Mahatma Gandhi and The Partition of India by Ananya Vajpeyi - Koç ÜniversitesiBy Mailonline India and Afp. Pakistani high school student Noman Afzal knows everything about how 'traitorous' Hindus are to blame for the bloodshed that erupted when British India split into two nations 70 years ago. Students across the border in India are taught a starkly different version of events, the result of a decades-long effort by the nuclear-armed rivals to shape and control history to their own nationalistic narrative. August marks 70 years since the subcontinent was divided into two independent states - Hindu-majority India and Muslim-majority Pakistan - and millions were uprooted in one of the largest mass migrations in history. The official unwillingness to confront the bitter legacy of Partition - and the skewed portrayals being peddled in classrooms from New Delhi to Karachi - is hindering any hope of reconciliation between the arch-rivals, experts say. An untold number of people - some estimates say up two million - died in the savage violence that followed, as Hindus and Muslims fleeing for their new homelands turned on one another, raping and butchering in genocidal retribution. The carnage sowed the seeds for the acrimony that prevails today between India and Pakistan, and generations later this defining moment in the subcontinent's history is still polarised by nationalism and rancour.
The ill-fated battle for Indian independence
British Broadcasting Corporation Home. What issues were left unresolved at the time of India's partition in , and how have they continued to plague both India and Pakistan since independence? India and Pakistan won independence in August , following a nationalist struggle lasting nearly three decades. It set a vital precedent for the negotiated winding up of European empires elsewhere. Unfortunately, it was accompanied by the largest mass migration in human history of some 10 million.
In Pakistan he is known as Quaid-e-Azam or "Great leader". But in India, and beyond, there are those who have considered Mohammad Ali Jinnah as little more than a criminal, a man whose unyielding insistence on a separate country for Muslims led to the brutal division of a nation and the subsequent deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. Now, however, 62 years after the partition of India, Jinnah's legacy is receiving an overhaul from an unlikely quarter. A controversial new book by a senior politician from India's Hindu nationalist party suggests that Mr Jinnah, a secular man who drank and smoked but rarely visited the mosque, has too long been demonised by Indian society. Furthermore, it argues that he only raised the prospect of a separate Pakistan with independence leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi as a bargaining tool and that it was the inflexibility of Jawaharlal Nehru, the man who became independent India's first prime minister, that ultimately led to the division of the sub-continent. The partition of India in August , when both Pakistan and an independent India won independence from Britain, resulted in one of the largest forced migrations of people in history. As millions of Hindus travelled east into the new India and millions of Muslims travelled West into the new country of Pakistan — there were perhaps 15 million refugees in total — there was also terrible violence.
The three years after his wife's death were a time of struggle against what Gandhi saw as an impending catastrophe—the partition of India. The Muslim population was concentrated in the northwest and extreme east of India, but there was no clear line of demarcation, and Hindus and Muslims lived side by side in most regions. In a series of long, impassioned exchanges with Jinnah in and '45, both in person and by letter, Gandhi argued that partition would inevitably lead to violence and forced migration. But Jinnah held firm. In Churchill lost the British elections and the left-wing Labour party came to power, determined to push Indian independence through and rid themselves of a subcontinent that had become ungovernable. Meanwhile, new elections were held in India for the provincial legislatures, appointing Muslim League representatives from Muslim-heavy districts, and Congress Party representatives everywhere else.
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The purpose of this document collection is to allow students and teachers to develop their own lines of historical enquiry or historical questions using original documents on this period of history. Students could work with a group of sources or particular document series which identifies a certain theme.
October 2, marks the beginning of the th birth anniversary year of M. Throughout the nationalist struggle in the first half of the 20th century, Gandhi played the most significant role in securing Indian independence from the British Empire. The Partition of at the time of decolonization displaced millions of people and rendered them refugees overnight on both sides of the newly-created national boundaries. It caused more loss of life and property, more displacement, more separation of families, more population transfer and a greater demographic transformation of major cities in the South Asian subcontinent, than the Holocaust in Europe during World War II. Gandhi was morally opposed to Partition and deeply anguished by the large-scale communal violence between Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs, which undermined and contradicted his lifelong commitment to non-violent resistance against colonialism and imperialism.
Jump to navigation. When the All-India Muslim League was established in Dhaka in by leading Muslim figures from around the country, India had just begun to slowly transition to self-rule from the British Raj. Its initial strategy was to use the demographic weight of the Muslim-majority provinces in northwestern and eastern India, particularly the two large provinces of Punjab and Bengal, to secure larger Muslim representation in the legislature, in the executive branch, and in public services in minority provinces, where Muslims were most in need of protection. In the end, the partition of India, which the Muslim League later advocated, accomplished exactly the opposite. The separation cut away the Muslim-majority provinces from the rest of India, leaving Muslims in the minority provinces far more vulnerable to the will of the Hindu majority. Mohammed Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan and the leader of the Muslim League in its final phase, is often assumed to have been the one who brought about partition. But some leading scholars, such as Ayesha Jalal, contend that Jinnah never wanted it.
The partition of India was one of the great humanitarian disasters of the 20th century, the massacre of perhaps half a million people, a number that seems all the more terrible because it had been preceded by a liberation campaign that stressed non-violence, and it followed a peaceful transfer of authority by the British. Narendra Singh Sarila, a former ADC to Lord Mountbatten and a senior Indian civil servant of penetrating intelligence, shines a light on the diplomatic world of hints, pressures and concealed motives on the route to partition that he has uncovered through painstaking research in archives in the USA and Britain. A refreshing number of his sources have the feel of the recently released or long-hidden about them. This story has been told as a tale of heroes Nehru and Gandhi and villains Jinnah and Churchill , but Sarila presents it as a series of blunders: by Nehru and the Congress Party, mainly, for relinquishing their political control over the majority of the country in a petulant refusal to join with the British in the war effort in ; and for their rejection of the British offer of eventual self-government in Every retreat they made was an advance for Jinnah and the Muslim League, which at the start of the war did not represent even a quarter of Muslim voters yet was able to demand the partition of the nation on religious lines at the end of it. Sarila charges Congress leaders, some of whom he knew personally, with 'arrogance', 'inconsistency,' 'poor political judgement' and a fatal lack of interest in foreign affairs and defence.