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INDIA BEFORE INDEPENDENCE | Bharatvarsh | Part -5

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India was a rustic which had everything, from money to gold to animals to beauty. India was the wealthiest land within the past and hence it had been called ‘sone ki chidiya’. within the 17th century, the trade was wiped out the exchange of gold coins & bars.

India was a rustic which had everything, from money to gold to animals to beauty. India was the wealthiest land within the past and hence it had been called ‘Sone ki chidiya’ (meaning, bird of gold). Within the 17th century, the trade was wiped out the exchange of gold coins & bars.

The Partition of India of 1947 was the division of British India into two independent dominion states, India and Pakistan. The Dominion of India is today the Republic of India; the Dominion of Pakistan is today the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and therefore the People’s Republic of Bangladesh. The partition involved the division of two provinces, Bengal and Punjab, supported district-wise non-Muslim or Muslim majorities. The partition also saw the division of the British Indian Army, the Royal Indian Navy, the Indian government officials, the railways, and therefore the central treasury. The partition was outlined within the Indian Independence Act 1947 and resulted in the dissolution of British Raj, or Crown rule out India. the 2 self-governing countries of India and Pakistan legally came into existence in the dark on 15 August 1947.

Partition of Bengal: 1905

In 1905, during his second term as Viceroy of India, Lord Curzon divided the Bengal Presidency—the largest administrative subdivision in British India—into the Muslim-majority province of Eastern Bengal and Assam and therefore the Hindu-majority province of Bengal (present-day Indian states of West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, and Odisha). Curzon’s act, the partition of Bengal—which had been contemplated by various colonial administrations since the time of Lord William Bentinck, though never acted upon—was to rework nationalist politics as nothing else before it.

The pervasive protests against Curzon’s decision predominantly took the shape of the Swadeshi (‘buy Indian’) campaign, involving a boycott of British goods. Sporadically, but flagrantly, the protesters also took to political violence, which involved attacks on civilians. The rallying cry out for both sorts of protest was the slogan Bande Mataram (Bengali, lit: ‘Hail to the Mother’), the title of a song by Bankim Chandra Chatterjee, which invoked a mother goddess, who stood variously for Bengal, India, and therefore the Hindu goddess Kali. The overwhelming, predominantly-Hindu protest against the partition of Bengal, alongside the fear of reforms favoring the Hindu majority, led the Muslim elite of India in 1906 to the new viceroy Lord Minto, posing for separate electorates for Muslims. In conjunction, they demanded proportional legislative representation reflecting both their status as former rulers and their record of cooperating with the British . this is able to end in the founding of the All-India Muslim League in Dacca in December 1906. Lastly, the Muslim elite, including Nawab of Dacca, Khwaja Salimullah, who hosted the League’s first meeting in his mansion in Shahbag, was aware that a replacement province with a Muslim majority would directly benefit Muslims meaning to political power.

Introduction of the two-nation theory

The two-nation theory is that the ideology that the first identity and unifying denominator of Muslims within the Indian subcontinent is their religion, instead of their language or ethnicity, and thus Indian Hindus and Muslims are two distinct nations no matter commonalities. The two-nation theory was a founding principle of the Pakistan Movement (i.e., the ideology of Pakistan as a Muslim nation-state in South Asia), and therefore the partition of India in 1947. The ideology that religion is that the determining think about defining the nationality of Indian Muslims was undertaken by Muhammad Ali Jinnah, who termed it because of the awakening of Muslims for the creation of Pakistan. it’s also a source of inspiration to many Hindu nationalist organizations, with causes as varied because of the redefinition of Indian Muslims as non-Indian foreigners and second-class citizens in India, the expulsion of all Muslims from India, the establishment of a legally Hindu state in India, the prohibition of conversions to Islam, and therefore the promotion of conversions or reconversions of Indian Muslims to Hinduism.

The Hindu Mahasabha leader Lala Lajpat Rai was one of the primary persons to demand to bifurcate India by Muslim and non-Muslim populations. He wrote within the Tribune of 14 December 1924:

  • Under my scheme the Muslims will have four Muslim States:
  • The Pathan Province or the North-West Frontier;
  • Western Punjab
  • Sindh and
  • Eastern Bengal.

If there are small Muslim communities in the other a part of India, sufficiently large to make a province, they ought to be similarly constituted. But it should be distinctly understood that this is often not a united India. It means a transparent partition of India into a Muslim India and a non-Muslim India. There are varying interpretations of the two-nation theory, supported whether the 2 postulated nationalities can coexist in one territory or not, with radically different implications. One interpretation argued for sovereign autonomy, including the proper to secede, for Muslim-majority areas of the Indian subcontinent, but with none transfer of populations (i.e., Hindus and Muslims would still live together).

Plan for partition

The British Prime Minister Attlee appointed Lord Louis Mountbatten as India’s last supervisor, giving him the task to look after British India’s independence by June 1948, with the instruction to avoid partition and preserve a United India, but with adaptable authority to make sure a British withdrawal with minimal setbacks. Mountbatten hoped to revive the cupboard Mission scheme for a federal arrangement for India. But despite his initial eagerness for preserving the center, the tense communal situation caused him to conclude that partition had become necessary for a quicker transfer of power. Vallabhbhai Patel was one among the primary Congress leaders to simply accept the partition of India as an answer to the rising Muslim separatist movement led by Muhammad Ali Jinnah. He had been outraged by Jinnah’s protest campaign, which had pinched communal violence across India and by the supervisor’s vetoes of his home department’s plans to prevent the violence on the grounds of constitutionality. Patel severely criticized the viceroy’s induction of League ministers into the govt and therefore the re-validation of the grouping scheme by British without Congress approval.

Washington Post
Partition of India: Survivors of 1947 riots

Between the months of December 1946 and January 1947, Patel worked with official V. P. Menon on the latter’s suggestion for separate supremacy of Pakistan created out of Muslim-majority provinces. Communal violence in Bengal and Punjab in January and March 1947 further convinced Patel of the soundness of partition. Patel, a fierce critic of Jinnah’s demand that the Hindu-majority areas of Punjab and Bengal be included during a Muslim state, obtained the partition of these provinces, thus blocking any possibility of their inclusion in Pakistan. Patel’s decisiveness on the partition of Punjab and Bengal had won him many supporters and admirers amongst the Indian public, which had been uninterested in the League’s tactics. He was criticized by Gandhi, Nehru, secular Muslims, and socialists for a recognized eagerness for the partition.

Proposal of the Indian Independence Act

Knowing Gandhi’s deep anguish regarding proposals of partition, Patel engaged him privately with meetings discussions over the perceived practical unworkability of any Congress-League coalition, the rising violence, and therefore the threat of war. At the All India Congress board meeting called to vote on the proposal, Patel said:

“I fully appreciate the fears of our brothers from [the Muslim-majority areas]. Nobody likes the division of India, and my heart is heavy. But the choice is between one division and many divisions. We must face facts. We cannot give way to emotionalism and sentimentality. The Working Committee has not acted out of fear. But I am afraid of one thing, that all our toil and hard work of these many years might go waste or prove unfruitful. My nine months in office have completely disillusioned me regarding the supposed merits of the Cabinet Mission Plan. Except for a few honorable exceptions, Muslim officials from the top down to the chaprasis (peons or servants) are working for the League. The communal veto given to the League in the Mission Plan would have blocked India’s progress at every stage. Whether we like it or not, de facto Pakistan already exists in the Punjab and Bengal. Under the circumstances, I would prefer a de jure Pakistan, which may make the League more responsible. Freedom is coming. We have 75 to 80 percent of India, which we can make strong with our genius. The League can develop the rest of the country.”

Following Gandhi’s denial and Congress’ approval, Patel represented India on the Partition Council, where he inspect the division of public assets and selected the Indian council of ministers with Nehru. However, neither he nor the other Indian leader had foreseen the extreme violence and population transfer that might happen with partition.

Independence On 14 August 1947, the new province of Pakistan came into being, with Muhammad Ali Jinnah sworn in as its first Governor-General in Karachi. the subsequent day, 15 August 1947, India, now a smaller Dominion of India, became an independent country, with official ceremonies happening in New Delhi, Nehru assuming the office of the prime minister, and with Viceroy Mountbatten staying on because of the country’s first governor. Gandhi remained in Bengal to figure with the new refugees from the partitioned subcontinent.

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