Site hosted by Build your free website today!
Context Overview page 3 page 4 page 5 Image Map
Context | Overview | Page 3 | Page 4 | Page 5
Click on a flame above to navigate to another page

The partition of India was a part of South Asian history where there was a big divide within the people of the Indian sub continent based on religion. During the nineteenth century in colonial India (which covered the Indian sub-continent) Hindu elites were gaining increasing amount of power. Muslims were underrepresented in politics. In response to this, Muslim led reforms. The British responded to this in fear of Muslim discontent and in hopes to put a calm to the rising Hindu elites. After allying with land-owning Muslim elites, the British granted Muslim electorates in local governments . Wanting more power for Muslim peoples, Muslims began demanding for own land where they could practice politics that was complimentary to their own religion. They did so in the early twentieth century by localizing their influence in areas with strong Muslim populations that shared the views of India being two nations.

                This was the background to which Mohammad Ali Jinnah came be the father of Pakistan. Previously, he had worked with the Indian congress to gain rights for the Muslim minorities. But with tensions rising between Indian Hindus and Muslims, he left Indian Congress and became the leader of the All Indian Muslim League. With this, he implemented religion as a strategy to unify all Muslims of India, who differed from each other due to “regional and local loyalties, language, occupation, and economic standing , under one common belief. His demands for a vague Pakistan allowed for free interpretation for whosoever. Jinnah’s definition of Pakistan meant that there would be power for Muslims within India . For everyone else, Pakistan came to mean a new state separate from India that was defined by being Muslim.

                The sub-continent of India before the Partition was an extremely diverse land where Sikhs, Hindus, and Muslims lived in co-existence among one another. There was no one side of the country that was a designated region for a particular group. Instead, there were areas that were predominately a particular group, with the other groups living as a minority in that region. Since the call of Pakistan, a near state that was defined by the religion of Islam, meant that there was a designated region for Muslims to live within, there was a great move to accommodate this new creation. Suddenly millions of people were forced to leave home. India was newly defined as Hindu (with Sikh minority) and Pakistan was newly defined as Muslim. The creation of these two new states neglected the fact that, regardless of religion, there were people who spoke different languages, had different socio-economic backgrounds, who were now being forced to move out of their homes to establish a new state. With this move of people, violence out broke.  The new drawn lines that defined these newly found nation-states were drawn with the blood of its people.

Rotting bodies in a narrow street

"At the lowest estimate, half a million people perished and twelve million became homeless"
-Richard Symonds

['The Making of Pakistan', London, p 74 - 1950]
BOTThis page is best viewed with Mozilla Firefox 3.5.6! [with Ad Block Plus add-on] Fire Fox