copies, before the Radcliffe award was published on the 17th.  

British attempts to hasten partition were caused by problems such as economic ,revolts and international situations. The economic situation was Britain was in debt to India at roughly £3 billion with a rise of £70 million daily. They were at this point no longer profiting from their association with India and much of the money they needed to maintain India was being spent on improving Britain at home with the NHS ,welfare states and its industry. By offering India independence as a way to write off much of their debt while securing funds for the Labour party plans. Along with this Britain had suffered greatly from the Second World War and required a lot of funds to rebuild much of its mainland cities and towns. 


As well as the staggering economic situation in India during this time there was also a major problem with revolting due to the current political situation, this is because the two major political factions, Indian National Congress (INC) and the Muslim League, were fighting with Mountbatten for what would happen to India. After the decision for partition was initiated there was major rioting along the borders of the Punjab and Bengal territories, the reasons for this is they were partitioned to increase the size of the territories which would be known as Pakistan and India. 

The date of Indian independence was brought forward further by widespread rioting through India and the threat of civil wars as soon as the decision to create two countries was announced.

After the borders were announced, millions of people sought to rejoin their new country, convinced that they could no longer live together. Nine million Hindus left Pakistan and six million Muslims left India. A million refugees crossed the borders on foot, forming human columns over dozens of miles long, in rags, exhausted, starved, crushed by sorrow. Others, leaving in trains, never arrived. Witnesses described “death trains” filled with mutilated bodies, the train wheels dripping blood. There were up to a million deaths in just a few months.

Sikhs had opposed the partition of India with even greater vigour than Hindus, because they felt that as a community they could only expect disaster in Pakistan, therefore it was against the Sikhs that the spearpoint of the Muslim league attack was first aimed. In the March 1947 riots, the Sikhs or Rawalpindi faced annihilation and large number of them left the district. Within a few weeks almost the entire Sikh population had migrated from the district. Rioting in Punjab started in first week of December in the district of Hazara. A Holy war was declared on Hindus and Sikhs. Sikh habitations were wiped out and places of worship were desecrated. Rioting in Lahore was started in March 4 1947, it started out with stabbings and small incidents and spread out to become large scale arson and genocide. Soon after Muslims in Amritsar went rioting, a mob tried to attack the Golden Temple and were involved in a pitched battle fought between handful of Sikhs under Jathedar Udham Singh Nagoke. On the same day, the muslims in suburban Amritsar stopped a train full of refugees from Pakistan and slaughtered them.

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