Skip to main content

Indian Partition - The Forgotten Question

The Partition of India was a terrible catastrophe. There is no doubt about that. Millions were killed, displaced, thousands were raped, orphaned etc. All this was done in a space of a few months. Mobs frantically killed each other for life, religion, property, identity, revenge and any other reason they could then think of. Even since the call for Direct Action, there was no doubt about a serious religious conflict. What followed was an eventual ethnic cleansing of parts of India of non Muslims and Muslims. How it happened, what happened, how trains full of dead bodies piled up on each side of new borders is well known. Hundreds of books have been written, research over decades have been published. We know all that.

The basic idea of it all was simple - Jinnah believed Hindus and Muslims are two separate nations and the latter should have a distinct political entity for themselves, based on Islam, their faith. To identify this they had to prove one thing. That the All India Muslim League had the support of the majority of Muslims. This was largely possible because of a genius policy - one of separate electorates. This concept has been carried over to modern Republic of India, possibly ushering in countless more conflicts in the present and near future. But that's another story for another time.
1946 - 'The Great Calcutta Killings'. Bengal was under AIML rule at that point of time.

The Indian National Congress claimed itself to be representative of all Indians, regardless of faith. The 1937 Indian elections showed some good results (for Congress). Under Jawaharlal Nehru, the INC won 707 seats and the AIML won only 106 seats. [1] [2] Naturally, the Congress was bullish and felt that the Muslims were sufficiently in their favor to continue the trend. The provincial results can be obtained from the Wiki page.

In the last decade, since the Pakistan Resolution or Lahore Resolution, slogans of Vande Mataram and Jai Hind were being made to make way for ones like 'Chin ke lengay Pakistan', 'Lekay rahengay Pakistan' etc. Of course, I wish not to mention the more anti Hindu ones in this case, but the rabidly honest communal-ization of politics was pretty much well underway.

Then came the 1946 elections. AIML fought with a single agenda - that of Pakistan and INC fought on Independence with Unity. This was just after the conclusion of the Second World War. The British were anxious to get out without losing face. To appeal to the Muslims (obvious appeasement), Maulana Abul Kalam Azad was the Party President for INC and Jinnah for AIML. Here was what the results came out to be.

923 seats went to the INC and only 425 went to the AIML. INC got 58+% of the vote share. In contrast BJP today rules India with a combined share (with NDA) of about 39%. Besides most of present day India, INC won NWFP (currently Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and FATA in Pakistan) while the AIML won Bengal and Sindh.

So you may wonder - this was a clear defeat, was it not?

Not so fast. In reality, the AIML never wanted to win the election. They fought on the plank of Islam and a separate nation for those following it. And they proved their point - that they alone overwhelmingly represented Indian Muslims. [3]

The fact remains that the vast vast majority of Indian Muslims voted for a separate country (in excess of 74.75%) [4]

Which brings me to the question - I have saved it for the last.

Let us assume that 70%+ Muslims (an absolute majority of Muslims) vote for Pakistan, breaking India. Even then, Muslims comprised only 24% of the total Indian population.

What did the Hindus, the Sikhs, the Buddhists, the Parsis, and others have to say in the matter? It is obvious that the entire non Muslim population overwhelmingly voted for the Indian National Congress and other non sectarian parties. Why was this majority vote totally ignored? Did the voice of the Muslims count much much more than the rest of India's population?

I am not sure if the question is genuine or just rhetorical.

Update: I am not exactly against the Partition. I consider myself a realist. The Partition was inevitable, the industrial scale riots could possible have been minimized. But that is another story all together.

Sources -
[1] Joseph E. Schwartzberg. "Schwartzberg Atlas". A Historical Atlas of South Asia. Retrieved 2012-04-05.
[2] Reeves, P. D. (1971). "Changing Patterns of Political Alignment in the General Elections to the United Provinces Legislative Assembly, 1937 and 1946". Modern Asian Studies. 5 (2): 111–142
[3] Nadeem Paracha, Dawn, "The Election That Created Pakistan", http://www.dawn.com/news/1105473/the-election-that-created-pakistan - Retrieved 2014-05-11
[4] Ramchandra Guha, India After Gandhi: The History of the World's Largest Democracy

Popular posts from this blog

Sri Sri & Homosexuality – Another media hit job in the making

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar (henceforth named as Mr. Shankar) is not new to controversy. Not even with topics like homosexuality. What the event wasAt an event in the Jawaharlal Nehru University, Ravi Shankar gave a talk on the occasion of the Nehru Memorial lecture on 13th November, 2017. One among the audience lamented that he was ill-treated since he was known to be a homosexual. Then Mr. Shankar stated that he needed to accept himself as he was and love knew no boundaries. Let’s see and hear what he said…Let’s quote Mr. Shankar verbatim as reported by some of the newspapers.
You treat yourself better, doesn’t matter how others treat you. You don’t think you are sick or something’s wrong with you. If you stand up, nobody can insult you… But if you feel weak and meek, and if you feel bad about yourself, nobody can make you feel better.’ Indian Express reported this in addition as well. Let me quote it directly here as well.
This is your tendency now. Just acknowledge it and accept it, and kno…

Once again in Mirik

This is a guest post by my mother, Lily Ray Gangopadhyay.

Once again in Mirik after 17 years, I felt very nostalgic because when we used to visit this place, my sons were little kids. Mirik is one of my favorite places. In 17 years it has obviously changed a lot, but still it remains sparsely populated,little crowded and a clean place.



Dad striking a pose (caption by Sarthak) Since this hill station is not at very high altitude one can enjoy a very comfortable stay here and the roads are very inviting.The lake is the main attraction of this place, the Buddha monastery,view point are very nice. I was lucky that the weather was so clear that Mt. Kanchenjunga was clearly seen all the time. Just for a restful walking around the lake, sitting on the grass and gazing at the bushes of pine and fur trees and the peaks of the Himalayas, this is my most preferred destination.











How to go>> one can take a taxi , share taxi or bus from NJP station,Siliguri bus stand or Bugdogra airport.It is l…

The Sound of Cooking

Professional videos should look good. That is obviously the conventional wisdom. And there is nothing particularly wrong with that either.

But there is something we tend to miss often.

Professional videos should have even better sound.

Of course, one can excuse him/herself by stating that their videos are not meant to be of a great quality.
But here's the problem.

If you are shooting and sharing with friends and family, that is one thing. But if you wish to create a channel and you actually CAN do your stuff properly - you should take care about the metadata. YouTube channel owners should ideally consider their work as semi professional - especially if they ask for subscribers and likes in the video.

Let's assume we (the audience) know that you know about your thing. Say you are a cook, as in the video below. The cooking skills are good, the location is nice, the camera angles are standard, the animations are good and video quality crisp. But what really lets the video down i…