Partition the Indian Subcontinent Was a Very Term Paper

  • Length: 5 pages
  • Subject: History - Asian
  • Type: Term Paper
  • Paper: #61962852

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Partition

The Indian subcontinent was a very peaceful place before the British came along. The population consisted of people from all religions. They managed to coexist with each other peacefully. Things changed after the British arrived and set up the east India Company. They slowly took over the Indian subcontinent and made it part of the British Empire.

The Indian subcontinent consisted of a vast population of Muslims and Hindus. It was ruled by the British for a long period of time. Partition led the subcontinent to be divided into two nations, India and Pakistan. Pakistan was the first to get its independence on the 14th of august 1947 while India followed on the 15th of august 1947. This marked the end of British rule after a colonial rule of 350 years. However the road to partition wasn't easy. It was marked with bloodshed and violence.

Reasons for Partition

There are a lot of reasons for partition. The British had a stronghold over the Indian subcontinent. They made a lot of progress in the fields of education and communication. However they were insensitive towards the Indian people's customs and kept a distance from them. This created a lot of disillusionment amongst the Indian people. This sparked off several nationalistic movements in the subcontinent. The people would no longer accept British rule in the subcontinent.

The Indian national congress and the Muslim league were both against the British. They wanted the British to quit India. However there were also differences between the two parties. Congress wanted the British to quit India while the Muslim league wanted the British to carve a separate Muslim state in the subcontinent.

British Involvement

The British can be blamed for sowing the seeds of partition. They followed a discriminatory policy in the Indian subcontinent. The British believed in a divide and rule policy. People were categorized according to their religion and treated as separate entities from each other. They gave the Hindus a lot of preference over the Muslims. This scarred the relations between the two religions and created a lot of social divisions. The British devised schemes to keep the Hindus and Muslims apart. They introduced separate electorates based on religion in 1909. They created a separate political identity for the Muslims.

The British rulers were aware that their designs could have an adverse reaction from the Muslim population. In order to avert a threat they established the M.A.O College in Allahbad. This was done in order to gain their support. The British also lent their support to the all-India Muslim conference. They did not realize that they had laid the groundwork for partition. They also encouraged the Indian Muslims to carve their own political and cultural identity to separate themselves from the Hindus.

This was where the Muslim league and the ideology of Pakistan emerged. The Hindus and Muslims were equally divided by their ideologies. There were a lot of communal conflicts in the country which were based on religion rather than class or regions. The Muslim population found it very degrading as they had been the rulers of the subcontinent for more than 300 years. This was one reason why they refused to endorse the British rule. They refused to learn the English language and fraternize with the British. This was a big step back for them as it badly misfired. The Hindus managed to gain better positions in the government due to their language skills. This led the Muslims to believe that the British were in favor of the Hindus. Sir Syed Ahmed khan, an eminent reformer and educator realized their faux paus. He realized that education and cooperation with the British would help them survive in society. He urged his people to embrace education as it would benefit them in the longer run. The Muslims did not want to be submerged in the Hindu society and wanted a homeland of their own.

Economic Liabilities

The labor party came to power in 1946. There was a lot of discontentment in Britain after the Second World War. They could not afford to keep a colonial empire after the massive costs of fighting in the Second World War. The Indian subcontinent had been exploited for its natural resources. The British economy had prospered due to the cheap goods available in the Indian subcontinent. It kept prospering at the advent of the twentieth century. They suffered a lot of losses in the Second World War. However due to the after effects of the second world war they couldn't afford to keep an army in India any longer. They also found it ethically incorrect to impose their rule on other nations. The government decided to provide self-governance for India. They sent a cabinet mission to India to propose a settlement. Negotiations between the British and Muslim league failed as the British rejected the claims for a separate Muslim state. Communal violence between the Hindus and Muslims had risen to a great extent ever since the Second World War got over. Jinnah took a strong position against their proposals as it was too late to compromise with the Hindus. The Indian congress also rejected the proposals as they didn't find it in their favor.

Fundamentalism and Differences between the two parties

The fundamentalist-Hindus were responsible for instigating a rift between the two religions. They disliked the Muslims as they were the former rulers of India. They were also in favor of banning cow's meat as it was a cheap and easy source of meat for the Muslims. They also wanted to change the official script from Persian to Hindi. Matters weren't helped any when the Indian National Congress announced some biased policies. The "vande mataram" was declared the official anthem for all schools. This anthem was an expression of anti-Muslim sentiments. It infuriated the Muslim population as their children were forced to sing this anthem.

The congress party was vastly dominated by Hindus. The Muslim minority had a lot of mistrust towards the Hindus. The congress party underestimated the Muslims and went ahead with their nationalistic view of a united India. The Muslim population did not want to be disregarded by the Hindus. Congress was unable to satisfy the Muslims demands. That's where the idea for a separate Muslim state was conceived.

Partition would have not taken place had the congress not rejected the interim government set up under the cabinet mission plan. This convinced the Muslim league that their demands for a separate homeland were justified and that it was very difficult to compromise.

Support for World War 2

The Congress was mostly against violence. However it began a campaign of resistance to protest against the restrictions on press and political activities. Gandhi lunched the "quit India movement" in august 1942. The British government arrested more than 60,000 supporters and outlawed the congress party. This worsened matters as communal riots increased drastically. Congress was against partition. They wanted a united India with a strong center and a fully functioning government. Nehru was opposed to a state which was based on a common religion. This was when the differences between the congress and Muslim league started to emerge. The congress developed a cold attitude towards the British rule. It infuriated them that the British government declared war without consulting any Indian politicians. They managed to loose their cozy position with the British as they were opposed to the war. This resulted in several leaders being sent to jail. At the same time the Muslim population lent their support to the British. The British were pleased by their bravery and loyalty. This helped the Muslim league sweep to victory in the 1946 elections. They won all the Muslim seats in most of the provinces except for the North West frontier province. This was one reason why congress accepted…

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