On 15th August, 1947 India has been divided into two parts- India and Pakistan. The division was not just and fair; so many things were either neglected or never minded due to emotions and sentiments. The ‘divide and rule policy’ of the British, revolt of Muslim league, irresponsible role and behaviour of the Congress were some of the reasons that led to the partition of India.  The story of independence and the partition of the country was full of tragedy and trauma.

Historical Reason of Partition of India

Many people were against this partition, many opposed it due to the partition was on religion basis, and many others wanted that it had to be divided in such a way that in future it should not become controversial. Maulana Azad and Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia never accepted the division and wanted the intact India.

On the time of Independence the Indian Territory was divided into three sectors:-

  • The areas under British control- in total control of British governor general.
  • Indian kingdoms or princely states.
  • The dominions of France and Portugal like Chandan Nagar, Pondicherry, and Goa etc.

During the time of partition Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and Burma (Myanmar) were a part of India but the British had not annexed them in the Indian Territory.

In 1947, there were 662 principalities, among them 565 were under the British control. Out of 565, 552 had already accepted the proposal to include into Indian Federation.  Junagarh, Hyderabad, Travancore, and Kashmir were eager to merge with Pakistan.

After the decline of Mughals and Marathas, India had been divided into many small and big kingdoms. Sindh, Bahawalpur, Delhi, Awadh, Ruhelkhand, Bengal, Karnataka, Mysore, Hyderabad, Bhopal, Junagarh, and Surat were ruled by Muslim rulers on the time of Independence.

On the time of Independence, Indian states were ruled by both Muslim and Hindu rulers, and their ratio was approx. 40:60. This was the consequence of the long war among the kingdoms of 7th century A.D. that in the western territory Muslims were settled and in eastern territory Muslims were in majority in East Bengal. In the whole part of Bengal was ruled by the Muslim rulers while there were a number of Hindus were in Majority. The major effect of partition was faced by the population in Kashmir, Bengal, Punjab and Sindh.

Role of the East India Company

At first the British East India Company made their trade relation with the coastal states like Surat, Karnataka, Hyderabad and Bengal. Because of the conspiracy of Mir Zafar, the contemporary Nawab of Bengal Sirazudaulla was defeated by the British in Plassey War in 1757 and the British had acquired the rule of Bengal. Later on taking the benefit of the controversies among the princely states, with their diplomacy and advance military techniques and weapons the British were been able to rule the whole part of India.

British Formula

The division of India was based on the ‘3rd June plan’ or ‘The Indian Independence Act 1947’ prepared by the last British Governor General Lord Mountbatten. It was said in the Indian Independence Act that on the day two states- India and Pakistan will be formed and the British Government would hand over the rule.

 

Mountbatten had proposed Jawaharlal upon the freedom of India that the 565 princely states will have the right to choose to merge into either India or Pakistan and if they didn’t want they may live independent. All the Princely States were accepted to merge into Indian federation except Travancore, Junagarh, Bhopal and Kashmir.

Situation of the Indian Territory and the Rulers

Among 662 regional kingdoms, 552 had willingly accepted to live with Indian federation and signed the merger letter and the rest 105 out of 110 remaining states went with Pakistan. Remaining five states Junagarh, Hyderabad, Bhopal, Travancore, and Kashmir were delaying their decision and denied their merger. All the rulers of those states were not sincere and always indulged in other activities rather than to keep control of their kingdoms.

The Hindu ruler of Kashmir Raja Hari Singh wanted to live independently, whereas the Muslim majority of Kashmir wanted to go with Pakistan and the Hindu Brahmins showed their inclination with the Indian federation. On the other hand Hyderabad and Bhopal had Hindu majority but the rulers of both the states were Muslims and wished to live independent but the population wanted to merge with the Indian Federation. Junagarh was also ruled by Muslim ruler but the majority of Hindus were living there. The Ruler of Junagarh heartily wanted to go with Pakistan. These five states aspired for Independent state but it was not possible because of their cultural and geographical background.

Impacts of the Indian Independence Act 1947

Travancore:-

Refusing the merger policy the king of Travancore, King Uthradom Thirunal Martand Verma had declared independence. The king and the people both were Hindus. From 1938 there was a movement in Travancore for the independence but it wasn’t successful due the communism that was prevailing in the state.

In 1938-39 the activists in Travancore and Kochi started a campaign for a free and democratic state. That movement of Congress and the Youth League created hardship for both the king and the government. Hence they were banned. Later on Congress was divided on the issue of the Dewaan and the youth League had left the decision on Congress. In October 1946 Punapra-Vayalar revolt occurred and intensified up to brutal killings and massacre that was suppressed by the British.

When British declared their departure there was a political crisis. After a lot of hotchpotch the Dewaan of Travancore agreed to merge in Indian federation.

 

Hyderabad:-

The Nizams were ruling Hyderabad since 1720, which was over-turned by the British in 1798. Seven Nizams ruled over Hyderabad for about 200 years until the Independence. The last Nijam was Ushman Ali Khan whose rule was annexed to Indian Federation.

80% of the total population of Hyderabad were Hindus but the orthodox Muslim, Kasim Rizvi had put a pressure on the Nijam of Hyderabad to not to merge in the Indian Federation.

K.M. Munshi had written about Kasim Rizvi that he was the real culprit who inspired the Muslims to spread riots, the liberal prime minister was out-throned and the nawab of Chhatari was appointed as the prime minister. The Nawab of Chhatari asked Jinna, if Pakistan would give him support when India would attack on Hyderabad. The reply of Jinna was in negative. At once being hopeless the nawab of Chatari left Hyderabad.

The Nizam of Hyderabad became against Indian Federation impressed by the orthodox thoughts of Kasim Rizvi. When Nijam was delaying to sign the agreement/ merger letter and had taken a long time then the contemporary home-minister Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel had to take disciplinary action and deployed the police force. Kasim fled away and the Nijam had to accept the decision of Sardar and thus the merger had become possible. Sardar Patel appreciated the Muslims for their contribution and help.

Jammu and Kashmir:-

It was an irony that the population of Jammu and Kashmir wanted the merger into the Indian Federation but the ruler was interested in freedom. In this dilemma Pakistan wished and tried to annex Kashmir forcefully into Pakistan. On the indication and support of Jinna tribal groups attacked Kashmir.

The problems of Maharaja Hari Singh were increased and he had no other option and sought for the help of the Indian Federation. He pleaded to the Indian Government for the help but much time passed and the tribal groups invaded and seized on almost half area of Kashmir and started to plunder and mass killing.

Bhopal:-

After the Independence on 15th August, 1947, the nawab of Bhopal had announced the authority and working of Chamber of Princes. The Nawab of Bhopal had also not attended the meeting called by Lord Mountbatten on 25th July 1947 which was being held in Delhi. He told the meeting unusual and said that it seemed like a snail was called in the invitation of Hippopotamus and the woodcutter. He wanted to live free.

The principality of the Nawab of Bhopal was extended up to Bhopal, Sihor and Raisen. This principality was established by a valiant Afghan warrior in the army of Aurangzeb Muhammad Khan in 1723-24 by winning Sihor, Astha, Khilchipur, and Ginnore. In 1728, Yaar Muhammad Khan was appointed as a nawab of Bhopal after the death of his father Muhammad Khan.

In March 1818, Najar Muhammad Khan was the Nawab of Bhopal who made an alliance with British. According to Anglo-Bhopal agreement it was declared a princely state. In 1926 Hamidulla Khan was appointed as the nawab of Bhopal.

Until 14th August 1947 the nawab of Bhopal Hamidulla was in dilemma about his final decision. Jinna had offered him the post of Secretary General of Pakistan and he had also a temptation of his principality. He offered the post of nawab to his daughter Abida and wanted to shift to Pakistan but she refused. In March 1948, he declared the independence of Pakistan, formed new government and selected Chatur Narayana Malviya as the prime minister. Then Hamidulla went on a pilgrimage to Mecca.

The population condemned it and a massive revolt occurred against the nawab and a large scale destruction and plunder was seen everywhere in the history of Bhopal. Many demonstrators were put behind bars such as Thakur Lal Singh, Dr. Shankar Dayal Sharma, and Bhairo Prasad and Uddhav Das Mehta. There were strikes and agitation that made the stoppage of all the civil activities in Bhopal. The state police was anyhow keeping control on the agitators.

At the very moment the representative of Indian Government V.P. Menon reached Bhopal again. He told the nawab of Bhopal in strict words that Bhopal couldn’t be left free. He also told him that since Bhopal was very close to Malwa in the sense of geographical location and the moral and cultural point of view, hence Bhopal had to remain as a part of India. Mountbatten had also expressed his view to the nawab and at last he accepted with slight hesitation.

Finally Bhopal had been annexed in India and the chief commissioner appointed by the Indian Government A.B.Banerjee had taken the charge and the nawab had sanctioned a royalty of 11 lakhs. Thus Bhopal was merged with India and this was the end of the Nawab rule in Bhopal.

Contemporary Reason behind the Partition

The partition of India was not favoured by the Indian politicians. But Jinna and the British rulers were in favour and provoked riots. The British had bifurcated the Hindus and Muslims in a planned way and had established Muslim league. They demanded Pakistan and a massive massacre and killing of Hindus happened in Sindh and Punjab. In the riots held in Calcutta more than 5000 people had lost their life and thousands were injured in August 1946. Thus political leaders faced a lot of pressure and agreed for the division.

Many thinkers believed that the British had deliberately not handled the partition well. Churchill and Mountbatten first divided the mind set of various political leaders and then declared the Independence. Religious division was declared after the announcement of the Independence. The total responsibility to maintain peace was on the shoulders of Nehru and Sardar Patel.

The two newly formed governments were not capable to stop the violence as the military was controlled by the British resulting in the large scale violence and escapade.

Effects of the Partition

During the partition riots broke out in Bengal, Sindh, Hyderabad, Kashmir and Punjab. Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Sia-muslims were totally affected by the riot sponsored by Pakistan and their lives had been ruined.

Post Partition effect was largely seen for months. A large number of people were escaped from one country to another. Hindus and Sikhs were forced to leave Pakistan. Their houses, land and property were seized by using power. They were compelled to leave their homes. Whereas Mahatma Gandhi was assuring the safety of Muslims in India and told the Muslims not to frighten and they need not leave the country. It would be fruitful in future and they will remain safe in India.

Consequences of the partition

Gandhiji was right in his sense. The people who shifted to Pakistan are called Mohajir in Pakistan now-a-days and they are treated badly in Pakistan. They do not have similar privileges like the natives of Pakistan.

According to 1951 census 72, 26,000 Muslims went to Pakistan whereas 72, 49,000 Sikhs and Hindus arrived in India. Many of them could not face the hardship of the shifting and were killed in the way or lost their lives due to epidemic and hunger. Millions of people in both the countries were affected and it is estimated that around 5 lakh people were killed during the partition and 1.45 crore were living as refugees in their own country.

The Indian property was finalized by the British and divided between the two countries. It took a long time to settle the dispute. Gandhi was in haste and put pressure on the Indian government to settle the dispute and arrange the money which was to be sent to Pakistan.

In the meantime the war between India and Pakistan was started. The government of India had accepted Gandhi’s proposal and had to send money soon. That event hurt many people in India and Gandhi had to lose his life. Being agitated by the Gandhi’s decision Nathuram Godse shot bullets in a morning assembly and Gandhi died on the spot.

 

 

 

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