The Partition of India of 1947 was the division of British India
into two independent dominion
. The Dominion of India is today the Republic of India
; the Dominion of Pakistan is today the Islamic Republic of Pakistan
and the People's Republic of Bangladesh
. The partition
involved the division of two provinces, Bengal
, based on district-wise non-Muslim or Muslim
majorities. The partition also saw the division of the British Indian Army
, the Royal Indian Navy
, the Indian Civil Service
, the railways
, and the central treasury. The partition was outlined in the Indian Independence Act 1947
and resulted in the dissolution of the British Raj
, or Crown rule in India. The two self-governing countries of India and Pakistan legally came into existence at midnight on 15 August 1947.
The partition displaced between 10 and 20 million people along religious lines, creating overwhelming refugee crises in the newly constituted dominions.
There was large-scale violence, with estimates of loss of life accompanying or preceding the partition disputed and varying between several hundred thousand and two million with the number of muslim deaths being more than Hindus and Sikhs. The violent nature of the partition created an atmosphere of hostility and suspicion between India and Pakistan that affects their relationship
to this day.
The term ''partition of India'' does not cover the secession of Bangladesh from Pakistan
in 1971, nor the earlier separations of Burma
) and Ceylon
(now Sri Lanka
) from the administration of British India. The term also does not cover the political integration
of princely states
into the two new dominions, nor the disputes of annexation or division arising in the princely states of Hyderabad
, and Jammu and Kashmir
, though violence along religious lines did break out in some princely states at the time of the partition. It does not cover the incorporation of the enclaves of French India
into India during the period 1947–1954, nor the annexation of Goa
and other districts of Portuguese India
by India in 1961. Other contemporaneous political entities in the region in 1947, the Kingdom of Sikkim
, Kingdom of Bhutan
, Kingdom of Nepal
, and the Maldives
were unaffected by the partition.
Among princely states, the violence was often highly organised with the involvement or complacency of the rulers. It is believed that in the Sikh states (except for Jind and Kapurthala) the Maharaja
s were complacent in the ethnic cleansing of Muslims, while other Maharajas such as those of Patiala, Faridkot, and Bharatpur were heavily involved in ordering them. The ruler of Bharatpur is said to have witnessed the ethnic cleansing of his population, especially at places such as Deeg.
Background, pre-World War II (1905–1938)
Partition of Bengal: 1905
File:Hindu percent 1909.jpg|1909 Percentage of Hindus.
File:Muslim percent 1909.jpg|1909 Percentage of Muslims.
File:Sikhs buddhists jains percent1909.jpg|1909 Percentage of Sikhs, Buddhists, and Jains.
In 1905, during his second term as Viceroy of India
, Lord Curzon
divided the Bengal Presidency
—the largest administrative subdivision
in British India—into the Muslim-majority province of ''Eastern Bengal and Assam
'' and the Hindu-majority ''province'' of ''Bengal
'' (present-day Indian states of West Bengal
, and Odisha
Curzon's act, the ''partition of Bengal''
—which had been contemplated by various colonial administrations since the time of Lord William Bentinck
, though never acted upon—was to transform nationalist
politics as nothing else before it.
The Hindu elite of Bengal, many of whom owned land that was leased out to Muslim peasant
s in East Bengal, protested strongly. The large Bengali-Hindu middle-class
''), upset at the prospect of Bengalis being outnumbered in the new Bengal province by Biharis
, felt that Curzon's act was punishment for their political assertiveness
The pervasive protests against Curzon's decision predominantly took the form of the ''Swadeshi
'' ('buy Indian') campaign, involving a boycott of British goods. Sporadically, but flagrantly, the protesters also took to political violence
, which involved attacks on civilians. The violence, however, would be ineffective, as most planned attacks were either pre-empted by the British or failed.
The rallying cry
for both types of protest was the slogan ''Bande Mataram
, lit: 'Hail to the Mother'), the title of a song by Bankim Chandra Chatterjee
, which invoked a mother goddess
, who stood variously for Bengal, India, and the Hindu goddess Kali
The unrest spread from Calcutta
to the surrounding regions of Bengal when Calcutta's English-educated students returned home to their villages and towns.
The religious stirrings of the slogan and the political outrage over the partition were combined as young men, in such groups as Jugantar
, took to bomb
ing public buildings, staging armed robberies,
Since Calcutta was the imperial capital, both the outrage and the slogan soon became known nationally.
The overwhelming, predominantly-Hindu protest against the partition of Bengal, along with the fear of reforms favouring the Hindu majority, led the Muslim elite of India in 1906 to the new viceroy Lord Minto
, asking for separate electorates for Muslims. In conjunction, they demanded proportional legislative representation
reflecting both their status as former rulers and their record of cooperating with the British. This would result in the founding of the All-India Muslim League
in December 1906. Although Curzon by now had returned to England following his resignation over a dispute with his military chief, Lord Kitchener
, the League was in favor of his partition plan. The Muslim elite's position, which was reflected in the League's position, had crystallized gradually over the previous three decades, beginning with the 1871 Census of British India
, which had first estimated the populations in regions of Muslim majority.
For his part, Curzon's desire to court the Muslims of East Bengal had arisen from British anxieties ever since the 1871 census, and in light of the history of Muslims fighting them in the 1857 Mutiny
and the Second Anglo-Afghan War
In the three decades since the 1871 census, Muslim leaders across northern India
had intermittently experienced public animosity from some of the new Hindu political and social groups.
The Arya Samaj
, for example, had not only supported Cow Protection Societies
in their agitation, but also—distraught at the Census' Muslim numbers—organized "reconversion" events for the purpose of welcoming Muslims back to the Hindu fold.
In the United Provinces
, Muslims became anxious in the late-19th century as Hindu political representation increased, and Hindus were politically mobilized in the Hindi-Urdu controversy
and the anti-cow-killing riots
of 1893. In 1905 Muslim fears grew when Tilak
and Lajpat Rai
attempted to rise to leadership positions in the Congress, and the Congress itself rallied around the symbolism of Kali.
It was not lost on many Muslims, for example, that the ''bande mataram'' rallying cry had first appeared in the novel ''Anandmath
'' in which Hindus had battled their Muslim oppressors.
Lastly, the Muslim elite, including Nawab of Dacca
, Khwaja Salimullah
, who hosted the League's first meeting in his mansion in Shahbag
, was aware that a new province with a Muslim majority would directly benefit Muslims aspiring to political power.
World War I, Lucknow Pact: 1914–1918
, seated, third from the left, was a supporter of the Lucknow Pact, which, in 1916, ended the three-way rift between the Extremists, the Moderates and the League]]
World War I
would prove to be a watershed in the imperial relationship between Britain and India. 1.4 million Indian and British soldiers of the British Indian Army
would take part in the war, and their participation would have a wider cultural fallout: news of Indian soldiers fighting and dying with British soldiers, as well as soldiers from dominion
s like Canada and Australia, would travel to distant corners of the world both in newsprint and by the new medium of the radio.
India's international profile would thereby rise and would continue to rise during the 1920s.
It was to lead, among other things, to India, under its name, becoming a founding member
of the League of Nations
in 1920 and participating, under the name, "Les Indes Anglaises" (British India), in the 1920 Summer Olympics
. Back in India, especially among the leaders of the Indian National Congress
, it would lead to calls for greater self-government for Indians.
The 1916 Lucknow
Session of the Congress was also the venue of an unanticipated mutual effort by the Congress and the Muslim League, the occasion for which was provided by the wartime partnership between Germany and Turkey. Since the Turkish Sultan
, or ''Khalifah'', also had sporadically claimed guardianship of the Islamic holy sites of Mecca
, and Jerusalem
, and since the British and their allies were now in conflict with Turkey, doubts began to increase among some Indian Muslims about the "religious neutrality" of the British, doubts that had already surfaced as a result of the reunification of Bengal
in 1911, a decision that was seen as ill-disposed to Muslims.
In the Lucknow Pact, the League joined the Congress in the proposal for greater self-government that was campaigned for by Tilak and his supporters; in return, the Congress accepted separate electorates for Muslims in the provincial legislatures as well as the Imperial Legislative Council. In 1916, the Muslim League had anywhere between 500 and 800 members and did not yet have its wider following among Indian Muslims of later years; in the League itself, the pact did not have unanimous backing, having largely been negotiated by a group of "Young Party" Muslims from the United Provinces
(UP), most prominently, the brothers Mohammad
and Shaukat Ali
, who had embraced the Pan-Islamic cause.
However, it did have the support of a young lawyer from Bombay, Muhammad Ali Jinnah
, who was later to rise to leadership roles in both the League and the Indian independence movement. In later years, as the full ramifications of the pact unfolded, it was seen as benefiting the Muslim minority elites of provinces like UP and Bihar more than the Muslim majorities of Punjab and Bengal. At the time, the "Lucknow Pact" was an important milestone in nationalistic agitation and was seen so by the British.
Montagu–Chelmsford Reforms: 1919
Secretary of State for India
and Viceroy Lord Chelmsford
presented a report in July 1918 after a long fact-finding trip through India the previous winter.
After more discussion by the government and parliament in Britain, and another tour by the Franchise and Functions Committee to identify who among the Indian population could vote in future elections, the Government of India Act of 1919
(also known as the Montagu–Chelmsford Reforms
) was passed in December 1919.
The new Act enlarged both the provincial and Imperial
legislative councils and repealed the Government of India's recourse to the "official majority" in unfavourable votes.
Although departments like defence, foreign affairs, criminal law, communications, and income-tax were retained by the Viceroy
and the central government in New Delhi, other departments like public health, education, land-revenue, local self-government were transferred to the provinces.
The provinces themselves were now to be administered under a new dyarchical
system, whereby some areas like education, agriculture, infrastructure development, and local self-government became the preserve of Indian ministers and legislatures, and ultimately the Indian electorates, while others like irrigation, land-revenue, police, prisons, and control of media remained within the purview of the British governor and his executive council.
The new Act also made it easier for Indians to be admitted into the civil service and the army officer corps.
A greater number of Indians were now enfranchised, although, for voting at the national level, they constituted only 10% of the total adult male population, many of whom were still illiterate.
In the provincial legislatures, the British continued to exercise some control by setting aside seats for special interests they considered cooperative or useful. In particular, rural candidates, generally sympathetic to British rule and less confrontational, were assigned more seats than their urban counterparts.
Seats were also reserved for non-Brahmin
s, landowners, businessmen, and college graduates. The principle of "communal representation," an integral part of the Minto-Morley Reforms
, and more recently of the Congress-Muslim League Lucknow Pact, was reaffirmed, with seats being reserved for Muslims
, Indian Christians
, and domiciled Europeans, in both provincial and Imperial legislative councils.
The Montagu-Chelmsford reforms offered Indians the most significant opportunity yet for exercising legislative power, especially at the provincial level; however, that opportunity was also restricted by the still limited number of eligible voters, by the small budgets available to provincial legislatures, and by the presence of rural and special interest seats that were seen as instruments of British control.
Introduction of the two-nation theory: 1924
The ''two-nation theory'' is the ideology
that the primary identity and unifying denominator of Muslims
in the Indian subcontinent
is their religion, rather than their language
, and therefore Indian Hindus
and Muslims are two distinct nation
s regardless of commonalities.
[Talbot, Ian. 1999.]
" Pp. 253–63 in ''The Oxford History of the British Empire: Historiography'', edited by R. W. Winks. Oxford: Oxford University Press. . .
The two-nation theory was a founding principle of the Pakistan Movement
(i.e., the ideology of Pakistan
as a Muslim nation-state
in South Asia), and the partition of India in 1947.
The ideology that religion is the determining factor in defining the nationality of Indian Muslims was undertaken by Muhammad Ali Jinnah
, who termed it as the awakening of Muslims for the creation of Pakistan. It is also a source of inspiration to several Hindu nationalist
organizations, with causes as varied as the redefinition of Indian Muslims as non-Indian foreigners and second-class citizens in India, the expulsion of all Muslims
, establishment of a legally Hindu state in India, prohibition of conversions to Islam
, and the promotion of conversions or reconversions
of Indian Muslims to Hinduism.
[Shakir, Moin. 1979. "Review: Always in the Mainstream." ''Economic and Political Weekly'' 14(33):1424.
"e Muslims are not Indians but foreigners or temporary guests—without any loyalty to the country or its cultural heritage—and should be driven out of the country ..."] [Sankhdher, M. M., and K. K. Wadhwa. 1991. ]
National unity and religious minorities
'. Gitanjali Publishing House. .
"... In their heart of hearts, the Indian Muslims are not Indian citizens, are not Indians: they are citizens of the universal Islamic ummah, of Islamdom ..."
[Savarkar, Vinayak Damodar, and Sudhakar Raje. 1989. ]
Savarkar: commemoration volume
'. Savarkar Darshan Pratishthan.
"His historic warning against conversion and call for Shuddhi was condensed in the dictum 'Dharmantar is Rashtrantar' (to change one's religion is to change one's nationality) ..."
[Chakravarty, Nikhil, ed. 1990. ''Mainstream'', 28:32–52. . "'Dharmantar is Rashtrantar' is one of the old slogans of the VHP..."]
The Hindu Mahasabha
leader Lala Lajpat Rai
was one of the first persons to demand to bifurcate India by Muslim and non-Muslim population. He wrote in ''The Tribune
'' of 14 December 1924:
Under my scheme the Muslims will have four Muslim States: (1) The Pathan Province or the North-West Frontier; (2) Western Punjab (3) Sindh and (4) Eastern Bengal. If there are small Muslim communities in any other part of India, sufficiently large to form a province, they should be similarly constituted. But it should be distinctly understood that this is not a united India. It means a clear partition of India into a Muslim India and a non-Muslim India.
There are varying interpretations of the two-nation theory, based on whether the two postulated nationalities can coexist in one territory or not, with radically different implications. One interpretation argued for sovereign autonomy, including the right to secede, for Muslim-majority areas of the Indian subcontinent, but without any transfer of populations (i.e., Hindus and Muslims would continue to live together). A different interpretation contends that Hindus and Muslims constitute "two distinct and frequently antagonistic ways of life and that therefore they cannot coexist in one nation."
In this version, a transfer of populations (i.e., the total removal of Hindus from Muslim-majority areas and the total removal of Muslims from Hindu-majority areas) was a desirable step towards a complete separation of two incompatible nations that "cannot coexist in a harmonious relationship."
Opposition to the theory has come from two sources. The first is the concept of a single Indian nation
, of which Hindus and Muslims are two intertwined communities.
This is a founding principle of the modern, officially-secular Republic of India
. Even after the formation of Pakistan, debates on whether Muslims and Hindus are distinct nationalities or not continued in that country as well.
[Pakistan Constituent Assembly. 1953.]
Debates: Official report, Volume 1; Volume 16
" Government of Pakistan Press.
"y that Hindus and Muslims are one, single nation. It is a very peculiar attitude on the part of the leader of the opposition. If his point of view were accepted, then the very justification for the existence of Pakistan would disappear ..."
The second source of opposition is the concept that while Indians are not one nation, neither are the Muslims or Hindus of the subcontinent, and it is instead the relatively homogeneous
provincial units of the subcontinent which are true nations and deserving of sovereignty
; the Baloch
has presented this view,
, and Pashtun
sub-nationalities of Pakistan and the Assamese
sub-nationalities of India.
Muslim homeland, provincial elections: 1930–1938
_(left)_seconding_the_1940_Lahore_Resolution_of_the_[[All-India_Muslim_League_with_[[Jinnah.html" style="text-decoration: none;"class="mw-redirect" title="All-India Muslim League">Chaudhari Khaliquzzaman (left) seconding the 1940 Lahore Resolution of the [[All-India Muslim League with [[Jinnah">All-India Muslim League">Chaudhari Khaliquzzaman (left) seconding the 1940 Lahore Resolution of the [[All-India Muslim League with [[Jinnah (right) presiding, and [[Liaquat Ali Khan]] centre]]
In 1933, [[Choudhry Rahmat Ali]] had produced a pamphlet, entitled ''[[Pakistan Declaration|Now or never]]'', in which the term ''[[Pakistan]]'', 'land of the pure,' comprising the [[Punjab Pakistan|Punjab]], North-West Frontier Province (1901–1955)|North West Frontier Province (Afghania)
, and Balochistan
, was coined for the first time. However, the pamphlet did not attract political attention and, a little later, a Muslim delegation
to the Parliamentary Committee
on Indian Constitutional Reforms gave short shrift to the idea of Pakistan, calling it "chimerical and impracticable." In 1932, British Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald
accepted Dr. Ambedkar
's demand for the "Depressed Classes
" to have separate representation in the central and provincial legislatures. The Muslim League favoured the award as it had the potential to weaken the Hindu caste leadership. However, Mahatma Gandhi
, who was seen as a leading advocate for Dalit
rights, went on a fast to persuade the British to repeal the award. Ambedkar had to back down when it seemed Gandhi's life was threatened.
Two years later, the ''Government of India Act 1935
'' introduced provincial autonomy, increasing the number of voters in India to 35 million. More significantly, law and order issues were for the first time devolved from British authority to provincial governments headed by Indians. This increased Muslim anxieties about eventual Hindu domination. In the 1937 Indian provincial elections
, the Muslim League turned out its best performance in Muslim-minority provinces such as the United Provinces
, where it won 29 of the 64 reserved Muslim seats. However, in the Muslim-majority regions of the Punjab and Bengal regional parties outperformed the League. In the Punjab, the Unionist Party
of Sikandar Hayat Khan
, won the elections and formed a government, with the support of the Indian National Congress and the Shiromani Akali Dal
, which lasted five years. In Bengal, the League had to share power in a coalition headed by A. K. Fazlul Huq
, the leader of the Krishak Praja Party
The Congress, on the other hand, with 716 wins in the total of 1585 provincial assemblies seats, was able to form governments in 7 out of the 11 provinces of British India
. In its manifesto, the Congress maintained that religious issues were of lesser importance to the masses than economic and social issues. However, the election revealed that the Congress had contested just 58 out of the total 482 Muslim seats, and of these, it won in only 26. In UP, where the Congress won, it offered to share power with the League on condition that the League stop functioning as a representative only of Muslims, which the League refused. This proved to be a mistake as it alienated Congress further from the Muslim masses. Besides, the new UP provincial administration promulgated cow protection and the use of Hindi. The Muslim elite in UP was further alienated, when they saw chaotic scenes of the new Congress Raj, in which rural people who sometimes turned up in large numbers in Government buildings, were indistinguishable from the administrators and the law enforcement personnel.
The Muslim League conducted its investigation into the conditions of Muslims under Congress-governed provinces. The findings of such investigations increased fear among the Muslim masses of future Hindu domination. The view that Muslims would be unfairly treated in an independent India dominated by the Congress was now a part of the public discourse of Muslims.
Background, during and post-World War II (1939–1947)
With the outbreak of World War II
in 1939, Lord Linlithgow
, Viceroy of India
, declared war on India's behalf without consulting Indian leaders, leading the Congress provincial ministries to resign in protest. By contrast the Muslim League, which functioned under state patronage, organized "Deliverance Day" celebrations (from Congress dominance) and supported Britain in the war effort. When Linlithgow met with nationalist leaders, he gave the same status to Jinnah
as he did to Gandhi, and a month later described the Congress as a "Hindu organization."
In March 1940, in the League's annual three-day session in Lahore
, Jinnah gave a two-hour speech in English, in which were laid out the arguments of the Two-nation theory
, stating, in the words of historians Talbot and Singh, that "Muslims and Hindus…were irreconcilably opposed monolithic religious communities and as such, no settlement could be imposed that did not satisfy the aspirations of the former." On the last day of its session, the League passed, what came to be known as the Lahore Resolution
, sometimes also "Pakistan Resolution," demanding that "the areas in which the Muslims are numerically in the majority as in the North-Western and Eastern zones of India should be grouped to constitute independent states in which the constituent units shall be autonomous and sovereign." Though it had been founded more than three decades earlier, the League would gather support among South Asian Muslims only during the Second World War.
August Offer, Churchill proposal: 1940–1942
In August 1940, Lord Linlithgow
proposed that India be granted a Dominion status
after the war. Having not taken the Pakistan idea seriously, Linlithgow supposed that what Jinnah wanted was a non-federal arrangement without Hindu domination. To allay Muslim fears of Hindu domination, the "August Offer" was accompanied by the promise that a future constitution would consider the views of minorities. Neither the Congress nor the Muslim League were satisfied with the offer, and both rejected it in September. The Congress once again started a program of civil disobedience
In March 1942, with the Japanese fast moving up the Malayan Peninsula
after the Fall of Singapore
, and with the Americans supporting independence for India, Winston Churchill
, the wartime Prime Minister of Britain, sent Sir Stafford Cripps
, leader of the House of Commons
, with an offer of dominion status to India at the end of the war in return for the Congress's support for the war effort. Not wishing to lose the support of the allies they had already secured—the Muslim League, Unionists of Punjab, and the Princes—Cripps's offer included a clause stating that no part of the British Indian Empire would be forced to join the post-war Dominion. The League rejected the offer, seeing this clause as insufficient in meeting the principle of Pakistan. As a result of that proviso, the proposals were also rejected by the Congress, which, since its founding as a polite group of lawyers in 1885, saw itself as the representative of all Indians of all faiths. After the arrival in 1920 of Gandhi, the pre-eminent strategist of Indian nationalism, the Congress had been transformed into a mass nationalist movement of millions.
Quit India Resolution
In August 1942, the Congress launched the Quit India Resolution
, asking for drastic constitutional changes which the British saw as the most serious threat to their rule since the Indian rebellion of 1857
. With their resources and attention already spread thin by a global war, the nervous British immediately jailed the Congress leaders and kept them in jail until August 1945, whereas the Muslim League was now free for the next three years to spread its message. Consequently, the Muslim League's ranks surged during the war, with Jinnah himself admitting, "The war which nobody welcomed proved to be a blessing in disguise." Although there were other important national Muslim politicians such as Congress leader Abul Kalam Azad
, and influential regional Muslim politicians such as A. K. Fazlul Huq
of the leftist Krishak Praja Party
in Bengal, Sikander Hyat Khan
of the landlord-dominated Punjab Unionist Party
, and Abd al-Ghaffar Khan
of the pro-Congress Khudai Khidmatgar
(popularly, "red shirts") in the North West Frontier Province
, the British were to increasingly see the League as the main representative of Muslim India. The Muslim League's demand for Pakistan pitted it against the British and Congress.
In January 1946, mutinies
broke out in the armed services, starting with RAF servicemen frustrated with their slow repatriation
The insurgencies came to a head in February 1946 with the mutiny of the Royal Indian Navy
, followed by others in Calcutta
, and Karachi
. Although the mutinies were rapidly suppressed, they had the effect of spurring the Attlee government
to action. Labour Prime Minister Clement Attlee
had been deeply interested in Indian independence since the 1920s, and for years had supported it. He now took charge of the government position and gave the issue the highest priority. A Cabinet Mission
was sent to India led by the Secretary of State for India, Lord Pethick Lawrence
, which also included Sir Stafford Cripps
, who had visited India four years before. The objective of the mission was to arrange for an orderly transfer to independence.
In early 1946, new elections were held in India. With the announcement of the polls, the line had been drawn for Muslim voters to choose between a united Indian State or partition.
At the end of the war in 1945, the colonial government had announced the public trial of three senior officers of Subhas Chandra Bose
's defeated Indian National Army
(INA) who stood accused of treason
. Now as the trials began, the Congress leadership, although having never supported the INA, chose to defend the accused officers. The subsequent convictions of the officers, the public outcry against the beliefs, and the eventual remission of the sentences created positive propaganda
for the Congress, which enabled it to win the party's subsequent electoral victories in eight of the eleven provinces. The negotiations between the Congress and the Muslim League, however, stumbled over the issue of partition.
British rule had lost its legitimacy for most Hindus, and conclusive proof of this came in the form of the 1946 elections with the Congress winning 91 percent of the vote among non-Muslim constituencies, thereby gaining a majority in the Central Legislature and forming governments in eight provinces, and becoming the legitimate successor to the British government for most Hindus. If the British intended to stay in India the acquiescence of politically active Indians to British rule would have been in doubt after these election results, although the views of many rural Indians were uncertain even at that point. The Muslim League won the majority of the Muslim vote as well as most reserved Muslim seats in the provincial assemblies, and it also secured all the Muslim seats in the Central Assembly.
Cabinet Mission: July 1946
Recovering from its performance in the 1937 elections, the Muslim League was finally able to make good on the claim that it and Jinnah alone represented India's Muslims
and Jinnah quickly interpreted this vote as a popular demand for a separate homeland.
However, tensions heightened while the Muslim League was unable to form ministries outside the two provinces of Sind and Bengal, with the Congress forming a ministry in the NWFP and the key Punjab province coming under a coalition ministry of the Congress, Sikhs and Unionists.
The British, while not approving of a separate Muslim homeland, appreciated the simplicity of a single voice to speak on behalf of India's Muslims. Britain had wanted India and its army to remain united to keep India in its system of 'imperial defence'.
With India's two political parties unable to agree, Britain devised the ''Cabinet Mission Plan''. Through this mission, Britain hoped to preserve the united India which they and the Congress desired, while concurrently securing the essence of Jinnah's demand for a Pakistan through 'groupings.'
The Cabinet mission scheme encapsulated a federal arrangement consisting of three groups of provinces. Two of these groupings would consist of predominantly Muslim provinces, while the third grouping would be made up of the predominantly Hindu regions. The provinces would be autonomous, but the centre would retain control over the defence, foreign affairs, and communications. Though the proposals did not offer independent Pakistan, the Muslim League accepted the proposals. Even though the unity of India would have been preserved, the Congress leaders, especially Nehru, believed it would leave the Center weak. On 10 July 1946, Nehru
gave a "provocative speech," rejected the idea of grouping the provinces and "effectively torpedoed" both the Cabinet mission plan
and the prospect of a United India.
Direct Action Day: August 1946
After the Cabinet Mission broke down, Jinnah proclaimed 16 August 1946 ''Direct Action Day
'', with the stated goal of peacefully highlighting the demand for a Muslim homeland in British India. However, on the morning of the 16th, armed Muslim gangs gathered at the Ochterlony Monument
in Calcutta to hear Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy
, the League's Chief Minister of Bengal, who, in the words of historian Yasmin Khan, "if he did not explicitly incite violence certainly gave the crowd the impression that they could act with impunity, that neither the police nor the military would be called out and that the ministry would turn a blind eye to any action they unleashed in the city." That very evening, in Calcutta, Hindus were attacked by returning Muslim celebrants, who carried pamphlets distributed earlier which showed a clear connection between violence and the demand for Pakistan, and directly implicated the celebration of Direct Action Day with the outbreak of the cycle of violence that would later be called the "Great Calcutta Killing of August 1946". The next day, Hindus struck back, and the violence continued for three days in which approximately 4,000 people died (according to official accounts), both Hindus and Muslims. Although India had had outbreaks of religious violence between Hindus and Muslims before, the Calcutta
killings were the first to display elements of "ethnic cleansing
". Violence was not confined to the public sphere, but homes were entered and destroyed, and women and children were attacked. Although the Government of India and the Congress were both shaken by the course of events, in September, a Congress-led interim government was installed, with Jawaharlal Nehru
as united India's prime minister.
The communal violence spread to Bihar
(where Hindus attacked Muslims), to Noakhali in Bengal
(where Muslims targeted Hindus), to Garhmukteshwar
in the United Provinces
(where Hindus attacked Muslims), and on to Rawalpindi
in March 1947 in which Hindus were attacked or driven out by Muslims.
Plan for partition: 1946–1947
The British Prime Minister Attlee appointed Lord Louis Mountbatten
as India's last viceroy
, giving him the task to oversee British India's independence by June 1948, with the instruction to ''avoid'' partition and ''preserve'' a United India, but with adaptable authority to ensure a British withdrawal with minimal setbacks. Mountbatten hoped to revive the Cabinet Mission scheme for a federal arrangement for India. But despite his initial keenness for preserving the centre, the tense communal situation caused him to conclude that partition had become necessary for a quicker transfer of power.
was one of the first Congress leaders to accept the partition of India as a solution to the rising Muslim separatist movement led by Muhammad Ali Jinnah
. He had been outraged by Jinnah's Direct Action campaign, which had provoked communal violence across India and by the viceroy's vetoes of his home department's plans to stop the violence on the grounds of constitutionality. Patel severely criticized the viceroy's induction of League ministers into the government and the revalidation of the grouping scheme by the British without Congress approval. Although further outraged at the League's boycott of the assembly and non-acceptance of the plan of 16 May despite entering government, he was also aware that Jinnah enjoyed popular support amongst Muslims, and that an open conflict between him and the nationalists could degenerate into a Hindu-Muslim civil war. The continuation of a divided and weak central government would in Patel's mind, result in the wider fragmentation of India by encouraging more than 600 princely states towards independence.
Between the months of December 1946 and January 1947, Patel worked with civil servant V. P. Menon
on the latter's suggestion for a separate dominion of Pakistan created out of Muslim-majority provinces. Communal violence in Bengal and Punjab in January and March 1947 further convinced Patel of the soundness of partition. Patel, a fierce critic of Jinnah's demand that the Hindu-majority areas of Punjab and Bengal be included in a Muslim state, obtained the partition of those provinces, thus blocking any possibility of their inclusion in Pakistan. Patel's decisiveness on the partition of Punjab and Bengal had won him many supporters and admirers amongst the Indian public, which had been tired of the League's tactics. Still, he was criticized by Gandhi, Nehru, secular Muslims
, and socialists
for a perceived eagerness for the partition.
Proposal of the ''Indian Independence Act''
When Lord Mountbatten formally proposed the plan on 3 June 1947, Patel gave his approval and lobbied Nehru and other Congress leaders to accept the proposal. Knowing Gandhi's deep anguish regarding proposals of partition, Patel engaged him in private meetings discussions over the perceived practical unworkability of any Congress-League coalition
, the rising violence, and the threat of civil war. At the All India Congress Committee meeting called to vote on the proposal, Patel said:
I fully appreciate the fears of our brothers from he Muslim-majority areas Nobody likes the division of India, and my heart is heavy. But the choice is between one division and many divisions. We must face facts. We cannot give way to emotionalism and sentimentality. The Working Committee has not acted out of fear. But I am afraid of one thing, that all our toil and hard work of these many years might go waste or prove unfruitful. My nine months in office have completely disillusioned me regarding the supposed merits of the Cabinet Mission Plan. Except for a few honourable exceptions, Muslim officials from the top down to the chaprasis (peons or servants) are working for the League. The communal veto given to the League in the Mission Plan would have blocked India's progress at every stage. Whether we like it or not, de facto Pakistan already exists in the Punjab and Bengal. Under the circumstances, I would prefer a de jure Pakistan, which may make the League more responsible. Freedom is coming. We have 75 to 80 percent of India, which we can make strong with our genius. The League can develop the rest of the country.
Following Gandhi's denial and Congress' approval of the plan, Patel represented India on the Partition Council, where he oversaw the division of public assets and selected the Indian council of ministers with Nehru. However, neither he nor any other Indian leader had foreseen the intense violence and population transfer that would take place with partition. Late in 1946, the Labour government in Britain
, its exchequer
exhausted by the recently concluded World War II, decided to end British rule of India, and in early 1947 Britain announced its intention of transferring power no later than June 1948. However, with the British army unprepared for the potential for increased violence, the new viceroy, Louis Mountbatten
, advanced the date for the transfer of power, allowing less than six months for a mutually-agreed plan for independence.
In June 1947, the nationalist leaders, including Nehru
and Abul Kalam Azad
on behalf of the Congress, Jinnah representing the Muslim League, B. R. Ambedkar
representing the Untouchable
community, and Master Tara Singh
representing the Sikhs
, agreed to a partition of the country along religious lines in stark opposition to Gandhi's views. The predominantly Hindu and Sikh areas were assigned to the new India and predominantly Muslim areas to the new nation of Pakistan; the plan included a partition of the Muslim-majority provinces of Punjab and Bengal. The communal violence that accompanied the announcement of the ''Radcliffe Line'', the line of partition, was even more horrific.
Describing the violence that accompanied the partition of India, historians Ian Talbot and Gurharpal Singh write:
There are numerous eyewitness accounts of the maiming and mutilation of victims. The catalogue of horrors includes the disembowelling of pregnant women, the slamming of babies' heads against brick walls, the cutting off of the victim's limbs and genitalia, and the displaying of heads and corpses. While previous communal riots had been deadly, the scale and level of brutality during the partition massacres was unprecedented. Although some scholars question the use of the term 'genocide' concerning the partition massacres, much of the violence was manifested with genocidal tendencies. It was designed to cleanse an existing generation and prevent its future reproduction."
On 14 August 1947, the new Dominion of Pakistan
came into being, with Muhammad Ali Jinnah
sworn in as its first Governor-General in Karachi
. The following day, 15 August 1947, India, now Dominion of India
, became an independent country, with official ceremonies taking place in New Delhi
, Jawaharlal Nehru assuming the office of prime minister
, and with Viceroy Mountbatten staying on as the country's first Governor General
. Gandhi remained in Bengal to work with the new refugees from the partitioned subcontinent.
Geographic partition, 1947
The actual division of British India between the two new dominions was accomplished according to what has come to be known as the "3 June Plan" or "Mountbatten Plan". It was announced at a press conference by Mountbatten on 3 June 1947, when the date of independence - 15 August 1947 - was also announced. The plan's main points were:
* Sikhs, Hindus and Muslims in Punjab
and Bengal legislative assemblies
would meet and vote for partition. If a simple majority of either group wanted partition, then these provinces would be divided.
were to make their own decision.
* The fate of North-West Frontier Province
district of Assam
was to be decided by a referendum
* India would be independent by 15 August 1947.
* The separate independence of Bengal was ruled out.
* A boundary commission
to be set up in case of partition.
The Indian political leaders accepted the Plan on 2 June. It could not deal with the question of the princely state
s, which were not British possessions, but on 3 June Mountbatten advised them against remaining independent and urged them to join one of the two new dominions.
The Muslim League
's demands for a separate country were thus conceded. The Congress
's position on unity was also taken into account, while making Pakistan as small as possible. Mountbatten's formula was to divide India and, at the same time, retain maximum possible unity. Abul Kalam Azad expressed concern over the likelihood of violent riots, to which Mountbatten replied:
At least on this question I shall give you complete assurance. I shall see to it that there is no bloodshed and riot. I am a soldier and not a civilian. Once the partition is accepted in principle, I shall issue orders to see that there are no communal disturbances anywhere in the country. If there should be the slightest agitation, I shall adopt the sternest measures to nip the trouble in the bud.Jagmohan
has stated that this and what followed showed a "glaring failure of the government machinery."
On 3 June 1947, the partition plan was accepted by the Congress Working Committee
. ''Boloji'' states that in Punjab, there were no riots, but there was communal tension, while Gandhi was reportedly isolated by Nehru and Patel and observed ''maun vrat'' (day of silence). Mountbatten visited Gandhi and said he hoped that he would not oppose the partition, to which Gandhi wrote the reply: "Have I ever opposed you?"
Within British India, the border between India and Pakistan (the Radcliffe Line
) was determined by a British Government-commissioned report prepared under the chairmanship of a London barrister
, Sir Cyril Radcliffe
. Pakistan came into being with two non-contiguous enclaves, East Pakistan
(today Bangladesh) and West Pakistan
, separated geographically by India. India was formed out of the majority Hindu regions of British India, and Pakistan from the majority Muslim areas.
On 18 July 1947, the British Parliament
passed the Indian Independence Act
that finalized the arrangements for partition and abandoned British suzerainty
over the princely state
s, of which there were several hundred, leaving them free to choose whether to accede
to one of the new dominions or to remain independent outside both. The Government of India Act 1935
was adapted to provide a legal framework for the new dominions.
Following its creation as a new country in August 1947, Pakistan applied for membership of the United Nations and was accepted by the General Assembly on 30 September 1947. The Dominion of India
continued to have the existing seat as India had been a founding member of the United Nations since 1945.
The Punjab—the region of the five rivers east of Indus
, and Sutlej
—consists of inter-fluvial
s'' ('two rivers'), or tracts of land lying between two confluent rivers
(see map on the right):
* the ''Sindh-Sagar'' doab
(between Indus and Jhelum);
* the ''Jech'' doab
* the ''Rechna'' doab
* the ''Bari'' doab
* the ''Bist'' doab
In early 1947, in the months leading up to the deliberations of the Punjab Boundary Commission, the main disputed areas appeared to be in the Bari and Bist doabs. However, some areas in the Rechna doab were claimed by the Congress and Sikhs
. In the Bari doab, the districts of Gurdaspur
, and Montgomery
were all disputed.
All districts (other than Amritsar, which was 46.5% Muslim) had Muslim majorities; albeit, in Gurdaspur, the Muslim majority, at 51.1%, was slender. At a smaller area-scale, only three ''tehsil
s'' (sub-units of a district) in the Bari doab had non-Muslim majorities: Pathankot
, in the extreme north of Gurdaspur, which was not in dispute; and Amritsar
and Tarn Taran
in Amritsar district. Nonetheless, there were four Muslim-majority tehsils east of Beas-Sutlej, two of which where Muslims outnumbered Hindus and Sikhs together.
Before the Boundary Commission began formal hearings, governments were set up for the East and the West Punjab regions. Their territories were provisionally divided by "notional division" based on simple district majorities. In both the Punjab and Bengal, the Boundary Commission consisted of two Muslim and two non-Muslim judges with Sir Cyril Radcliffe
as a common chairman.
The mission of the Punjab commission was worded generally as: "To demarcate
the boundaries of the two parts of Punjab, based on ascertaining the contiguous
majority areas of Muslims and non-Muslims. In doing so, it will take into account other factors." Each side (the Muslims and the Congress/Sikhs) presented its claim through counsel with no liberty to bargain. The judges, too, had no mandate to compromise, and on all major issues they "divided two and two, leaving Sir Cyril Radcliffe the invidious task of making the actual decisions."
Independence, population transfer and violence
Massive population exchanges
occurred between the two newly formed states in the months immediately following the partition. There was no conception that population transfers would be necessary because of the partitioning. Religious minorities were expected to stay put in the states they found themselves residing in. However, an exception was made for Punjab, where the transfer of populations was organized because of the communal violence affecting the province, this did not apply to other provinces.
"The population of undivided India in 1947 was approx 390 million. After partition, there were 330 million people in India, 30 million in West Pakistan, and 30 million people in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh)." Once the boundaries were established, about 14.5 million people crossed the borders to what they hoped was the relative safety of religious majority. The 1951 Census of Pakistan identified the number of displaced persons in Pakistan at 7,226,600, presumably all Muslims who had entered Pakistan from India; the 1951 Census of India counted 7,295,870 displaced persons, apparently all Hindus and Sikhs
who had moved to India from Pakistan immediately after the partition.
The overall total is therefore around 14.5 million, although since both censuses were held about 4 years after the partition, these numbers include net population increase following the mass migration
About 11.2 million (77.4% of the displaced persons) were in the west, the majority from the Punjab
of it: 6.5 million Muslims moved from India to West Pakistan, and 4.7 million Hindus and Sikhs moved from West Pakistan to India; thus the net migration in the west from India to West Pakistan (now Pakistan) was 1.8 million. The other 3.3 million (22.6% of the displaced persons) were in the east: 2.6 million moved from East Pakistan to India, and 0.7 million moved from India to East Pakistan (now Bangladesh); thus, net migration in the east was 1.9 million into India.
Regions affected by Partition
The partition of British India split the former British province of Punjab between the Dominion of India
and the Dominion of Pakistan
. The mostly Muslim western part of the province became Pakistan's Punjab province
; the mostly Hindu and Sikh eastern part became India's East Punjab state (later divided into the new states of Punjab
and Himachal Pradesh
). Many Hindus and Sikhs lived in the west, and many Muslims lived in the east, and the fears of all such minorities were so great that the Partition saw many people displaced and much inter-communal violence. Some have described the violence in Punjab as a retributive genocide.
Total migration across Punjab during the partition is estimated at around 12 million people; around 6.5 million Muslims moved from East Punjab to West Punjab, and 4.7 million Hindus and Sikhs moved from West Punjab to East Punjab.
The newly formed governments had not anticipated, and were completely unequipped for, a two-way migration of such staggering magnitude, and massive violence and slaughter occurred on both sides of the new India-Pakistan border. Estimates of the number of deaths vary, with low estimates at 200,000 and high estimates at 2,000,000. The worst case of violence among all regions is concluded to have taken place in Punjab.
Virtually no Muslim survived in East Punjab (except in Malerkotla
) and virtually no Hindu or Sikh survived in West Punjab.
Lawrence James observed that "Sir Francis Mudie, the governor of West Punjab, estimated that 500,000 Muslims died trying to enter his province, while the British high commissioner in Karachi put the full total at 800,000. This makes nonsense of the claim by Mountbatten and his partisans that only 200,000 were killed": ames 1998: 636
During this period, many alleged that Tara Singh
was endorsing the killing of Muslims. On 3 March 1947, at Lahore
, Singh, along with about 500 Sikhs, declared from a dais
"Death to Pakistan." According to political scientist Ishtiaq Ahmed
On March 3, radical Sikh leader Master Tara Singh famously flashed his kirpan (sword) outside the Punjab Assembly, calling for the destruction of the Pakistan idea prompting violent response by the Muslims mainly against Sikhs but also Hindus, in the Muslim-majority districts of northern Punjab. Yet, at the end of that year, more Muslims had been killed in East Punjab than Hindus and Sikhs together in West Punjab.
Nehru wrote to Gandhi on 22 August that, up to that point, twice as many Muslims had been killed in East Punjab
than Hindus and Sikhs in West Punjab
The province of Bengal
was divided into the two separate entities of West Bengal, awarded to the Dominion of India, and East Bengal
, awarded to the Dominion of Pakistan. East Bengal was renamed East Pakistan in 1955, and later became the independent nation of Bangladesh
after the Bangladesh Liberation War
While the Muslim majority districts of Murshidabad
were given to India, the Hindu majority district of Khulna
and the Buddhist majority, but sparsely populated, Chittagong Hill Tracts
were given to Pakistan by the Radcliffe award.
Thousands of Hindus, located in the districts of East Bengal, which were awarded to Pakistan, found themselves being attacked, and this religious persecution forced hundreds of thousands of Hindus from East Bengal to seek refuge in India. The massive influx of Hindu refugees into Calcutta affected the demographics of the city. Many Muslims left the city for East Pakistan, and the refugee families occupied some of their homes and properties.
Chittagong Hill Tracts
Buddhist majority Chittagong Hill Tracts
was given to Pakistan even though the British Parliament
or the Indian Independence Act 1947
did not give mandate to the Boundary Commission to separate the Chittagong Hill Tracts
from India. In 1947, Chittagong Hill Tracts
had 98.5% Buddhist and Hindu majority
. According to the Indian Independence Act 1947
, Indian province of Bengal was divided into West Bengal
and East Bengal
on religious ground
. Chittagong Hill Tracts
was an excluded area since 1900 and was not part of Bengal. Chittagong Hill Tracts
had no representative at the Bengal Legislative Assembly in Calcutta, since it was not part of Bengal.
On 15 August 1947, Chakma and other indigenous Buddhists celebrated independence day by hoisting Indian flag in Rangamati
, the capital of Chittagong Hill Tracts
. When the boundaries of Pakistan and India were announced by radio on 17 August 1947, they were shocked to know that the Chittagong Hill Tracts
had been awarded to Pakistan. The Baluch Regiment of the Pakistani Army entered Chittagong Hill Tracts a week later and lowered the Indian flag at gun point.
The indigenous people sent a delegation led by Sneha Kumar Chakma to Delhi to seek help from the Indian leadership. Sneha Kumar Chakma contacted Sardar Patel by phone. Sardar Patel was willing to help, but insisted Sneha Kumar Chakma to seek assistance from Prime Minister Pandit Nehru. But Nehru refused to help fearing that military conflict for Chittagong Hill Tracts might draw the British back to India.
At the time of partition, the majority of Sindh
's prosperous Upper and middle class was Hindu. The Hindus were mostly concentrated in cities and formed majority of population, Cities included Hyderabad
, and Sukkur
. During the initial months after partition, only some Hindus migrated. However, by Late 1947 and early 1948, the situation began to change. Large numbers of Muslims refugees from India started arriving in Sindh and began to live in crowded refugee camps.
On 6 December 1947, communal violence broke out in Ajmer in India, precipitated by an argument between
some Sindhi Hindu refugees and local Muslims in the Dargah Bazaar. Violence in Ajmer again broke out in the middle of December with stabbings, looting and arson resulting in mostly Muslim casualties.
Many Muslims fled across the Thar Desert to Sindh in Pakistan.
This sparked further anti-Hindu riots in Hyderabad, Sindh
. On 6 January anti-Hindu riots broke out in Karachi, leading to an estimate of 1100 casualties.
The arrival of Sindhi Hindu refugees in North Gujarat's town of Godhra in March 1948 again sparked riots there which led to more emigration of Muslims from Godhra to Pakistan.
These events triggered the large scale of exodus of Hindus.
Estimated 1.2 - 1.4 million Hindus migrated to India primarily by ship or train.
Despite the migration, a significant Sindhi Hindu population still resides in Pakistan's Sindh province, where they number at around 2.3 million as per Pakistan's 1998 census; Some bordering districts in Sindh had a Hindu majority like Tharparkar District
, but there has decreased drastically due to persecution.
Due to brutal nature of the religious persecution of Hindus in Pakistan. Hindus from sindh are still migrating to India.
There was no mass violence in Gujarat as there was in Punjab and Bengal.
However, Gujarat experienced large refugee migrations.
Est. 340,000 Muslims migrated to Pakistan, of which 75% went to Karachi largely due to business interests.
The number of incoming refugees was quite large, with over a million people migrating to Gujarat.
These Hindu refugees were largely Sindhi and Gujarati.
For centuries Delhi had been the capital of the Mughal Empire
from Babur to successors of Aurangzeb and previous Turkic Muslim rulers of North India. The series of Islamic rulers keeping Delhi as a stronghold of their empires left a vast array of Islamic architecture in Delhi, and a strong Islamic culture permeated the city. In 1911, when the British Raj shifted their colonial capital from Calcutta to Delhi, the nature of the city began slightly changing. The core of the city was called ‘Lutyens’ Delhi’ named after the British architect Edwin Lutyens
, and was designed to service the needs of the small, but growing population of the British elite gentry
. Nevertheless, in the 1941 Census listed Delhi's population as being 33.2% Muslim.
As refugees began pouring into Delhi in 1947, the city was ill-equipped to deal with the influx of residents. Refugees "spread themselves out wherever they could. They thronged into camps…colleges, temples, ''gurudwaras
'', military barracks
, and gardens." By 1950, the government began allowing squatters to construct houses in certain portions of the city. As a result, neighborhoods such as Lajpat Nagar
and Patel Nagar
sprung into existence, which carry a distinct Punjabi characteristic to this day. However, as thousands of Hindu and Sikh refugees from Punjab fled to the city this created an atmosphere of upheavals as communal pogrom
s rocked the historical stronghold of Indo-Islamic culture and politics. Pakistani diplomat in Delhi, Hussain, alleged that the Indian government was intent on eliminating Delhi's Muslim population or was indifferent to their fate. He reported that Army troops openly gunned down innocent Muslims.
Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru
estimated 1000 casualties in the city. However, other sources claimed that the casualty rate had been 20 times higher. Gyanendra Pandey
's more recent account of the Delhi violence puts the figure of Muslim casualties in Delhi as being between 20,000 and 25,000.
Tens of thousands of Muslims were driven to refugee camps regardless of their political affiliations, and numerous historical sites in Delhi such as the Purana Qila
, Idgah, and Nizamuddin were transformed into refugee camp
s. In fact, many Hindu and Sikh refugees eventually occupied the abandoned houses of Delhi's Muslim inhabitants. At the culmination of the tensions in Delhi, 330,000 Muslims had migrated to Pakistan. The 1951 Census
registered a drop of the Muslim population in the city from 33.2% in 1941 to 5.3% in 1951.
In several cases, rulers of Princely States
were involved in communal violence or did not do enough to stop in time. Some rulers were away from their states for the summer, such as those of the Sikh states. Some believe that the rulers were whisked away by communal ministers in large part to avoid responsibility for the soon-to-come ethnic cleansing. However, in Bhawalpur
, upon the return of their ruler to the state, there was a marked decrease in violence, and the rulers consequently stood against the cleansing. The Nawab of Bahawalpur was away in Europe and returned on 1 October, shortening his trip. A bitter Hassan Suhrawardy
would write to Mahatma Gandhi
With the exceptions of Jind
, the violence was well organised in the Sikh states, with logistics provided by the durbar
. In Patiala
, the Maharajas responded to the call of Master Tara Singh
to cleanse India of Muslims. The Maharaja of Patiala was offered the headship of a future united Sikh state that would rise from the "ashes of a Punjab civil war." The Maharaja of Faridkot, Harinder Singh, is reported to have listened to stories of the massacres with great interest going so far as to ask for "juicy details" of the carnage. The Maharaja of Bharatpur State
personally witnessed the cleansing of Muslim Meos
at Khumbar and Deeg
. When reproached by Muslims for his actions, Brijendra Singh
retorted by saying: "Why come to me? Go to Jinnah."
communal sentiments extended to higher echelons of government, and the prime ministers of these States were said to have been involved in planning and directly overseeing the cleansing. In Bikaner
, by contrast, the organisation occurred at much lower levels.
Alwar and Bharatpur
, princely states of Rajputana (modern-day Rajasthan), there were bloody confrontation between the dominant, Hindu land-holding community and the Muslim cultivating community.
Well-organised bands of Hindu Jats
s and Gurjar
s, started attacking Muslim Meos
in April 1947. By June, more than fifty Muslim villages had been destroyed. The Muslim League was outraged and demanded that the Viceroy provide Muslim troops. Accusations emerged in June of the involvement of Indian State Forces from Alwar and Bharatpur in the destruction of Muslim villages both inside their states and in British India.
In the wake of unprecedented violent attacks unleashed against them in 1947, 100,000 Muslim Meos from Alwar and Bharatpur were forced to flee their homes, and an estimated 30,000 are said to have been massacred. On 17 November, a column of 80,000 Meo refugees went to Pakistan. However, 10,000 stopped travelling due to the risks.
Jammu and Kashmir
In September–November 1947 in the Jammu
region of the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir
, a large number of Muslims were massacred, and others driven away to West Punjab
. The impetus for this violence was partly due to the "harrowing stories of Muslim atrocities", brought by Hindu and Sikh refugees arriving to Jammu from West Punjab since March 1947. The killings were carried out by extremist Hindu
s and Sikh
s, aided and abetted by the forces of the Dogra
State, headed by the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir Hari Singh
. Observers state that Hari Singh aimed to alter the demographics of the region by eliminating the Muslim population and ensure a Hindu majority.
Resettlement of refugees: 1947–1951
Resettlement in India
According to the 1951 Census of India
, 2% of India's population were refugees (1.3% from West Pakistan
and 0.7% from East Pakistan
). Delhi received the largest number of refugees for a single city – the population of Delhi grew rapidly in 1947 from under 1 million (917,939) to a little less than 2 million (1,744,072) during the period 1941–1951. The refugees were housed in various historical and military locations such as the Purana Qila
, Red Fort
, and military barracks in Kingsway Camp
(around the present Delhi University
). The latter became the site of one of the largest refugee camps in northern India, with more than 35,000 refugees at any given time besides Kurukshetra
camp near Panipat
. The campsites were later converted into permanent housing through extensive building projects undertaken by the Government of India from 1948 onwards. Many housing colonies in Delhi came up around this period, like Lajpat Nagar
, Rajinder Nagar
, Nizamuddin East
, Punjabi Bagh
, Rehgar Pura, Jangpura
, and Kingsway Camp. Several schemes such as the provision of education, employment opportunities, and easy loans to start businesses were provided for the refugees at the all-India level.
Many Sikhs and Hindu Punjabis came from West Punjab
and settled in East Punjab
(which then also included Haryana and Himachal Pradesh) and Delhi. Hindus fleeing from East Pakistan (now Bangladesh
) settled across Eastern India
and Northeastern India
, many ending up in neighbouring Indian states such as West Bengal
, and Tripura
. Some migrants were sent to the Andaman islands
, where Bengalis today form the largest linguistic group.
Sindhi Hindus settled predominantly in Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Rajasthan. Some, however, settled further afield in Madhya Pradesh
. A new township was established for Sindhi Hindu refugees in Maharashtra. The Governor-General of India
, Sir Rajagopalachari, laid the foundation for this township and named it Ulhasnagar
('city of joy').
A settlement consisting largely of Sikhs and Punjabi Hindus
was also founded in Central Mumbai's Sion Koliwada
region, and named Guru Tegh Bahadur Nagar
Resettlement in Pakistan
The 1951 Census of Pakistan recorded that the most significant number of Muslim refugees came from the East Punjab
and nearby Rajputana states
). They were several 5,783,100 and constituted 80.1% of Pakistan's total refugee population.
This was the effect of the retributive ethnic cleansing on both sides of the Punjab where the Muslim population of East Punjab was forcibly expelled like the Hindu/Sikh population in West Punjab
Migration from other regions of India were as follows: Bihar
, West Bengal
, 700,300 or 9.8%; UP and Delhi 464,200 or 6.4%; Gujarat
, 160,400 or 2.2%; Bhopal
95,200 or 1.2%; and Madras
18,000 or 0.2%.
So far as their settlement in Pakistan is concerned, 97.4% of the refugees from East Punjab and its contiguous areas went to West Punjab; 95.9% from Bihar, West Bengal and Orissa to the erstwhile East Pakistan; 95.5% from UP and Delhi to West Pakistan, mainly in Karachi Division
; 97.2% from Bhopal and Hyderabad to West Pakistan
, mainly Karachi
; and 98.9% from Bombay and Gujarat to West Pakistan, largely to Karachi; and 98.9% from Madras and Mysore went to West Pakistan, mainly Karachi.
West Punjab received the largest number of refugees (73.1%), mainly from East Punjab and its contiguous areas. Sindh received the second largest number of refugees, 16.1% of the total migrants, while the Karachi division of Sindh received 8.5% of the total migrant population. East Bengal received the third-largest number of refugees, 699,100, who constituted 9.7% of the total Muslim refugee population in Pakistan. 66.7% of the refugees in East Bengal originated from West Bengal, 14.5% from Bihar and 11.8% from Assam.
NWFP and Baluchistan received the lowest number of migrants. NWFP received 51,100 migrants (0.7% of the migrant population) while Baluchistan received 28,000 (0.4% of the migrant population). The Government undertook a census of refugees in West Punjab in 1948, which displayed their place of origin in India.
A study of the total population inflows and outflows in the districts of Punjab, using the data provided by the 1931
and 1951 Census
has led to an estimate of 1.3 million missing Muslims who left western India but did not reach Pakistan.
The corresponding number of missing Hindus
along the western border is estimated to be approximately 0.8 million.
[Bharadwaj, Prasant; Khwaja, Asim; Mian, Atif (30 August 2008). "The Big March: Migratory Flows after the Partition of India" (PDF). ''Economic & Political Weekly'': 43. Retrieved 16 January 2016]
This puts the total of missing people, due to partition-related migration along the Punjab border, to around 2.2 million.
Another study of the demographic consequences of partition in the Punjab region using the 1931, 1941 and 1951 censuses concluded that between 2.3 and 3.2 million people went missing in the Punjab.
Rehabilitation of women
Both sides promised each other that they would try to restore women abducted and raped during the riots. The Indian government claimed that 33,000 Hindu and Sikh women were abducted, and the Pakistani government claimed that 50,000 Muslim women were abducted during riots. By 1949, there were legal claims that 12,000 women had been recovered in India and 6,000 in Pakistan. By 1954, there were 20,728 Muslim women recovered from India, and 9,032 Hindu and Sikh women recovered from Pakistan. Most of the Hindu and Sikh women refused to go back to India, fearing that their family would never accept them, a fear mirrored by Muslim women.
Even after the 1951 Census, many Muslim families from India continued migrating to Pakistan throughout the 1950s and the early 1960s. According to historian Omar Khalidi
, the Indian Muslim migration to West Pakistan between December 1947 and December 1971 was from U.P., Delhi, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala. The next stage of migration was between 1973 and the 1990s, and the primary destination for these migrants was Karachi and other urban centres in Sindh.
In 1959, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) published a report stating that from 1951 to 1956, a total of 650,000 Muslims from India relocated to West Pakistan.
However, Visaria (1969) raised doubts about the authenticity of the claims about Indian Muslim migration to Pakistan, since the 1961 Census of Pakistan did not corroborate these figures. However, the 1961 Census of Pakistan did incorporate a statement suggesting that there had been a migration of 800,000 people from India to Pakistan throughout the previous decade.
Of those who left for Pakistan, most never came back.
Indian Muslim migration to Pakistan declined drastically in the 1970s, a trend noticed by the Pakistani authorities. In June 1995, Pakistan's interior minister, Naseerullah Babar, informed the National Assembly that between the period of 1973–1994, as many as 800,000 visitors came from India on valid travel documents. Of these only 3,393 stayed.
In a related trend, intermarriages between Indian and Pakistani Muslims have declined sharply. According to a November 1995 statement of Riaz Khokhar, the Pakistani High Commissioner in New Delhi, the number of cross-border marriages has dropped from 40,000 a year in the 1950s and 1960s to barely 300 annually.
In the aftermath of the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, 3,500 Muslim families migrated from the Indian part of the Thar Desert to the Pakistani section of the Thar Desert.
[Hasan, Arif; Mansoor, Raza (2009). ''Migration and Small Towns in Pakistan; Volume 15 of Rural-urban interactions and livelihood strategies are working paper''. IIED. p. 16. .]
400 families were settled in Nagar after the 1965 war and an additional 3000 settled in the Chachro taluka in Sind province of West Pakistan.
[Hasan, Arif (30 December 1987). "Comprehensive assessment of drought and famine in Sind arid ones leading to a realistic short and long-term emergency intervention plan" (PDF). p. 25. Retrieved 12 January 2016.]
The government of Pakistan provided each family with 12 acres of land. According to government records, this land totalled 42,000 acres.
The 1951 census in Pakistan recorded 671,000 refugees in East Pakistan, the majority of which came from West Bengal. The rest were from Bihar
According to the ILO in the period 1951–1956, half a million Indian Muslims migrated to East Pakistan.
By 1961 the numbers reached 850,000. In the aftermath of the riots in Ranchi and Jamshedpur, Biharis continued to migrate to East Pakistan well into the late sixties and added up to around a million. Crude estimates suggest that about 1.5 million Muslims migrated from West Bengal and Bihar to East Bengal in the two decades after partition.
Due to religious persecution in Pakistan, Hindus continue to flee to India. Most of them tend to settle in the state of Rajasthan in India.
According to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan data, just around 1,000 Hindu families fled to India in 2013.
In May 2014, a member of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, revealed in the National Assembly of Pakistan that around 5,000 Hindus are migrating from Pakistan to India every year. Since India is not a signatory to the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention
it refuses to recognise Pakistani Hindu migrants as refugees.
The population in the Tharparkar district in the Sind province of West Pakistan was 80% Hindu and 20% Muslim at the time of independence in 1947. During the Indo-Pakistani wars of 1965 and 1971, the Hindu upper castes and their retainers fled to India, this led to a massive demographic shift in the district.
In 1978 India gave citizenship to 55,000 Pakistanis.
By the time of the 1998 census of Pakistan, Muslims made up 64.4% of the population and Hindus 35.6% of the population in Tharparkar.
The migration of Hindus from East Pakistan to India continued unabated after partition. The 1951 census in India recorded that 2.5 million refugees arrived from East Pakistan, of which 2.1 million migrated to West Bengal while the rest migrated to Assam, Tripura and other states.
These refugees arrived in waves and did not come solely at partition. By 1973 their number reached over 6 million. The following data displays the major waves of refugees from East Pakistan and the incidents which precipitated the migrations:
The partition was a highly controversial arrangement, and remains a cause of much tension on the Indian subcontinent
today. According to American scholar Allen McGrath, many British leaders including the British Viceroy
, Mountbatten, were unhappy over the partition of India. Lord Mountbatten of Burma
had not only been accused of rushing the process through but also is alleged to have influenced the Radcliffe Line
in India's favor.
The commission took longer to decide on a final boundary than on the partition itself. Thus the two nations were granted their independence even before there was a defined boundary between them.
Some critics allege that British haste led to increased cruelties during the partition. Because independence was declared ''prior'' to the actual partition, it was up to the new governments of India and Pakistan to keep public order. No large population movements were contemplated; the plan called for safeguards for minorities on both sides of the new border. It was a task at which both states failed. There was a complete breakdown of law and order; many died in riots, massacre, or just from the hardships of their flight to safety. What ensued was one of the largest population movements in recorded history. According to Richard Symonds
, at the lowest estimate, half a million people perished and twelve million became homeless.
However, many argue that the British were forced to expedite the partition by events on the ground.
[Lawrence J. Butler, 2002, ''Britain and Empire: Adjusting to a Post-Imperial World'', p. 72]
Once in office, Mountbatten quickly became aware that if Britain were to avoid involvement in a civil war, which seemed increasingly likely, there was no alternative to partition and a hasty exit from India.
Law and order had broken down many times before partition, with much bloodshed on both sides. A massive civil war was looming by the time Mountbatten became Viceroy. After the Second World War, Britain had limited resources, perhaps insufficient to the task of keeping order. Another viewpoint is that while Mountbatten may have been too hasty, he had no real options left and achieved the best he could under difficult circumstances. The historian Lawrence James concurs that in 1947 Mountbatten was left with no option but to cut and run. The alternative seemed to be involved in a potentially bloody civil war from which it would be difficult to get out.
Conservative elements in England consider the partition of India to be the moment that the British Empire
ceased to be a world power, following Curzon
's dictum: "the loss of India would mean that Britain drop straight away to a third rate power."
Venkat Dhulipala rejects the idea that the British divide and rule
policy was responsible for partition and elaborates on the perspective that Pakistan was popularly imagined as a sovereign Islamic state or a 'New Medina', as a potential successor to the defunct Turkish caliphate
and as a leader and protector of the entire Islamic world. Islamic scholars debated over creating Pakistan and its potential to become a true Islamic state.
The majority of Barelvis supported the creation of Pakistan and believed that any co-operation with Hindus would be counter productive. Most Deobandis, who were led by Maulana Husain Ahmad Madani, were opposed to the creation of Pakistan
and the two-nation theory. According to them Muslims and Hindus could be a part of a single nation.
In their authoritative study of the partition, Ian Talbot and Gurharpal Singh have shown that the partition was not the inevitable end of the so-called British 'divide and rule policy' nor was it the inevitable end of Hindu-Muslim differences.
A cross-border student initiative, ''The History Project'', was launched in 2014 to explore the differences in perception of the events during the British era, which led to the partition. The project resulted in a book that explains both interpretations of the shared a history in Pakistan and India.
A Berkeley, California
-based non-profit organization, The 1947 Partition Archive
, collects oral histories
from those who lived through the partition and consolidated the interviews into an archive. A 2019 book by Kavita Puri
, ''Partition Voices: Untold British Stories
'', based on the BBC Radio 4
documentary series of the same name, includes interviews with about two dozen people who witnessed partition and subsequently migrated to Britain.
In October 2016, The Arts and Cultural Heritage Trust (TAACHT) of India set up what they describe as "the world’s first Partition Museum" at Town Hall in Amritsar
, Punjab. The Museum, which is open from Tuesday to Sunday, offers multimedia
exhibits and documents that describe both the political process that led to partition and carried it forward, and video and written narratives offered by survivors of the events.
Artistic depictions of the partition
The partition of India and the associated bloody riots inspired many in India
and Pakistan to create literary/cinematic depictions of this event.
While some creations depicted the massacres during the refugee migration, others concentrated on the aftermath of the partition in terms of difficulties faced by the refugees in both side of the border. Even now, more than 70 years after the partition, works of fiction and films are made that relate to the events of partition.
The early members of the Bombay Progressive Artist's Group
cite "The partition" of India and Pakistan as a key reason for its founding in December 1947. Those members included F. N. Souza
, M. F. Husain
, S. H. Raza
, S. K. Bakre
, H. A. Gade
, and K. H. Ara
, who went on to become some of the most important and influential Indian artists of the 20th Century.
Literature describing the human cost of independence and partition includes, among others:
" ('Freedom's Dawn'; 1947), Urdu poem
by Faiz Ahmad Faiz
* "Toba Tek Singh
" (1955), short story by Saadat Hassan Manto
* ''Train to Pakistan
'' (1956) by Khushwant Singh
* ''A Bend in the Ganges
'' (1965) by Manohar Malgonkar
* ''Tamas'' (1974) by Bhisham Sahni
* ''AZADI'' (1975) by Chaman Nahal
, originally written in English and winner of the 1977 Sahitya Akedemi Award
* ''Ice-Candy Man
'' (1988) by Bapsi Sidhwa
* ''Forgotten Atrocities'' (2012), memoir
by Bal K. Gupta
's novel ''Midnight's Children
'' (1980), which won the Booker Prize
and The Best of the Booker
, wove its narrative based on the children born with magical abilities on midnight of 14 August 1947.
''Freedom at Midnight
'' (1975) is a non-fiction work by Larry Collins
and Dominique Lapierre
that chronicled the events surrounding the first Independence Day
celebrations in 1947.
The novel ''Lost Generations'' (2013) by Manjit Sachdeva describes the March 1947 massacre in rural areas of Rawalpindi
by the Muslim League
, followed by massacres on both sides of the new border in August 1947 seen through the eyes of an escaping Sikh
family, their settlement and partial rehabilitation in Delhi, and ending in ruin (including death), for the second time in 1984, at the hands of mobs after a Sikh assassinated the prime minister.
There is a paucity
of films related to the independence and partition.
Early films relating to the circumstances of the independence, partition and the aftermath include:
* ''Lahore'' (1948)
'' (1950, directed by Nemai Ghosh
* ''Bhowani Junction
'' (1956, directed by George Cukor
* Ritwik Ghatak
's Bengali trilogy: ''Meghe Dhaka Tara
'' (1960), ''Komal Gandhar
'' (1961), and ''Subarnarekha
[Raychaudhuri, Anindya. 2009. "Resisting the Resistible: Re-writing Myths of Partition in the Works of Ritwik Ghatak." ''Social Semiotics'' 19(4):469–481. .]
* ''Garm Hava
From the late 1990s onwards, more films on the theme of partition were made, including several mainstream ones, such as:
* ''Train to Pakistan
'' (1998; based on the aforementioned book)
* ''Hey Ram
* ''Gadar: Ek Prem Katha
* ''Khamosh Pani
* ''Viceroy's House
The biographical films ''Gandhi
'' (1982), ''Jinnah
'' (1998) and ''Sardar
'' (1993) also feature independence and partition as significant events in their screenplay. The Pakistani drama ''Daastan
'', based on the novel ''Bano
'', highlights the plight of Muslim girls who were abducted and raped during partition. The partition is also depicted in the historical sports drama
'' (2018), based on events which impacted the Indian national field hockey team
at the time.
The 2013 Google
" advertisement, about the partition of India, has had a strong impact in India and Pakistan, leading to hope for the easing of travel restrictions between the two countries.
The advertisement went viral
and was viewed more than 1.6 million times before officially debuting on television on 15 November 2013.
* History of Bangladesh
* History of India
* History of Pakistan
* History of the Republic of India
* Indian annexation of Goa
* Indian independence movement
* Kashmir conflict
* List of princely states of India
* Pakistan Movement
* Princely states of Pakistan
* The 1947 Partition Archive
References70 Years of the Radcliffe Line: Understanding the Story of Indian Partition
* Ansari, Sarah. 2005. ''Life after Partition: Migration, Community and Strife in Sindh: 1947–1962''. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. 256 pages.
* Ayub, Muhammad (2005). An army, Its Role and Rule: A History of the Pakistan Army from Independence to Kargil, 1947–1999. RoseDog Books. ..
* Butalia, Urvashi
. 1998. ''The Other Side of Silence: Voices from the Partition of India''. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. 308 pages.
* Bhavnani, NanditaThe Making of Exile: Sindhi Hindus and the Partition of India
* Butler, Lawrence J. 2002. ''Britain and Empire: Adjusting to a Post-Imperial World''. London: I.B.Tauris. 256 pages.
* Chakrabarty; Bidyut. 2004. ''The Partition of Bengal and Assam: Contour of Freedom'' (RoutledgeCurzon, 2004online edition
* Chatterji, Joya. 2002. ''Bengal Divided: Hindu Communalism and Partition, 1932—1947''. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press. 323 pages. .
* Chester, Lucy P. 2009Borders and Conflict in South Asia: The Radcliffe Boundary Commission and the Partition of Punjab.
Manchester University Press. .
* Daiya, Kavita. 2008. ''Violent Belongings: Partition, Gender, and National Culture in Postcolonial India''. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. 274 pages. .
* Dhulipala, Venkat. 2015. Creating a New Medina: State Power, Islam, and the Quest for Pakistan in Late Colonial North India
'. Cambridge University Press.
* Gilmartin, David. 1988. ''Empire and Islam: Punjab and the Making of Pakistan''. Berkeley: University of California Press. 258 pages. .
* Gossman, Partricia. 1999. ''Riots and Victims: Violence and the Construction of Communal Identity Among Bengali Muslims, 1905–1947''. Westview Press. 224 pages.
* Hansen, Anders Bjørn. 2004. "Partition and Genocide: Manifestation of Violence in Punjab 1937–1947", India Research Press. .
* Harris, Kenneth. ''Attlee'' (1982) pp 355–87
* Herman, Arthur. ''Gandhi & Churchill: The Epic Rivalry that Destroyed an Empire and Forged Our Age'' (2009)
, S. M. 1995. ''Indian Muslims and Partition of India''. Delhi: Atlantic.
* Kaur, Ravinder. 2007. "Since 1947: Partition Narratives among Punjabi Migrants of Delhi". Oxford University Press. .
* Khosla, G. D. ''Stern reckoning : a survey of the events leading up to and following the partition of India'' New Delhi: Oxford University Press:358 pages Published: February 1990
* Mookerjea-Leonard, Debali. (2017). ''Literature, Gender, and the Trauma of Partition: The Paradox of Independence'' London and New York: Routledge. .
* Moon, Penderel. (1999). ''The British Conquest and Dominion of India'' (2 vol. 1256 pp)
* Moore, R.J. (1983). ''Escape from Empire: The Attlee Government and the Indian Problem'', the standard history of the British position
* Nair, Neeti. (2010) ''Changing Homelands: Hindu Politics and the Partition of India''
* Page, David, Anita Inder Singh, Penderel Moon, G. D. Khosla, and Mushirul Hasan. 2001. ''The Partition Omnibus: Prelude to Partition/the Origins of the Partition of India 1936–1947/Divide and Quit/Stern Reckoning''. Oxford University Press.
* Pal, Anadish Kumar. 2010. ''World Guide to the Partition of INDIA''. Kindle Edition: Amazon Digital Services. 282 KB.
* Pandey, Gyanendra. 2002. ''Remembering Partition:: Violence, Nationalism and History in India''. Cambridge University Press. 232 pages.online edition
* Panigrahi; D.N. 2004. ''India's Partition: The Story of Imperialism in Retreat'' London: Routledgeonline edition
* Raja, Masood Ashraf
. Constructing Pakistan: Foundational Texts and the Rise of Muslim National Identity, 1857–1947, Oxford 2010,
* Raza, Hashim S. 1989. ''Mountbatten and the partition of India''. New Delhi: Atlantic.
* Shaikh, Farzana. 1989. ''Community and Consensus in Islam: Muslim Representation in Colonial India, 1860–1947''. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. 272 pages. .
* Singh, Jaswant. (2011) ''Jinnah: India, Partition, Independence''
* Talib, Gurbachan Singh, & Shromaṇī Guraduārā Prabandhaka Kameṭī. (1950). Muslim League attack on Sikhs and Hindus in the Punjab, 1947. Amritsar: Shiromani Gurdwara Parbankhak Committee.
* Talbot, Ian. 1996. ''Freedom's Cry: The Popular Dimension in the Pakistan Movement and Partition Experience in North-West India''. Oxford University Press. .
* Talbot, Ian and Gurharpal Singh (eds). 1999. ''Region and Partition: Bengal, Punjab and the Partition of the Subcontinent''. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. 420 pages. .
* Talbot, Ian. 2002. ''Khizr Tiwana: The Punjab Unionist Party and the Partition of India''. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. 216 pages. .
* Talbot, Ian. 2006. ''Divided Cities: Partition and Its Aftermath in Lahore and Amritsar''. Oxford and Karachi: Oxford University Press. 350 pages. .
* Wolpert, Stanley. 2006. ''Shameful Flight: The Last Years of the British Empire in India''. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. 272 pages. .
* Wolpert, Stanley. 1984. ''Jinnah of Pakistan''
* Brass, Paul. 2003The partition of India and retributive genocide in the Punjab,1946–47: means, methods, and purposes
''Journal of Genocide Research'' (2003), 5#1, 71–101
* Gupta, Bal K. "Death of Mahatma Gandhi and Alibeg Prisoners" www.dailyexcelsior.com
* Gupta, Bal K. "Train from Pakistan" www.nripulse.com
* Gupta, Bal K. "November 25, 1947, Pakisatni Invasion of Mirpur". www.dailyexcelsior.com
* Kaur, Ravinder. 2009'Distinctive Citizenship: Refugees, Subjects and Postcolonial State in India's Partition'
Cultural and Social History.
* Kaur, Ravinder. 2008'Narrative Absence: An 'untouchable' account of India's Partition Migration
Contributions to Indian Sociology.
* Kaur Ravinder. 2007"India and Pakistan: Partition Lessons"
* Kaur, Ravinder. 2006"The Last Journey: Social Class in the Partition of India"
Economic and Political Weekly, June 2006. epw.org.in
* Khalidi, Omar (1998-01-01).From Torrent to Trickle: Indian Muslim Migration to Pakistan, 1947–97
. Islamic Studies. 37 (3): 339–352.
* Chopra, R. M., "The Punjab And Bengal", Calcutta, 1999.
; Primary sources
* Mansergh, Nicholas, and Penderel Moon, eds. ''The Transfer of Power 1942–47'' (12 vol., London: HMSO . 1970–83) comprehensive collection of British official and private documents
* Moon, Penderel. (1998) ''Divide & Quit''
* Narendra Singh Sarila, "The Shadow of the Great Game: The Untold Story of India's Partition," Publisher: Carroll & Graf
* Collins, Larry and Dominique Lapierre: ''Freedom at Midnight''. London: Collins, 1975.
* Seshadri, H. V. (2013). The tragic story of partition. Bangalore: Sahitya Sindhu Prakashana, 2013.
* Zubrzycki, John. (2006) ''The Last Nizam: An Indian Prince in the Australian Outback''. Pan Macmillan, Australia. .
; Memoirs and oral history:
* Bonney, Richard; Hyde, Colin; Martin, John. "Legacy of Partition, 1947–2009: Creating New Archives from the Memories of Leicestershire People," ''Midland History,'' (Sept 2011), Vol. 36 Issue 2, pp 215–224
* Mountbatten, Pamela. (2009) ''India Remembered: A Personal Account of the Mountbattens During the Transfer of Power''
* Mohammed, Javed: ''Walk to Freedom'', Rumi Bookstore, 2006.
1947 Partition ArchivePartition of Bengal
– Encyclopædia Britannica
India Memory Project – 1947 India Pakistan PartitionThe Road to Partition 1939–1947 – The National ArchivesIndian Independence Bill, 1947India's Partition: The Forgotten Story British film-maker Gurinder Chadha, directors of Bend It Like Beckham and Viceroy's House, travels from Southall to Delhi and Shimla to find out about the Partition of India – one of the most seismic events of the 20th century. Partition saw India divided into two new nations – Independent India and Pakistan. The split led to violence, disruption, and death.
* ttps://digital.soas.ac.uk/oa3 India: A People Partitioned oral history interviews by Andrew Whitehead, 1992-2007
Select Research Bibliography on the Partition of India
Compiled by Vinay Lal, Department of History, UCLA; University of California at Los Angeles
South Asian History: Colonial India
– University of California, Berkeley
Collection of documents on colonial India, Independence, and Partition
– Fordham University
archive of relevant public-domain documents
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