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Why India’s Partition?:LET’S GET OUR HISTORY RIGHT, by P K Nigam,21 August 2009 Print E-mail

Open Forum

New Delhi, 21 August 2009

Why India’s Partition?


By P K Nigam

(Author of book, “Reflections on the History of World in 20th Century”)

Common impression in India and the world is that Atlee and the Labour Party were good and wanted to give India independence after WW II, but due to differences among Indian leaders, they had to divide the country. This belief is based on the British version and is totally false.  History books in the UK, the US, and even in India are based on this description. The truth is England did NOT want its raj to end, particularly Atlee, Cripps, the Labour Party and Churchill. Thus, it propagated this version to hide the guilt. One million Indians died and 12 million forced to migrate due to the British plan to partition India.

This false version of history is very injurious to India. It is time we learn our true history, so we can defend ourselves and not repeat mistakes. Independence was not due to the goodwill of England but due to balance of military force. Very few people understand the truth because of their lack of knowledge of geo-politics. Even most leaders were and are ignorant, e.g. Maulana Azad, now Jaswant Singh, Advani and Sudhir Ghosh, who acted as Gandhiji’s emissary for negotiations with the Labour Government for transfer of power during 1945-47.

To understand 1946-48 history, it is necessary to know a few ideas. Mao said that political power comes from the barrel of a gun. This has always been true in the past, is true today, and will be in future. Idealism has no place in politics, which concerns power – how to get it and use it. An imperial power rules by the policy of “divide and rule”. Previously, it ruled the subject country directly and exploited it, but as this became unpopular, imperialism changed its form into neo-imperialism. Divide and rule thus became “divide and dominate.”

Gandhiji used to describe the British policy of divide and rule as monkey justice from an Aesop’s fable.  It was about two cats fighting for the just division of a loaf of bread who went to a monkey for the needful. The latter deliberately kept dividing the bread into unequal pieces so that the cats would object. The two did, and in the end found that the monkey had eaten all the bread while pretending to divide it equally.

On December 21, 1945, when Viceroy Wavell went to London, he met labour Minister Ernest Bevin on December 21, 1945. He writes that Bevin like everyone else hated the idea of leaving India, but had no alternative to suggest. He, however, said that the US was much worried about India and did not want England to leave it. Wavell replied that the US had changed its policy, now they could hardly expect British to face another Palestine in India, because it suited American commercial interest that Britain should remain in India. Clearly, the British and even the US did not want the raj to end.   

There were many reasons put together why Britain had to give India independence. Gandhi’s Satyagraha movements in the ‘20s and ‘30s, the widespread Quit India movement in 1942, formation of the Indian National Army by Subhas Chandra Bose, trial of INA officers, the mutiny, sending of Indian army to Indo-China and Indonesia to take surrender for Japan, expansion of Indian army to 2.5 lakhs to fight expected Japanese invasion of India etc made Wavell realise that he could not trust the Indian Army’s loyalty and that England could not rule India militarily.

Moreover, England had become very weak economically and militarily after the war. A year after it’s declaration of war against Germany in 1939, it found it had spent most of its gold and dollar reserves and had to depend on the US for money and arms to carry on the war. Hence, Wavell made a blue print of Pakistan in December 1945 and sent it to Secretary of State for India in a secret letter, which has now been made public. It reveals that partition was necessary to protect British interests in Asia and NOT Muslim interests as believed in India and Pakistan. The aim was to protect Near East from Soviet expansion to the Indian Ocean and the oil wells there. The English had been working on the creation of Pakistan since 1888.

A Cabinet Delegation was sent to India in March 1946 ostensibly to help Indians become free, but actually to make them agree to Partition. To further the aim, the English made Jinnah start communal riots to prove that Hindus and Muslims cannot live together and the country must be divided. By now, though the British were powerless to control India, they had enough authority to create trouble before leaving. To defeat the Congress’ demand for a free united India, England threatened to leave India in more than 500 pieces, if it didn’t agree to Partition. . 

Sardar Patel had become in-charge of Home in the provisional government in September 1946. He read all secret government papers and found how the British were planning to make India weak before leaving, and decided it was better to accept India in two parts rather than over 500. In December 1946, he made V.P. Menon make a blue print of partition, which was different from Wavell’s partition plan. It was this plan, which was ultimately adopted in August 1947. Patel talked to Nehru, but the latter said that Gandhiji would never agree.  

Gandhiji had realized the harm to India from partition and declared it would take place over his dead body. He was even willing to have a civil war to prevent it. Patel told Nehru he would make Gandhiji agree. Both went to him and spelt out Patel’s idea. Gandhiji asked them if they had become afraid due to loss of lives in the raging communal riots. The two replied in the negative, but facts had to be faced. And that it would be better to accept partition. Gandhiji agreed to partition on condition that it would be a partition between two brothers.

 However, the wily English defeated Gandhiji’s wish by creating the Kashmir problem so that the two nations would keep fighting. Later in November 1947, Patel explained the logic for the acceptance. He said that with Partition 80 % of India would be free and would develop economically and militarily and then take the other 20%.

Partition took place on August 14-15, 1947. All top civil and military officers were British in Pakistan. They made a plan for Pakistan to attack Kashmir, which had not decided which Dominion to accede. This made the Maharaja and the National Conference to seek India’s help. After accepting accession, the Indian army was sent to prevent the Pakistani invaders from occupying Kashmir. During the fighting, Mountbatten asked Congress leaders not to attack Pakistan but to complain to the UN. Gandhiji, Nehru and Patel were against this, but later Nehru had to agree as Britain put the pressure by reducing supply of arms and petrol to India. As expected, the UN, dominated by the US and England did not declare Pakistan as an aggressor, but appointed a mediator (i.e. justice monkey). Pakistan was never declared an aggressor and continues to occupy parts of Kashmir.

To say that Jinnah created Pakistan is a joke. Jinnah had no gun to get political power. Jinnah was ignorant and he allowed the British to use him to divide the country. Later, just before his death he realized his mistake and wanted India and Pakistan to unite. Jinnah may be called second Mir Jafar. ---INFA

 (Copyright, India News and Feature Alliance)

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