No partition of India

johnincornwall

Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
7,860
Cornwall
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.
Really?
 

notgivenaway

Ad Honorem
Jun 2015
5,787
UK
there were tensions since Akbar's time. He was a Muslim, right? What about the killing of Buddhists millennia ago? I don't think India ever has been homogeneous.
 
Aug 2015
26
India
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.
Are you saying that Sikhs and Hindus living in Punjab and Sindh had nothing to do with Hindus living outside it before 1840? And that they were forced to join India? What is India for you btw? What is the basis of Pakistan? Pakistan was created for Muslims of India and not for Sindhis or Punjabis. Stop spreading disinformation. Hindus and Sikhs did migrate from Sindh, Punjab and other areas of what is known as Pakistan today. India is a civilization.
 
May 2015
1,061
The Netherlands
Thanks for the input everyone!

Couldn't the Hindu-Muslim divide have been overcome by creating a more decentralized federal model for India with more regional autonomy and less focus on one strong national identity? Wouldn't this have prevented the emergence of two competing national identities, which at least in the case of the Muslims didn't exist before in that way. Would it have helped if there were less Muslims in India (let's say if the Pashtun and Baloch areas were lost to Afghanistan after a disastrous WW1 and Third Anglo-Afghan War)?

Also, why did the unionist parties in Punjab and Sindh - who could have averted partition - lose the big support that they once had?
 
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Naomasa298

Forum Staff
Apr 2010
35,475
T'Republic of Yorkshire
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.
When I look at what goes on in threads involving India on this site, I have grave doubts about this.
 
Jan 2016
1,637
India
The forced centralised rule of British caused a significant decrease in regionalism and ethno-linguistic nationalism. Revolutionaries from Bengal were easily becoming popular in Kanpur and Chennai. But the tensions between Hindus & Muslims were ever increasing. And if somehow in a hypothetical scenario, the British managed to keep India as their imperial province, they would have probably tried to use Hindu-Muslim conflict to the greatest extent. The longer they had ruled, the bloodier would have been the partition. A partition was inevitable. A country with 60% Hindus and 35% Muslims can not be a stable & peaceful country, period.
This, however does not mean that India is not a cultural unit. It is as much a cultural unit as Europe. The only divide, which was responsible for partition, is the Hindu-Muslim divide, and it does not have anything to do with great Indian diversity. Republic of India is as much diverse as the united Indian subcontinent would have been, and it has been running better than expected. If all people of Pakistan and Bengal reject their Islamic faith, and then Indian subcontinent is united under one state, it will run as smoothly as Republic of India is.
BTW I dont support the idea of united and centralised Indian subcontinent. I rather prefer a confederacy of some 10 nation-states divided on the basis of language, culture and ethnicity. A united Indian subcontinent in it's present form is not rulable or realistic as a centralised state, and the only reason is Islam. A Dharmic Subcontinent would be pretty much managable.
Thanks for the input everyone!

Couldn't the Hindu-Muslim divide have been overcome by creating a more decentralized federal model for India with more regional autonomy and less focus on one strong national identity? Wouldn't this have prevented the emergence of two competing national identities, which at least in the case of the Muslims didn't exist before in that way. Would it have helped if there were less Muslims in India (let's say if the Pashtun and Baloch areas were lost to Afghanistan after a disastrous WW1 and Third Anglo-Afghan War)?

Also, why did the unionist parties in Punjab and Sindh - who could have averted partition - lose the big support that they once had?
Decentralised India would have resulted in secession struggles from different states. The autonomous states would keep demanding more autonomy and power, and it would also have defeated the purpose of keeping India united. With less emphasis on one strong Indian identity, the autonomous states would have seen no point in staying in the Indian union. A decentralised united India without any partition would have also increased the pace of Islamisation significantly, especially in the North.
 
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