No partition of India

May 2015
1,061
The Netherlands
What would have been needed historically for British India to remain an unpartitioned state after independence? For instance, could prolonged British rule have resulted in a more unified and inclusive India?

Oh, and please keep the discussion civilized.
 
Last edited:

notgivenaway

Ad Honorem
Jun 2015
5,787
UK
the end of colonialism was inevitable at the end of the 19th century in a way. Once Marxism, anti-racism, and the two world wars set in, and the economic rise of the USA, colonialism wasn't tenable. British India if anything was a small example of the forces in all other British and wider European colonies. Gandhi is just the most known independence fighter, but he wasn't the only one.

The UK never have much chance of keeping India intact, nor keeping it at all. Clement Attlee knew this, Churchill did, and essentially colonialism's end was inevitable. de Gaulle did too, despite continuing the Vietnam war, as he ended hostilities in Algeria. The UK was in no shape to maintain a united India per the colonial borders, or even ensure the Princely states were kept in line. WWII made it bankrupt, and this all but hastened indepedence in the coming decades after 1945. It did for all the European empires, the only ones who didn't fold immediately were Spain and Portugal (I guess Salazar needed a tropical gateway...I guess Franco did too...)

Even in India alone now (post-1947 sovereign) there are tensions between Hindus and Muslims, so it was best they divided. Hostilites would be far worse if they were all one country, India, Bangladesh and Pakistan...haha..no. We'd have seen worse than Muslims getting killed for eating beef, or the 1971 war, or a divided Kashmir.
 
Last edited:

Devdas

Ad Honorem
Apr 2015
5,019
India
What would have been needed historically for British India to remain an unpartitioned state after independence? For instance, could prolonged British rule have resulted in a more unified and inclusive India?

Oh, and please keep the discussion civilized.
To keep India united, Congress had to agree to all the whim and fancies of Muhammad Ali Jinnah. An unpartitioned India would have been much like a fractured country like Lebanon is today due to communal electorate system introduced by British which was here to stay had British not partitioned India.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Futurist

Space Shark

Ad Honorem
Mar 2012
3,474
Redneck Country, AKA Texas
What would have been needed historically for British India to remain an unpartitioned state after independence? For instance, could prolonged British rule have resulted in a more unified and inclusive India?

Oh, and please keep the discussion civilized.
Probably not going to happen, considering how the British put numerous ethnic and cultural groups into one big colony. The best I could see happening would be an India that barely stays together for a few years and then Balkanizes afterwards, with ensuing wars.
 
Feb 2015
2,038
UK
What would have been needed historically for British India to remain an unpartitioned state after independence? For instance, could prolonged British rule have resulted in a more unified and inclusive India?

Oh, and please keep the discussion civilized.
What is so obvious is often overlooked. So it is with India. The name "India" has been around since antiquity. However along the way it has meant many things. The closest generic meaning you can attribute to it is that it referred to geographic space. It is as loose a concept as Asia has been along the timeline. To begin with it meant the far coast of the Aegean. Then Anatolia, then over time expanded to cover Japan. Today I find American's equating "Asia" with far eastern people.

So India is to be taken as a geographic tag like Balkans or even Europe as it is almost as large as Europe but with more diversity - ethnic, language familes and religion. From Tibeto-Burmans, to Iranics, to Indo-Europeans, to Dravidian, to Austro-Aboriginal, it has all them.

Below map of South Asia




Being unified has been exception than a rule. Even that unity was externally imposed. I always liken to how bunch of slaves coralled togather into a ship must have felt. Would that group be "unified"? Yes by external force. The only common thing about them will be they all share a master. As soon as they get freedom from that master they go their way. Naturally they might form some links whilst they are confined togather. Europe by comparison to South Asia is model of homogeneity.

To say India was partitioned suggests a unnatural event. This could not be farther from the truth. Partition was a small step back to the status quo that existed before the British came along. In unified was unnatural because it had come about through the ample use of bayonet, bullet against the "natives" by the British who did not want to be unified into India. Partition was blowback to pre British India and thus natural state of affairs minus external force.

I will demonstrate my point by looking at what is Pakistan now and how it was "attached" to British India in 1840s. THe opposite of this happened in 1940s when it was "detached" or as people say partitioned. In a sense 1940s was undoing of the British "attaching" of 1840s. The main differance is the attaching in 1840s was accomplished by British bullets, blood spilled both of natives and British where the natives expressed their desire to not wanting to join British India. They succumbed to it by British imperial force.

However the so called partition of 1947 was elective ( the natives choose ) and in doing so were erasing the forced conscription of their lands into British India in 1840s. The examples I give here also apply to rest of South Asia but I cover this because of my personal interest and knowledge of.



The conquest of Punjab - Battle of Gujrat 1849. 96 British dead. 2000 Punjabi/Afghans dead.

Source > Battle of Gujrat | Second Sikh War | Britannica.com







The forced conscription of Sindh - Battle of Miani 1843. 40 British dead. Possibly 2000 native Sindhi/Balochi dead.

Source > Battle of Miani | Sind-British conflict | Britannica.com












Therefore the 1947 "partition" (elective) merely reversed the 1849 unification (forced) yet I often see people finding the elective partition to be running against nature but the British imposed union of 1849 to be seen as natural.

The bottom line is British had united a entire sub continent by using ample force which the natives had resisted tooth and nail. In creating a British India was expression of British power. As soon as that waned the sub continent went the way it has always been for the greater time of recorded history. A disjointed, hotch potch of peoples often at war with each other and as often joining outsiders to beat their fellow sub continentals.

Therefore a state of order constructed by outside power could not last for long and as we know it did not. Had the British stayed on for longer the results would have been same.

I always find it rather funny and ironic how South Asian's sometimes in moments of loving exuberance say "British divide and rule". That is lie based on another lie. They ignore that to "divide" requires unity in the first place. They overlook who did the uniting. Battle of Gujrat 1849 or Battle of Miani 1843 are examples of unification being rendered by the British Empire.

The partition of 1947 undid both battles, Miani and Gujrat of 1849. Sindh and most of Punjab went their own way into a federation called Pakistan.

If the British had not done this in 1840s then speculating, I would say we would today have two independant states on the Indus River. Sindh and Punjab of sorts.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Zip

kandal

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
2,840
USA
What would have been needed historically for British India to remain an unpartitioned state after independence? For instance, could prolonged British rule have resulted in a more unified and inclusive India?

Oh, and please keep the discussion civilized.
Islam is the ONLY reason why India was partitioned. If the Muslims population had remained below 15%, India would not have been partitioned, but that was not the case.

Given the current and historic volatile culture of the Islamic world, it was a good thing that India was partitioned, so it could progress on without a Muslim problem, though India is a little smaller.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: hansolo
Feb 2015
2,038
UK
Islam is the ONLY reason why India was partitioned. If the Muslims population had remained below 15%, India would not have been partitioned, but that was not the case.

Given the current and historic volatile culture of the Islamic world, it was a good thing that India was partitioned, so it could progress on without a Muslim problem, though India is a little smaller.
Well you can certainly thank the adherents of the two Abrahamic faiths - Christianity and Islam. The former in the shape of British soldiers forcefully unified South Asia in 1840s (fair few giving up their lives at the alter of unification) and the latter electively separated it in 1940s. I think this below sums it up nicely. Which is more significant gun or the ballot box?

Unification - 1840s




Separation -1947


 
Last edited:
Apr 2012
1,683
India
What would have been needed historically for British India to remain an unpartitioned state after independence? For instance, could prolonged British rule have resulted in a more unified and inclusive India?

Oh, and please keep the discussion civilized.
No Islam, No partition. Period.

A unified India outside British rule would have descended into a civil war; A unified India under British rule would have descended into a civil war dragging Britishers and Soviets into it.

Actually a prolonged British rule would have made things even worst.Britishers , at least until it become clear that India could not be held, supported Muslims as Indian freedom movement was driven by Hindus and to some extent Sikhs. Idea of Pakistan originated in 1930s and was formulated in 1941. If India would have become independent in late 1920's then there would have been no partition, but there would have been a civil war later on.

If Britishers would not have arrived in India,most of India would have remained a unified country. While Britishers left India with 530 princely states, most of those states came into existence as a payment for services rendered to Britain (Beneras for battle of Buxar, J&K for fighting against sikhs).Britishers took over India from Maratha empire, which ruled most of India.Though it is not proper to speculate about what could happened in alternate universe due to butterfly effect, but in absence of British, there could have been two scenarios:

1. Maratha empire keep on expanding until checked by geographical boundaries of India: Indian ocean in south, Himalayas in East and North and Hindukush mountain range in West. In This case India would have undergone a reconquista and Muslims problem of India would have been solved by conversion, killing, or expulsion of Muslims from India to West of Hindukush.

2. Maratha empire would have disintegrated or defeated. In this situation, either India would have been divided into small states, or a new empire may have arose to replace them.
 
Last edited:
Apr 2012
1,683
India
Probably not going to happen, considering how the British put numerous ethnic and cultural groups into one big colony. The best I could see happening would be an India that barely stays together for a few years and then Balkanizes afterwards, with ensuing wars.
Well India today contain all those ethnic and cultural groups minus Muslims and it has not only not Balkanized but is also stronger than many Western European states. That disproves your theory.

Once the obvious troublemaker (Muslims) were reduced in number, there was no strong divisive tendencies left.

Hinduism ,even after being an polytheistic, unorganized and apolitical religion, has bound India together better than a monotheistic, organized, political and violence prone religion of Islam has bound Pakistan, even though there is very little cultural and ethnic diversity in Pakistan.
 
Last edited:

Devdas

Ad Honorem
Apr 2015
5,019
India
Probably not going to happen, considering how the British put numerous ethnic and cultural groups into one big colony. The best I could see happening would be an India that barely stays together for a few years and then Balkanizes afterwards, with ensuing wars.
Ethnic and cultural diversity was never a issue in India when people share a historical sense of nationalistic identity(aka Bharata varsha), it easily overrides cultural and ethnic differences. Partition happened because there was a Muslim majority areas in Indus region and delta of Ganges-Brahmaputra who didn't want to live under a Hindu majority country. Indian identity is stronger than the once existing between a Austrian and a German or a Egyptian Arab and an Arab from Saudi.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Futurist