Reality Of Mistakes
The partition of British India in August 1947 not only created two new independent nations, India and Pakistan, but also resulted in one of the greatest forced migrations in human history. At least 12.5 million frightened people, displaced from their ancestral homes, fled across newly delineated borders depending upon their faiths. Hindus and Sikhs exited from lands demarcated as “Muslim” Pakistan into the “new” India, while Muslims departed Hindu-dominated India into the new state called Pakistan (West and East). Indeed, the Partition of India and Pakistan, a decision made by lawmakers far from the front-lines, unleashed an episode of brutal depravity that might be unmatched in recent history.
The Partition of India ranks, beyond a doubt, as one of the greatest tragedies in human history. It was not inevitable. India’s independence was inevitable; but preservation of its unity was a prize that, in our plural society, required high statesmanship. That was in short supply. A mix of other reasons deprived us of that prize – personal hubris, miscalculation, and narrowness of outlook.
While Mohammed Ali Jinnah and the Muslim League bear heavy responsibility – since they demanded and pressed for Pakistan – the Congress cannot escape blame. Congress made several mistakes in their policies that further convinced the League that it was impossible to live in an undivided India after freedom from colonial rule because their interests would be completely suppressed. The Muslim League gained power also due to the Congress. The Congress banned any support for the British during the Second World War. However the Muslim League pledged its full support, which found favour from the British.The Civil Disobedience Movement and the consequent withdrawal of the Congress party from politics also helped the league gain power, as they formed strong ministries in the provinces that had large Muslim populations. Also, Congress’ rejection of the interim government set up under the Cabinet Mission Plan in 1942 convinced the leaders of the Muslim League that compromise was impossible and partition was the only course to take.
The partition of India and the agonies associated with it are still alive in the memory of millions of people. Although the India- Pakistan partition took place nearly seven decades ago, it is still lingering reality. It is the indifferent attitude of leaders of both the Congress and the Muslim League that resulted in bifurcating the country. This is well made out from the writings of the leaders of the time. This indifference continued even after 1947. Kashmir got divided and became perpetual bone of contention. Sending terrorist across the border is Pakistan’s spasmodic habit. Training Indian extremists in violence is its dedicated, continual process. The author affirms that many an unpleasant development would have been avoided had the leaders understood the issues properly and mobilized support from the Indian populace. But the leadership was cynical and failed in understanding the gravity of the situation. Personal interests and egos ruled the roost. However, a few lay Indians know how the partition took place. What was the need for it? Who played the spoilsport in creating Pakistan? Jinnah proposed, Gandhi disposed… thus India divided, for the better understanding of the readers, reproduces the views of Jinnah, Gandhi, Ambedkar , Rajendra Prasad and G. D. Khosla in this context. This book is a sincere attempt to portray the actual developments that had taken place associated with the independence of the country and a few afterward results. The Indian government under Nehru failed in resolving many an issue, paving the way for numerous post- independence challenges that are still continuing. Thus this book will enable readers in grasping the realities of the partition in its absolute sense.
By Nilabh Krishna