How important was World War II in causing British India to be partitioned in 1947?

Jun 2014
4,516
India
Such a generous concession! :lol:

The fact is that Britain was simply not in control of events at the time, gratifying though it may be for us to be credited with such Machievellian ingenuity.
I agree but then left academia both in Britain and India says otherwise.
 
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tornada

Ad Honoris
Mar 2013
15,385
India
The idea that cunning British created Pakistan to thwart India looks good initially but it suggests as if they forced partition on Indians which is plain wrong. Kindest of imperialists want to see their subjects remaining in a state of disunity so there was nothing unusual about it, infact Mountbatten played a good role( considering that he was from ruling race over 'beastly people') in preventing Punjab and Bengal to be given entirely to Pakistan and also in integration of states to Indian Union.

Ofcourse, a India including modern day Pakistan and Bangladesh was and is still not in interests of any nation of this world among great powers, not for Britain, not for US, not for USSR and certainly not for China so once the issue came to surface, British were more than jubilant( anyone who is not living in illusion would be) and provided all kind of patronage to Communists and Muslim League.
No, the British did not manufacture the partition out of nowhere. But it was a movement that suited their needs, and one which they fostered to ensure its viability. The fact that the idea had local support doesn't negate British participation in the matter. The British had a range of options available - they chose the ones which they felt would best suit their long term strategic interests. And their partition of other nations as well, as well as their participation in the creation of opposing polities in many regions points to the fact that they nurtured such movements for a very specific goal
 

tornada

Ad Honoris
Mar 2013
15,385
India
I agree but then left academia both in Britain and India says otherwise.
I doubt its an idea limited merely to the left. Its been remarked upon by many people. It is true that towards the end the British lost control over the situation. The manner of partition demonstrates that. This is where WWII played a role. But it is equally inaccurate to say that they were totally helpless and swept along. They weren't. They had quite a bit of control during the era of the War itself, and even later had enormous ability influence outcomes. The idea that the British were helpless to me has always sounded like the revisionism of lack of control which seeks to absolve the British of culpability. Its not my assertion that the British are solely to blame for the various events. It was a complex political scenario, and there are many parties involved. But the British were an active party in the entire series of events, and not mere observers or political lightweights in these matters
 
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Jun 2014
4,516
India
No, the British did not manufacture the partition out of nowhere. But it was a movement that suited their needs, and one which they fostered to ensure its viability. The fact that the idea had local support doesn't negate British participation in the matter. The British had a range of options available - they chose the ones which they felt would best suit their long term strategic interests. And their partition of other nations as well, as well as their participation in the creation of opposing polities in many regions points to the fact that they nurtured such movements for a very specific goal
Ofcourse it suited their needs as it would have been for any other imperial power and as it suits everyone today but as I said, the partition would have happened even without British concessions as there is no evidence that they forced it on Congress, Congress leaders accepted it for reasons which had very little to do with British. as I said, Mountbatten did play a good role in preventing modern day Indian Punjab and West Bengal from being handed over to Pakistan.
 

Bart Dale

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
7,095
I don't think its a concession. The British were Imperialist and exploitative but they weren't exactly maniacal butchers. The Partition violence was needless, and despite British geo-politics I doubt mindless violence and bloodletting was something they liked. British reactions to the violence of Partition and even other forms of genocidal violence like the Holocaust and the Nanking Massacre tells me that they were genuinely appalled by such events. I'm not sure why that should be a big deal. There's enough to vilify the British Empire without having to fabricate material.
There was violence between Hindus and Muslims long before the British arrived in India, and contrary to the lies being told, the Hindus and Muslims were killing each other on their own during Partition, no one forced them to kill each other, the Hindus and India did that on their own. . The British might have: handled things better, but the fact remains Indians were doing the killing, and the majority of blame lies with indians themsleves. Yet I don't see Indians taking on any significant responsibility for the own actions. Which is why massacres like Gujarat will continue to happen in the ffeature on

As for Partiton, it if the Indias and Pakistinians thought it a terrible idea, nothing is preventing them from undoing it themsevlves. Yet it hasn't been done. When Bangledash split from Pakistan, I didn't see India make any effort to get Bangledesh to join India, why not? Was Bangledesh too poor? As Kashmir demonstrates, if the British hadn't partitioned India, those areas who have revolted anyways, and still would have wound up as a separate country
 

tornada

Ad Honoris
Mar 2013
15,385
India
There was violence between Hindus and Muslims long before the British arrived in India, and contrary to the lies being told, the Hindus and Muslims were killing each other on their own during Partition, no one forced them to kill each other, the Hindus and India did that on their own. . The British might have: handled things better, but the fact remains Indians were doing the killing, and the majority of blame lies with indians themsleves. Yet I don't see Indians taking on any significant responsibility for the own actions. Which is why massacres like Gujarat will continue to happen in the ffeature on

As for Partiton, it if the Indias and Pakistinians thought it a terrible idea, nothing is preventing them from undoing it themsevlves. Yet it hasn't been done. When Bangledash split from Pakistan, I didn't see India make any effort to get Bangledesh to join India, why not? Was Bangledesh too poor? As Kashmir demonstrates, if the British hadn't partitioned India, those areas who have revolted anyways, and still would have wound up as a separate country
What lies are you talking about? I'm not arguing the violence was orchestrated by the British.

As to Partition, the fact that we disagree doesn't now give us the right to undo the sovereignty of other countries. Supposing modern day British citizens decided that they wanted to disagree with handover of Calais. Does that give Britain the right to annex parts of France then?

India wasn't interested in expanding its borders. What is it with you and hating Indians?
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
21,980
SoCal
No, it was not Britain's wish that India should be partitioned, that came about as a result of political pressures in the subcontinent itself, accompanied by inter-communal violence that Britain lacked the power to control, hence the putting forward of the date for the transfer of power; the historical record is entirely clear. Indirectly the WW2 was of course very important in leading to partition, but it was nothing to do with Britain wanting to reward Muslims for support during the war.
I've got a question, though--didn't the pro-separation Muslim League only gain a lot of support among Muslims in British India during and after World War II?
 

Jinit

Ad Honorem
Jun 2012
5,274
India
Pakistan was born in 712, by 1940s it became an adult that could bully others. Partition was not forced on Indians, even without World War, existence of Pakistan was inevitable.
Well "Pakistan was born in 712" are fine romanticized arguments (although without it partition wouldn't have occurred at all), however as far as 1947 partition is concerned the events leading to it, lie in the near past and not in the distant past. It is the 1905 Bengal partition on communal scale that sow the seeds of the partition. Bengali population especially Bengali Hindus were politically very aggressive as far as British rule is concerned. And although Bengal was very large province that needed to be divided, division could have been achieved by transferring Odissa, Bihar, Assam etc to the other provinces. However Lord Curzon played a master stroke and declared to divide mainland Bengal on the basis of religious lines which removed the influence of Bengali Hindus not only from East Bengal but infact put them into minority even in west Bengal by clumping it with Bihar and Odissa. (IIRC the idea of separate electorate for Hindus and Muslims was also Curzon's brainchild) Ofcourse the move was vigorously opposed by Hindus along with some Muslim who had perceived it as the scheme to decrease their overall political influence however by most of the Muslims it was perceived as rejection of their rights by elite Hindus. Muslim league was born at the same time. And ultimately more or less 40 years later the same partition was replicated on much larger scale.

However Britain would still have tried to keep the India united (United India spanning subcontinent would have made much better legacy for the British rule rather than divided subcontinent eternally engaged in conflict) , however by the time WWII came to an end the entire scenario changed. Communist Russia was now perceived as threat. Muslim crescent was now the best option to hold the Russian expansion towards middle east and south Asia rather than India being ruled by leaders like Nehru whose Socialist affections were well known.
 
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Jinit

Ad Honorem
Jun 2012
5,274
India
I've got a question, though--didn't the pro-separation Muslim League only gain a lot of support among Muslims in British India during and after World War II?
Although the question isn't directed towards me, I would like to add that from the 1857 onward the Muslims were totally neglected by the colonial rulers. (Muslim elites were held responsible for the 1857 rebellion by the British at that time). It is only in 1905 that they suddenly started talking about betterment of Muslims and so on. Muslim league was basically used to counter the Indian national congress. Not to mention that most of the influential leaders of INC were in jail at a time when Muslim league gained considerable support among the Muslims.
 

SSDD

Ad Honorem
Aug 2014
3,900
India
British at last wanted India to remain united all though some ultra-right wing officials wanted partition, how ever the monster they were feeding since decades by Divide and Rule Policy and Reservation to weaken India's freedom movement, it became so powerful that they could not control it at last.

WW2 perhaps can be said important as during it prominent Hindu leaders either went to jail or hiding as they wanted to liberate India from British, it created a vacuum in leadership in India, Muslim League leaders used this opportunity to increase their influence as much as possible.

Ajanbahu is basically correct that Pakistan was created in 712 CE or perhaps correct term is it's basis, later this basis expanded because of rigidity in Indian society and Hindu kings's unrealistic attitude.
 
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