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Partition of India
The partition of India split British India into the countries of India and Pakistan (East and West Pakistan) in 1947. This partition was part of the end of British rule over the Indian subcontinent, called British Raj. The partition was caused in part by the two-nation theory presented by Syed Ahmed Khan, due to presented religious issues. Pakistan became a Muslim country, and India became a majority Hindu but secular country. The main spokesperson for the partition was Muhammad Ali Jinnah. He became the first Governor-General of Pakistan.
Millions of people moved across the new Radcliffe Line between the two newly formed states. The population of undivided India in 1947 was about 570 million. After partition, there were 370 million people in India, 170 million in West Pakistan, and 30 million people in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh).[source?]
Once the lines were established, about 14.5 million people crossed the borders to what they hoped was the safety of their religious majority. The 1951 Census of Pakistan showed the number of displaced people in Pakistan at 7,226,600. They were presumably Muslims who had entered Pakistan from India. Similarly, the 1951 Census of India showed 7,295,870 displaced people, apparently Hindus and Sikhs who had moved to India from Pakistan. The two numbers add up to 14.5 million. Other people came from China as they took advantage of the open border.
The newly formed governments were unable to deal with forced migration of such huge numbers. Massive violence occurred on both sides of the border. Hundreds of thousands died; some estimates are in the millions.
The partition caused a lot of uncertainty in many parts of the new nations; especially in the region of Jammu and Kashmir.
- D'Costa, Bina (2011). Nationbuilding, gender and war crimes in South Asia. Routledge. pp. 53. .
- Butalia, Urvashi (2000). The other side of silence: voices from the Partition of India. Duke University Press. https://www.nytimes.com/books/first/b/butalia-silence.html.
- Sikand, Yoginder (2004). Muslims in India Since 1947: Islamic perspectives on inter-faith relations. Routledge. pp. 5. .