What is the partition of India ?

Partition is one of the most widely recounted events ever to have occurred in the history of modern India. It refers to the impulsive and arbitrary act of dividing British India as it was then known into two distinct states, namely India and Pakistan.


Partition was ordained by the British under the Indian Independence Act of 1947.The primary motive was the creation of a new state based on the sole criteria of religious demographics.


The split in the ideology of the two major political bodies of the time, the Congress and the Muslim League resulted in an intensification of the demand for Partition; the British government eventually succumbed to the pressure and hastily promulgated an Act which would lead to the creation of Pakistan.


Deep rooted resentment and malice led to the eruption of spontaneous acts of brutal violence which culminated in the horrific religious riots of 1947.


Never in India’s rich, diverse and glorious history had such apocalyptic brutality been witnessed amongst the members of two previously harmonious communities. The trauma associated with the actual incident is still etched in the collective consciousness of those who lived through it, approximately 14.5 million people were displaced by Partition and the ensuing riots, and countless others lost their lives.


The tangible division between the two newly established dominions was carried out in accordance with what has come to be known as the Mountbatten plan. Its primary objective was to demarcate the boundaries of the two parts of the Punjab, on the basis of ascertaining the contiguous majority areas of Muslims and Non-Muslims; in doing so it was assumed to have accounted and provided for any other eventualities that had been deemed to occur.


Thus, Partition was the visible manifestation of the British policy of ‘divide and conquer’. It goes down in annals of history as an event that was regrettable in terms of its execution, but almost inevitable in view of the volatile political situation of the time.