30 Aug 2022
GS Paper 1
Day 51: How far Jinnah was responsible for the partition of India. Discuss. (250 Words)
- Introduce the topic by briefing the background of partition.
- Critically examine Jinnah's role and the circumstances for the partition.
- Give a fair conclusion.
The unity of the Indian people allowed them to attain their freedom. Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, and other notable leaders of the Independence movement. Despite having such a strong sense of oneness, it is difficult to pinpoint what went wrong when India was split into Hindustan and Pakistan. The division of India and Pakistan is credited mostly to Mohammad Ali Jinnah.
Jinnah’s Entry in Politics:
Jinnah entered politics for the first time in India in 1906. He initially went to an Indian National Congress meeting while serving as Dadabhai Naoroji's secretary. In 1906, the All-India Muslim League was founded. Jinnah was uninterested in the idea of separate electorates that Morley Minto offered to Muslims in 1909. Jinnah joined the Muslim League in 1913.
Jinnah is referred to as an advocate for Hindu-Muslim cooperation by certain academics. It is claimed that only because of Jinnah's efforts did the Muslim League and the Congress begin holding joint meetings. This was done primarily to encourage involvement and mutual dialogue. In 1915, Bombay was the location of the sessions of the Muslim League and Congress. They got together again in Lucknow in 1916, the same year that the infamous Poona Pact was signed. Both groups agreed on constitutional reform as per the conditions of the pact, and it became their united demand from the British government. Under British control, when Muslims had a distinct electorate, Congress was opposed.
Changing Events By 1919:
By 1919, politics in India had begun to change. This was mostly due to Mahatma Gandhi holding a prominent role. Gandhi supported the khilafat movement, which pleased Muslims. Gandhiji sought the whole populace's support for his nonviolent non-cooperation movement. This blending of politics and religion did not sit well with Jinnah. His guiding principle was that politics and religion should not coexist. Gandhiji's action made Jinnah feel uneasy. Jinnah criticized Gandhi in the open. He did not endorse Gandhi's non-cooperation movement. He was of the view that this movement would lead to complete disorganization and chaos. Hindu revivalist movements that sparked animosity and rioting between Hindus and Muslims evolved after the non-cooperation movement's failure.
Jinnah wished to bring together the different Muslim leaders who had split apart inside the Muslim League. Mohammad Ali Jinnah's endeavor was largely successful. By 1935, a large number of Muslim leaders had both rejoined Muslim League and left the Indian National Congress. It might be claimed that 1937 marked the beginning of the true hostility and conflict between Hindus and Muslims. It became abundantly obvious in 1937 that neither the Muslim League nor the Indian National Congress were prepared to work with each other's. In places with a mix of religions, the Indian National Congress immediately rejects to work with the Muslim League.
Demand of Pakistan as a separate nation:
- Finally, something that shouldn't have occurred happened for the first time in Indian history. At the Lahore session in 1940, Jinnah demanded the creation of Pakistan as a distinct nation.
- On May 16, 1946, the British Cabinet Mission proposed that, in order to prevent the partition of the country, an interim government comprised of representatives from the Muslim League, Congress, and other groups be established.
- Majority of Muslims Another main cause was that in Bengal province the majority was Muslim population. Muslim population was 54% and Hindu population was 44%. In this province the Muslim League was in power.
- Economic disparity between Hindu and Muslims Another cause for this was economic disparity between Hindus and Muslims.
- Muslims of Calcutta were basically artisans, factory workers, rickshaw pullers and domestic servants.
- There were rich Hindu Marwari in Calcutta and big Muslim merchants were unable to compete with them.
Partition of India and Pakistan:
- Daily outbreaks of communal violence were growing. It was determined that, in order to retain peace, it is preferable to separate ways than to remain together.
- On February 20, 1947, Mr. Attlee said that the British will depart India by June of 1948. At the time, Lord Mountbatten was appointed Viceroy of India.
- He presented his proposal for the partition of India and Pakistan in June 1947. Mahatma Gandhi did not agree with this, but many leaders in the Congress and the Muslim league including Jinnah, agreed.
- India Independence Act, 1947 was passed. It led to the creation of Pakistan and the Indian Union, two sovereign states. On August 15, 1947, the British government granted independence to Pakistan and the Indian Union.
It is undeniable that Mohammad Ali Jinnah played a significant influence in the division of India and Pakistan. Here, the British adopted a divide and rule strategy to take advantage of our vulnerability. This is seen in the Government of India Act of 1909. The Calcutta riots and the Lucknow Pact were other factors. Since Gandhi ji was the one who combined politics and religion in the Khilafat movement, which Jinnah did not like, Gandhi ji cannot be considered to be solely responsible for division. The fundamental cause of this is also the conflict between Nehru and Jinnah over gaining political power. Jinnah was not the only person responsible for the division.