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.
"At the lowest estimate, half a million people perished and twelve
million became homeless"
Making of Pakistan', London, p 74 - 1950]