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Partition-A nation divided

Partition-A nation divided - 1 Shashi Patel Mr Hans Dahl...

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Shashi Patel Mr. Hans Dahl Eng 102 - 009 5/12/2007 [email protected] Partition: A Nation Divided “People die and the fact of killing, though painful, does not upset me. But what does upset one is the complete degradation of human nature and, even more, the attempt to find justification for this” (Hasan 51). These are the words of the first Prime Minister of Independent India Jawaharlal Nehru. The breeze of freedom hadn’t even taken the winds yet, and the smell of blood roamed the streets of India and Pakistan. The spate of communal violence forced millions of people to leave their birthplace and take up residence across the border. However, thousands of women would be raped, hundreds of thousands of children would lose the shelter of a parent, and around a million of the migrants would not make it across the border lines. The British began to establish their power in eastern India in the mid-eighteenth century, and by the early part of the nineteenth century they were rulings over a vast area of India. Now India was under Crown control and the first major revolts against the British government began in 1857 – 58. Even though it was crushed by the British Empire, the revolt was a beginning of a triumph that takes 90 years to be completed. The revolt and its aftermath ignited the political awareness among the Indian people of the abuses of British government (Oldenburg 5). This growing consciousness found a way of expression when the Indian National Congress was established with few highly educated citizens of India who were supported by sympathetic Englishmen. The Congress served as a forum for debate on questions of British policy toward India, as well as a platform to 1
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push for economic and social changes. It wasn’t long before the Indian National Congress started shaking things up for the British. This progress would be taken as a threat by few Muslim extremists, since there was no significant Muslim representation in the party at the time. Soon, then Viceroy Curzon put his master plan into action to weaken the Nationalist opposition, by dividing the Bengal region into a Muslim majority East Bengal and Assam, and a Hindu majority Bengal, Bihar and Orissa (Oldenburg 6). In October 1906 a delegation of about 35 Muslim leaders asked the British for separate electorates and weighed proportion of legislative representation. Soon in December they with the help of other Muslim leaders formed the All-India Muslim League. In 1939, World War II broke out and the British government declared war on India’s behalf without consulting any of the Indian leaders. The Indian National Congress protested the decision while the Muslim League showed its full support towards it. The first gap between the Congress and the Muslim league formed and thereafter it only kept growing and growing. Congress also made several mistakes in their policies which 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. One
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Partition-A nation divided - 1 Shashi Patel Mr Hans Dahl...

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