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What were the causes of Indian Independencein 1947, and was partition inevitable?

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Introduction

What were the causes of Indian Independence in 1947, and was partition inevitable? In 1947 India was declared an independent country from Britain, after years of peaceful and violent protests, pressure from all sides, and numerous promises. Not only this, but Pakistan was also formed by partitioning the country into two, providing a separate homeland for the Muslims of India. Although independence was greeting with relief from all, partition came with riots, millions of murders and hatred between countries that has not healed up even by today. The word "inevitable" in the essay title implies something which was almost 'destined' to happen from the beginning, and the course of action could not be averted under any circumstances. In this essay I will divide up the causes of independence and partition into long term, medium term and short term. These key points will be discussed and compared in relevance to the question, on which causes were important towards the contribution of independence and partition. Perhaps the longest term cause relating to partition was the Mughal Empire. It was in 1526 that the Mughal leader Babar, a Muslim, invaded the Hindu majority India. This was a minority of invaders ruling over a majority, and continued through Akbar's reign from 1556 to 1605 and finished with Aurangzeb, who died in 1707. By this time about a third of people in India were Muslim. Mughal emperors maintained a strict cohesion to fundamental Islam and also believed that all non Muslims should convert or be put to death. This first meeting between Hindus and Muslims was not a happy one; the thousands of murders that the foundation of their relationship lay on meant religious tension for hundreds of years afterwards, even seen today in the hatred between Hindus and Muslims. This can be put down primarily to the harsh treatment of Hindus and Sikhs by Emperor Aurangzeb, despite the fact he made attempts to reconcile, especially towards the Sikhs, in the last few days of his life. ...read more.

Middle

This meant that a huge crowd later gathered in the Jallianwala Bagh for religious speeches. Without warning Dyer took his men into the small, enclosed space and fired over a thousand rounds, killing and wounding over 1,500 people over the course of 10 minutes of firing. After this event Dyer was relieved of his duty, but given a sword in honour naming him "saviour of the Punjab". Many British people also contributed towards a pension fund for him. For India however, this was the point at which, if it had not been inevitable before, freedom from British rule was wanted unanimously by almost all the country. Nationalism sprung up in all corners and was far stronger than before, as not only had the British shown their oppression, but they had also murdered hundreds of innocents of a religious day. Widespread violence and hatred against the British broke out, and the Michael O' Dwyer was assassinated by Shaheed Udham Singh who said "he crushed my country so I crushed him" shortly before being hung. At this point there can be no doubt, that if Independence had not been inevitable before this, it was inevitable now. It was during this time that Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi become prominent as a leader of the movement known as Civil Disobedience Campaign for Swaraj (home rule). He was educated in Britain and returned to India by the age of 45. This began around 1919 as Gandhi became more influential in Congress and advocated ahisma, or non violence. Campaigns took place in the form of hartals, where there would be a nationwide strike of fasting, bringing the country to a halt as no communications or services were available. Although effective in theory in practise they would sometimes get out of hand and violent, such as in 1922. However in 1919 hartals were called on 30th March and 6th April to help overturn the Rowlatt acts and push for independence. ...read more.

Conclusion

However even after these events there was still not peace in the region. India invaded and annexed Kashmir and hold onto it up till this day, and Pakistan lost the 1971 war as it broke out. Even after this there were strong tensions between Pakistan and India, although those with the British have subsided. However, India is among the top 30 most corrupt countries in the world today, and extremely recently it had been found that money given to those for the Gujarat Earthquake appeal by SEWA International have been funding nationalistic Hindu groups in India who have been attacking Muslims, Sikhs and Christians in India in an attempt to make India a completely Hindu state. Even in India today many human rights abuses go on as the country struggles to come to terms with its land being split in two. In conclusion, while independence was inevitable over two decade before the actual declaration, perhaps beginning around the time of the 1919 Amritsar massacre, due to the hatred that the Indians then bore for the British, partition only became a possibility when Jinnah announced it 7 years earlier, and in fact partition could have been avoided if both sides, the Hindus and Muslims were less stubborn and hard line. It could be said that some sort of split between Hindus and Muslims was inevitable since the Mughal Empire; there has always been hatred between the two groups, going on for centuries. As mentioned before, neither sides had been accommodating to other ideas and it may have been for this reason the country was brutally split into two. For this reason I believe that although Partition itself was not inevitable up until a few years before, during WW2 when the Muslims gained the favour of the British, the prospect of some sort of split between Hindu and Muslim was inevitable from hundreds of years beforehand. Indian Independence however, was a much more viable prospect much earlier, as the British were not subtle in their exploitation of the Indians, and roles of individuals such as Gandhi brought the country united against the British. ...read more.

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