The Partition of India was the division of British India in 1947 which accompanied the creation of two independent dominions, India and Pakistan. About 10 lac Hindus were killed and butchered. About 50 lac people mostly Hindus were displaced from their ancestral homes from Muslim dominated areas. Right from 1947 various politicians mostly right wing people, Historians, thinkers and analysts accuse the then Indian politicians to agree for partition. Even now we refuse to compromise with existing situation and accuse specially Pt Nehru for partitioning the Mother India i.e Bharatmata.
The atrocities and cruelty of violence against each other are now a part of History but reading such incidents tell us the gory and dreaded details which later generations refused to even imagine. Amid this chaos, women were singled out for especially horrific treatment. Many lived in fear of being raped. One Hindu girl was a 17-year-old living with her parents in Peshawar, Pakistan, when she heard that a frenzy mob was approaching their home. Her father told her and her mother that the attackers were setting homes on fire and taking women away.”He was very frightened and he quickly gave my mother a bottle of petrol and some matches and told her … ‘If we don’t survive downstairs, then don’t give up your honor. Pour the petrol on yourself and our daughter and don’t let yourself be taken into the hands of those people’,” she says. The attackers eventually passed by their house, and girl and her family fled to the India.
But other women didn’t escape. A aged Sardar then a Sikh teenager at the time of partition, recalls a woman who lived in his village in Pakistan’s Punjab province.”She was a very beautiful woman. But during the unrest Mobs were chasing after her,” he says.”There was a Sikh temple in our village, so she ran inside the temple to take refuge. She paid her respects to the holy book … doused her body in kerosene and set herself on fire.” She wasn’t the only one of Sardar’s neighbours who died. He recalls what happened to the men of the village when the attackers arrived.”Out of the 25 men who were there, they murdered 18,” says Sardar, now 86.”I cried a lot. Now I think of it, I feel that something happened to all of us. It’s as if humanity had died. Everybody became a devil.”
Experts call five reasons of partition;
1.Ever rising religious hostilities between Hindus and Muslims;
2.Provincial Elections (1937);
3.Compromise attempts failed;
4.Violence broke out in August 1946;
5.Mountbatten decides on partition.
The violent nature of the partition created an atmosphere of hostility and suspicion between India and Pakistan that plagues their relationship to the present. The British leaders finally agreed that the partition was the best way to limit bloodshed between Hindus and Muslims within India. It was decided that India would be split into two independent nations. Pakistan would contain the mainly Muslim regions of India, and India would retain the regions of Hindu majority. Communal discord was known in the medieval period. However the frequency, magnitude and intensity of disturbance/riots grew alarmingly in the last decade of British rule. The rise and growth of communal politics was the basis for mobilizing people against the other community and it usually culminated into Communal discord.
At that time, Hindus made up about two-thirds of the 400 million populations, and the rest were mostly Muslims. Muslim leader like M.A. Jinnah succeeded in influencing majority of the Muslims and generated a fear that an independent India would be dominated by Hindus. Jinnah, demanded a separate Muslim State of Pakistan, and adopted the slogan ‘Pakistan or Perish’. After phenomenal success of Indian National Congress in the 1937 elections the communal parties felt insecure about their mass base and played the communal card and generated fear amongst its community and capitalized upon the events that took place.
One to one talk to arrive at a compromise was taken up by nationalist leaders like Gandhiji. Apart from this attempt to draw up a compromise solution acceptable to both Hindus and Muslims was made by government. All such attempts failed because of obstinate and unyielding approach of Jinnah. The British proposed a federal scheme in which the central government would have only limited powers, while those of the provincial governments would be much greater. This would enable provinces with a Muslim majority to control their own affairs and there would be no need for a separate State. Both sides accepted the idea in principle but failed to agree on the details.
Communal clashes started and this happened when the Viceroy Lord Wavell, invited the Congress, to form an interim government, still hoping that details could be worked out later. Nehru formed a cabinet, which included two Muslims, but Jinnah was convinced that the Hindus could not be trusted to treat the Muslims fairly. He called for a day of ‘direct action’ in support of a separate Pakistan. Fierce rioting followed in Calcutta, where 5,000 people were killed, and it soon spread to Bengal where one group set about slaughtering another group. As Hindus retaliated, the country seemed on the verge of civil war.
British government announced early in 1947 that they would leave India no later than June 1948. Louis Mountbatten was sent as the new Viceroy, and he soon decided that partition was the only way to avoid civil war. He realized that there would probably be bloodshed whatever solution was tried, but felt that partition would produce less violence than if Britain tried to insist on the Muslims remaining part of India. Within a short time Mountbatten had worked out a plan for dividing the country up and for the British withdrawal.
This was accepted by Nehru and Jinnah, although Gandhjii, was still hoping for a united India. Afraid that delay would cause more violence, Mountbatten brought the date for British withdrawal forward to August 1947.
Right from 15th August 1947 onwards, so called Nationalists blamed Gandhiji and Pandit Nehru primarily for the partition of India which is still regarded a some sort of worshipped deity of Akhand Bharat consisting of present Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. Three possible reasons of partition are stated by historians ;
1.Britishers realize that there would probably be bloodshed whatever solution was tried, but felt that partition would produce less violence than if Britain tried to insist on the Muslims remaining part of India.
- Kaide Azam Mohammed Ali Jinnah , demanded a separate Muslim State of Pakistan with unyielding approach.
- Gandhiji proposed that partition can be avoided by insisting on to appoint Jinnah as Prime Minister of United India but Pt Nehru refused to accept the solution on the fear that large scale bloodshed shall be the order of the day.
Right wingers rightly or wrongly put entire blame on Gandhiji and Pt Nehru for partition of India. For a moment if we imagine that had India succeeded as United India then the situation would have been far more dangerous.
- This India would not have been as Akhand Bharat which is including Afganistan also.
- In this scenario was it possible for Muslims to forget forever that Muslims do not need their homeland and their interest shall be safe in Hindu dominated India. Since their center of dedication/worship has been Makkah and Madina and their brotherhood with other world Muslims has been stronger than their Hindus countryman. In that situation also, they would have never treated themselves as Indians and fellow Hindus as their own Countrymen.
- It is not possible to imagine that they would have forgotten the fundamentalism since that is the cornerstone of their religion. In free India also fundamentalism would have been flourished.
- Had the education been successful in moulding the Muslims. Sadly no, since they would have forced Sharia education on whole of India and thus revised education system would have been forced in on all Hindus.
- The modernity and technology would be on backburner since that would have been antithesis to their religion. Any moulding of Muslims would be complete non sense.
- There would have been large scale violence for conversions. Hindus would have been timidly accepted their fate out of shear desperation during 1000 years of subjugation of Muslims and Britishers and large scale conversions would have been encouraged.
What was the guarantee that Muslims would not have demand a separate Home land in future. The conception that remaining in the same country would develop cordial relations can be a optimist illusion only. The Muslims population could have been increased at a fantastic speed from joint population and demand of a separate home land would have been a certainty in near future from 1947 on wards. If that would be possible, a large chunk of India disproportionate to their numbers would have been a Pakistan at a later stage. For Muslims, there is no concept of Nation and Nationhood since World Muslim brother hood is a strongest adhesive. The only mistake India, a new nation to awake, made possible that in case Muslim Home land was given to them why our leaders forced or requested or cajoled them to stay in free India. One of the most plausible reasons why our leaders forced them to stay is hidden in Hindus Caste system. Suppose all Muslims had left the country, there would not have been a counter weight to counter caste system in Hindus. It is only the fear of Muslims that India could eliminate some discrimination among various castes in Hindus.
In all probability, Muslims would have demanded much larger India as their home land and India partition pains could have been much severe and a possible theory of “Bleeding through thousand cuts” would be a reality.
Now if we see in hindsight then we realize that God had given a right ideas to Britishers, polluted the mind of Jinnah and we must appreciate the minds of Nehru who possibly appreciated this danger well in advance and crafted Pakistan. At least now suppose worst situation comes then at least Hindus have a claim that since Muslim home land was given therefore all can go back to Pakistan. Even now if any province or part of Pakistan or Pakistan as a whole decide to merge in India, we Indians must flatly refuse to avoid future much larger problem of partition at much more risk apprehension. The only mistake Pt Nehru made is to create the Kashmir problem inspite of resistance by Patel and other his own partymen.
So let us all appreciate the farsightedness of Pt Nehru and other Congressmen for agreeing to partition. Let us say big thanks to M A Jinnah. Let all Indians not even imagine in terms of Akhand Bharat.
Certainly it was blessing in disguise.