Lecture 15 text-only version - History 20 Lecture 15 A Case...

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History 20 Lecture 15 A Case Study of Decolonization: The Partition of British India After WWII, the issue of what would become of former colonized territories was a major issue facing the world. How would these territories be handled? If they were released from colonial control, what would the conditions of the release be like? Who would oversee these processes? How would they be regulated? British India was one of the first “test cases” of what became known as “decolonization.” The history of resistance to British rule in earlier decades set the stage for the process of decolonization. The results of decolonization were unanticipated and controversial. They were riddled with episodes of violence. II. Recalling Gandhi Mohandas Gandhi had been at the forefront of a movement of resistance against the British in the 1920s and 1930s. Gandhi’s style was one of peaceful resistance to colonial rule; it was based on spiritual ideals and values. Nonetheless, violence sometimes erupted even in the midst of Gandhi’s activities. The Salt March of 1930 is a good example. Even though the march was designed to be peaceful, the marchers were assaulted by colonial police when they refused to disburse, and Gandhi was jailed. Gandhi’s legacy was one of organizing a mass movement against colonialism. But he could not overcome the problems inherent in the colonial substructure that had combined people of many ethnicities and religions in a single “state”; Hindus were the majority religious group but Muslims and Sikhs were also present in large numbers (as well as other religious minorities)…and there were 14 major languages from two unrelated language families.
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