1947 Partition of the British Indian Empire Into India and Pakistan

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The Partition of India took place in the year of 1947 after India gained independence from British Rule. The Muslim section of India (northern India) became Pakistan, while Hindu section (Southern India) became the India.

Story Behind the Partition

  • In the year 1905, the British tried to divide Bengal on religious lines, this divide was protested by the political party Indian National Congress (INC). This ignited the founding of the political party Muslim League in India. The League aimed to secure the rights of Muslims in India.
  • Soon after this, INC and Muslim League collaborated to make British quit India. Also during World War I, both the parties supported sending Indian soldiers to fight on behalf of the British. All this was done for political concessions and India’s independence promised by the British. However, after the war, the British gave no such concessions.
  • On 13th April 1919, Jallianwala Bagh massacre (Amritsar Massacre) occurred, in which thousands of nonviolent protestors were fired upon by British Indian Army troops under the command of Colonel Dyer.
  • Mahatma Gandhi became the leading figure in the INC in 1930s. He always asked for a unified Hindu and Muslim India.
  • During World War II, the British again expected India soldiers for the war, but the INC opposed the request after the betrayal faced after World War I. However, the Muslim League supported the British, to get their support in creating a Muslim nation.
  • Muhammed Ali Jinnah, leader of the Muslim League, started a public campaign in support of creating a separate Muslim state, while INC’S Jawaharlal Nehru was in favor of a unified India. Between all this, the country inclined towards a sectional civil war.
  • On August 16, 1946, a “Direct Action Day” also known as “Great Calcutta Killings” was sponsored by the Muslim League. The day led to widespread manslaughter and riot between Muslims and Hindus in Calcutta (modern-Kolkata).
  • In February of the year 1947, it was declared by the British government that India would be independent by June of 1948.
  • Lord Louis Mountbatten, then Viceroy of India, also appealed the Hindus and Muslims in post-independence India to agree for a unified nation. Seeing the country sinking into chaos, Mountbatten half-heartedly approved of the formation of two separate states and moved the India’s independence date up to 15th August 1947.
  • The border between the two separate states that emerged from post-independence India was drawn between Amritsar and Lahore. The people from both sides of border scrambled to get onto the preferred side depending on their faith.
  • On August 14, 1947, the “Islamic Republic of Pakistan” was established to the north of post independent India and on August 15, 1947, the Republic of India was established to the south of post independent India.

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