CANDI 19 AUGUST 2021
Problems faced during Partition of India
GS 1 – History
It is estimated that two million Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs died in targeted
murders and the tens of millions who were displaced in British India during
the months before Independence.
There is no national memorial for the millions murdered, sexually
violated, and displaced during Partition. School textbooks only note the
killings; they do not remember them.
Independent India’s aim was to build a nation of communal harmony.
Yet it was the opposite that happened. In the absence of collective
remembrance, people’s memories of the mass violence became easy fodder
for the members of communal hatred.
A string of violent events took hundreds of lives each time from Jabalpur
(1961) to Ahmedabad (1969), Jamshedpur (1979), Moradabad (1980),
Bhiwandi (1984), the Rath Yatra killings of 1989, Bhagalpur (1989), the
Babri Masjid demolition violence of 1992-93, Bombay (1993); the list is
endless extending to Gujarat (2002) and beyond.
The new residence of the Prime Minister, proposed as part of the Central
Vista Redevelopment Project, can be converted into a museum that
remembers the millions of people of all communities who were killed or were
forced to flee their homes 75 years ago.
Provisions of the Mountbatten Plan
British India was to be partitioned into two dominions – India and Pakistan.
The constitution framed by the Constituent Assembly would not be
applicable to the Muslim-majority areas (as these would become
Pakistan). The question of a separate constituent assembly for the Muslimmajority areas would be decided by these provinces.
As per the plan, the legislative assemblies of Bengal and Punjab met and
voted for the partition. Accordingly, it was decided to partition these
two provinces along religious lines.
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The legislative assembly of Sindh would decide whether to join the Indian
constituent assembly or not. It decided to go to Pakistan.
A referendum was to be held on NWFP (North-Western Frontier Province) to
decide which dominion to join. NWFP decided to join Pakistan while Khan
Abdul Gaffar Khan boycotted and rejected the referendum.
The date for the transfer of power was to be August 15, 1947.
To fix the international boundaries between the two countries, the Boundary
Commission was established chaired by Sir Cyril Radcliffe. The
commission was to demarcate Bengal and Punjab into the two new
The princely states were given the choice to either remain independent or
accede to India or Pakistan. The British suzerainty over these kingdoms was
The British monarch would no longer use the title ‘Emperor of India’.
After the dominions were created, the British Parliament could not enact any
law in the territories of the new dominions.
Until the time the new constitutions came into existence, the GovernorGeneral would assent any law passed by the constituent assemblies of the
dominions in His Majesty’s name. The Governor-General was made a
On the midnight of 14th and 15th August 1947, the dominions of Pakistan and
India respectively came into existence. Lord Mountbatten was appointed the
first Governor-General of independent India and M .A. Jinnah became the
Governor-General of Pakistan.
The Legacy of the Partition of India
The Partition was and continues to remain a highly controversial
arrangement along with being a cause of much tension in the Indian
subcontinent today. It is widely believed that Lord Mountbatten rushed the
partition process along with having influenced the Radcliff Line to
favour India. The two countries were granted independence long before
the boundary commission decided on the final borders between India
Historians argue that it was British haste for a less violent exit that led to
the atrocities during the Partition. Because independence was granted much
earlier by the partition, it fell upon the shoulders of India and Pakistan to
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maintain law and order. No large population movements were contemplated
despite plans to protect minorities on both sides of the border. It was a task
at which both states failed. There was a complete breakdown of law and
order; many died in riots, massacres, or just from the hardships of their
flight to safety. What ensued was one of the largest population
movements in recorded history.
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
Source: THE HINDU