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Kerala Plus Two History Notes Chapter 13 Understanding Partition (Politics, Memories, and Experiences)
On 15 August 1947, the British rule in India ended. India was divided into two sovereign nations-India and Pakistan. India witnessed some most tragic incidents as a result of the partition. The joy of freedom from colonial chains was extinguished by the cruelty and violence of the Partition. Thousands of people died. There were dramatic changes in the lives of people. Cities changed, India changed, a new nation was born. Mass murders and violence were everywhere. There was the flow of refugees and migrations.
This chapter deals with the history of Partition. It discusses why and how the Partition occurred. It also discusses the dreadful experiences of people during the 1946-50 period.
In the beginning, Congress was against Partition. But in March 1947, the Congress High Command agreed to divide Punjab into two – an area of Muslim majority and the other with Hindu/Sikh majority. By this time The Congress and Sikh leaders started seeing the partition of Punjab as a ‘necessary evil’. If there was no partition, the leaders thought, the Muslim majority would overshadow other communities. They were afraid they would have to obey the Muslim authorities.
The Congress thought in Bengal also such a partition was necessary. In Bengal, there was a section of Hindus known as ‘Bhadralok Bengali’. This section wanted to maintain its political power. Without partition, they would remain in the shadows of the Muslim majority.
Bhadralok was a minority in Bengal. They believed that only through partition they could maintain their political power.
1930 – Urdu Poet Mohammed Iqbal presents the concept of a North-Western Indian Muslim Nation with autonomy within the Indian Federation.
1933 – Choudhary Rehmat Ali, a Punjabi student of Cambridge, proposes the name Pakistan for the proposed Muslim Nation.
1937-39 – In 7 out of the 11 Provinces of India, Congress Ministries come to power.
1940 – Muslim League passes a Resolution demanding self-rule in areas with Muslim majorities.
March-June 1946 – The Cabinet Mission visits India.
16 Aug. 1946 – To get Pakistan, Muslim League declares an agitation. Hindu-Muslim riots in Calcutta. Thousands are killed.
March 1947 – Congress agrees to divide Punjab into two on the basis of the majority population. One will be Muslim Majority and the other Hindu-Sikh majority. The same principle is used in Bengal. Britain is ready to leave India.
14-15 Aug. 1947 – India gets freedom. Pakistan is formed. To bring about peace Gandhi tours Noakhali (East Bengal)