5 important causes for the partition of India

Hindus made up about two-thirds of the 400 million populations, and the rest were mostly Muslims.

Muslim leader like M.A. Jinnah succeeded in influencing majority of the Muslims and generated a fear that an independent India would be dominated by Hindus. Jinnah, demanded a separate Muslim State of Pakistan, and adopted the slogan ‘Pakistan or Perish’.

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2. Provincial Elections (1937):

After phenomenal success of Indian National Congress in the 1937 elections the communal parties felt insecure about their mass base and played the communal card and generated fear amongst its community and capitalized upon the events that took place.

3. Compromise attempts failed:

One to one talk to arrive at a compromise was taken up by nationalist leaders like Gandhiji.

Apart from this attempt to draw up a compromise solution acceptable to both Hindus and Muslims was made by government.

All such attempts failed because of obstinate and unyielding approach of Jinnah. The British proposed a federal scheme in which the central government would have only limited powers, while those of the provincial governments would be much greater.

This would enable provinces with a Muslim majority to control their own affairs and there would be no need for a separate State. Both sides accepted the idea in principle but failed to agree on the details.

4. Violence broke out in August 1946:

This happened when the Viceroy Lord Wavell, invited the Congress, to form an interim government, still hoping that details could be worked out later.

Nehru formed a cabinet, which included two Muslims, but Jinnah was convinced that the Hindus could not be trusted to treat the Muslims fairly.

He called for a day of ‘direct action’ in support of a separate Pakistan. Fierce rioting followed in Calcutta, where 5,000 people were killed, and it soon spread to Bengal where Muslims set about slaughtering Hindus. As Hindus retaliated, the country seemed on the verge of civil war.

5. Mountbatten decides on partition:

British government announced early in 1947 that they would leave India no later than June 1948.

Louis Mountbatten was sent as the new Viceroy, and he soon decided that partition was the only way to avoid civil war.

He realized that there would probably be bloodshed whatever solution was tried, but felt that partition would produce less violence than if Britain tried to insist on the Muslims remaining part of India.

Within a short time Mountbatten had worked out a plan for dividing the country up and for the British withdrawal.

This was accepted by Nehru and Jinnah, although Gandhjii, was still hoping for a united India. Afraid that delay would cause more violence, Mountbatten brought the date for British withdrawal forward to August 1947.