India - Independence and Partition

  • Created by: lwilson23
  • Created on: 15-02-19 12:11

The Cabinet Mission

- the Atlantic Charter meant that all countries had the right to self-determination - Churchill said this didn't apply to India. SOS Leo Amery and PM Clement Attlee were both pro-India - Churchill alone in his imperialist views. 

- Labour get into power on 26 July 1945 - INC happy. Attlee formed the Indian Committee - headed by Cripps who was besties with Nehru, the INC pres. Muslims cast aside as INC and the Labour party had a much better relationship. Cripps held elections to try and get INC in power again. 

- in 1946 - INC won the majority (58%) compared to ML (27%) - INC dominated again despite dropping out of government at the outbreak of WWII and the ML's continuous support. 

- the 1946 Cabinet Mission didn't want partition, but were not adverse to the idea of separate Muslim states within a united India. Unification their key aim. 

- The CM met with the INC and ML in Simla again in early May 1946 - with the proposition of a Hindu heartland peppered with Muslim-dominated provinces. Kept India united, but meant that the Muslims could 'break away' from the INC if they started to dominate once again. 

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The May Statement and Great Calcutta Killings

- the CM also proposed a fall-back proposition of the creation of two seperate states - Hindustan and Pakistan. 

- this May Statement was rejected by INC but accepted by Jinnah - with the CM then growing frustrated and announcing the formation of an Interim Government - Indians and Viceroy. The INC wanted to choose all members but Jinnah wanted to pick the Muslim ones - led to disagreement and the collapse of this government before it had begun as the Viceroy chose all members. This caused the INC to go back on themselves and then accept the May Statement. 

- this really angered Jinnah, and he called for a Day of Direct Action on 16th August 1946 (Great Calcutta Killings) where the police took a hoilday and the Muslims went around beating and killing Hindus (20,000 Hindu casualties). Muslim hartal. Wavell sympathised with the Muslim cause. 

- the Interim Government was then sworn in on 2nd September 1946 to quell unrest, with Nehru as India's PM. Wavell persuaded Jinnah to join the government against his wishes. 

- Wavell was then replaced by Lord Mountbatten in January of 1947 - no political experience and had never been to India.  

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Partition of Pakistan

- Mountbatten given instructions not to parition India - if INC and ML couldn't agree power was to be devolved to the princeley states. Mountbatten went into the INC's pocket. Mountbatten started to see partition as the only option due to religious tension. 

- two plans for partition were made:

  • Plan Balkan - allowed princeley states and British Indian Provinces to control their own future - but divide made this impossible - British ineptitude shown. 
  • The Menon Plan - Boundary Commission made up of Muslims, Hindus and led by Sir Cyril Radcliffe (British) formed to separate Pakistan from India. Outdated maps used and bribes taken by officials - given only five weeks to perform such an important task. British ineptitude again - V.P. Menon was the Indian person the plan was named after. 

- given such a short time due to unrest with militant Sikhs in the Punjab - risk of Civil War

- partition was a bit of a botched job - 1-3 million Indians died in transit, division wasn't always fair (as seen with Kashmir which remains extremely contested to this day). Despite Radcliffe's impartiality, he had corrupt advisers and poor materials. 

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Issues with Partition and Independence Granted

- Mountbatten was easily persuaded by the INC to change the divisions set out by Radcliffe - seen in the case of Firozpur, a city that was well within Pakistan but was given to India because Nehru complained. Mountbatten didn't like Jinnah and believed Pakistan wouldn't last. 

- Raj assets were divided unequally - 82.5% for India, 17.5% for Pakistan. The Princeley States were also told to pick a side despite Conrad Corfield (British Civil Servant) saying they could govern themselves. Public services had to be dismantled and reassembled. 

- Gandhi saw partition as a loss of a unified India, retreated from political scene in 1945 and then was assassinated on 30th January 1948 by a fanatical Hindu as he didn't think Gandhi got Hindus what he promised them. Jinnah died on 11 September of the same year after seeing his dream of partition become a reality in August of 1947

- Nehru remained PM of India until his death in 1964. Independence for India was granted on 15th August, 1947 - but Britain still had control in some areas (tea industry etc.). Pakistan was in a state of unrest and still is a tension-filled hotbed to this day.

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