Essay Republic Day India Wikipedia Population

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History of India

The history of the Republic of India begins on 26 January 1950. The country became an independent nation within the British Commonwealth on 15 August 1947. Concurrently the Muslim-majority northwest and east of British India was separated into the Dominion of Pakistan, by the partition of India. The partition led to a population transfer of more than 10 million people between India and Pakistan and the death of about one million people. Indian National Congress leader Jawaharlal Nehru became the first Prime Minister of India, but the leader most associated with the independence struggle, Mahatma Gandhi, accepted no office. The new constitution of 1950 made India a secular and a democratic country.

The nation faced religious violence, casteism, naxalism, terrorism and regional separatist insurgencies, especially in Jammu and Kashmir and northeastern India. India has unresolved territorial disputes with China, which in 1962 escalated into the Sino-Indian War, and with Pakistan, which resulted in wars in 1947, 1965, 1971 and 1999. India was neutral in the Cold War, but purchased its military weapons from the Soviet Union, while its arch-foe Pakistan was closely tied to the United States and the People's Republic of China.

India is a nuclear-weapon state, having conducted its first nuclear test in 1974, followed by another five tests in 1998. From the 1950s to the 1980s, India followed socialist-inspired policies. The economy was influenced by extensive regulation, protectionism and public ownership, leading to pervasive corruption and slow economic growth. Beginning in 1991, neoliberal economic reforms have transformed India into the third largest and one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, though corruption remains a pervasive problem. Today, India is a major world power with a prominent voice in global affairs and is seeking a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council. Many economists, military analysts and think tanks expect India to become a superpower in the near future.

1947–1950: Dominion of India[edit]

Main article: Dominion of India

Independent India's first years were marked with turbulent events – a massive exchange of population with Pakistan, the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947 and the integration of over 500 princely states to form a united nation. Credit for the political integration of India is largely attributed to Vallabhbhai Patel (deputy Prime Minister of India at the time),[1] who post-independence and before the death of Mahatma Gandhi teamed up with Jawaharlal Nehru and the Mahatma to ensure that the constitution of independent India would be secular.[2]

Partition of India[edit]

Main article: Partition of India

I find no parallel in history for a body of converts and their descendants claiming to be a nation apart from the parent stock.
— Mahatma Gandhi, opposing the division of India on the basis of religion in 1944.[3]

An estimated 3.5 million[4][5][6][7]Hindus and Sikhs living in West Punjab, North-West Frontier Province, Baluchistan, East Bengal and Sind migrated to India in fear of domination and suppression in Muslim Pakistan. Communal violence killed an estimated one million Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs, and gravely destabilised both dominions along their Punjab and Bengal boundaries, and the cities of Calcutta, Delhi and Lahore. The violence was stopped by early September owing to the co-operative efforts of both Indian and Pakistani leaders, and especially due to the efforts of Mohandas Gandhi, the leader of the Indian freedom struggle, who undertook a fast-unto-death in Calcutta and later in Delhi to calm people and emphasise peace despite the threat to his life. Both governments constructed large relief camps for incoming and leaving refugees, and the Indian Army was mobilised to provide humanitarian assistance on a massive scale.

The assassination of Mohandas Gandhi on 30 January 1948 was carried out by Nathuram Vinayak Godse, a Hindu nationalist, who held him responsible for partition and charged that Mohandas Gandhi was appeasing Muslims. More than one million people flooded the streets of Delhi to follow the procession to cremation grounds and pay their last respects.

In 1949, India recorded almost 1 million Hindu refugees into West Bengal and other states from East Pakistan, owing to communal violence, intimidation and repression from Muslim authorities. The plight of the refugees outraged Hindus and Indian nationalists, and the refugee population drained the resources of Indian states, who were unable to absorb them. While not ruling out war, Prime Minister Nehru and Sardar Patel invited Liaquat Ali Khan for talks in Delhi. Although many Indians termed this appeasement, Nehru signed a pact with Liaquat Ali Khan that pledged both nations to the protection of minorities and creation of minority commissions. Although opposed to the principle, Patel decided to back this pact for the sake of peace, and played a critical role in garnering support from West Bengal and across India, and enforcing the provisions of the pact. Khan and Nehru also signed a trade agreement, and committed to resolving bilateral disputes through peaceful means. Steadily, hundreds of thousands of Hindus returned to East Pakistan, but the thaw in relations did not last long, primarily owing to the Kashmir dispute.

Integration of princely states[edit]

Main article: Political integration of India

British India consisted of 17 provinces and 562 princely states. The provinces were given to India or Pakistan, in some cases in particular — Punjab and Bengal — after being partitioned. The princes of the princely states, however, were given the right to either remain independent or join either dominion. Thus India's leaders were faced with the prospect of inheriting a fragmented nation with independent provinces and kingdoms dispersed across the mainland. Under the leadership of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the new Government of India employed political negotiations backed with the option (and, on several occasions, the use) of military action to ensure the primacy of the central government and of the Constitution then being drafted. Sardar Patel and V. P. Menon convinced the rulers of princely states contiguous to India to accede to India. Many rights and privileges of the rulers of the princely states, especially their personal estates and privy purses, were guaranteed to convince them to accede. Some of them were made Rajpramukh (governor) and Uprajpramukh (deputy governor) of the merged states. Many small princely states were merged to form viable administrative states such as Saurashra, PEPSU, Vindhya Pradesh and Madhya Bharat. Some princely states such as Tripura and Manipur acceded later in 1949.

There were three states that proved more difficult to integrate than others:

  1. Junagadh (Hindu majority state with a Muslim nawab) – a December 1947 plebiscite resulted in a 99% vote[8] to merge with India, annulling the controversial accession to Pakistan, which was made by the Nawab against the wishes of the people of the state who were overwhelmingly Hindu and despite Junagadh not being contiguous with Pakistan.
  2. Hyderabad (Hindu majority state with a Muslim nizam)– Patel ordered the Indian army to depose the government of the Nizam, code named Operation Polo, after the failure of negotiations, which was done between 13–17 September 1948. It was incorporated as a state of India the next year.
  3. The area of Kashmir (Muslim majority state with a Hindu king) in the far north of the subcontinent quickly became a source of controversy that erupted into the First Indo-Pakistani War which lasted from 1947 to 1949. Eventually a United Nations-overseen ceasefire was agreed that left India in control of two-thirds of the contested region. Jawaharlal Nehru initially agreed to Mountbatten's proposal that a plebiscite be held in the entire state as soon as hostilities ceased, and a UN-sponsored cease-fire was agreed to by both parties on 1 Jan. 1949. No statewide plebiscite was held, however, for in 1954, after Pakistan began to receive arms from the United States, Nehru withdrew his support. The Indian Constitution came into force in Kashmir on 26 January 1950 with special clauses for the state.

Constitution[edit]

Main article: Constitution of India

The Constituent Assembly adopted the Constitution of India, drafted by a committee headed by Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, on 26 November 1949. India became a sovereign democratic republic after its constitution came into effect on 26 January 1950. Dr. Rajendra Prasad became the first President of India. The three words 'socialist', 'secular' and 'integrity' were added later with the 42nd Constitution Amendment 1976.

Indo-Pakistani War of 1947–1948[edit]

Main article: Indo-Pakistani War of 1947

The Indo-Pakistani War of 1947–1948 was fought between India and Pakistan over the princely state of Kashmir and Jammu from 1947 to 1948. It was the first of four Indo-Pakistan Wars fought between the two newly independent nations. Pakistan precipitated the war a few weeks after independence by launching tribal lashkar (militia) from Waziristan,[9] in an effort to secure Kashmir, the future of which hung in the balance. The inconclusive result of the war still affects the geopolitics of both countries.

1950s and 1960s[edit]

India held its first national elections under the Constitution in 1952, where a turnout of over 60% was recorded. The National Congress Party won an overwhelming majority, and Jawaharlal Nehru began a second term as Prime Minister. President Prasad was also elected to a second term by the electoral college of the first Parliament of India.[10]

Nehru administration (1952–1964)[edit]

Prime Minister Nehru led the Congress to major election victories in 1957 and 1962. The Parliament passed extensive reforms that increased the legal rights of women in Hindu society,[11][12][13][14] and further legislated against caste discrimination and untouchability. Nehru advocated a strong initiative to enroll India's children to complete primary education, and thousands of schools, colleges and institutions of advanced learning, such as the Indian Institutes of Technology, were founded across the nation.[16] Nehru advocated a socialist model for the economy of India — no taxation for Indian farmers, minimum wage and benefits for blue-collar workers, and the nationalisation of heavy industries such as steel, aviation, shipping, electricity and mining. Village common lands were seized, and an extensive public works and industrialisation campaign resulted in the construction of major dams, irrigation canals, roads, thermal and hydroelectric power stations and many more.

States reorganisation[edit]

Main article: States Reorganisation Act

Potti Sreeramulu's fast-unto-death, and consequent death for the demand of an Andhra State in 1953 sparked a major re-shaping of the Indian Union. Nehru appointed the States Re-organisation Commission, upon whose recommendations the States Reorganisation Act was passed in 1956. Old states were dissolved and new states created on the lines of shared linguistic and ethnic demographics. The separation of Kerala and the Telugu-speaking regions of Madras State enabled the creation of an exclusively Tamil-speaking state of Tamil Nadu. On 1 May 1960, the states of Maharashtra and Gujarat were created out of the bilingual Bombay State, and on 1 November 1966, the larger Punjab state was divided into the smaller, Punjabi-speaking Punjab and Haryanvi-speaking Haryana states.[17]

Foreign policy and military conflicts[edit]

See also: Role of India in Non-Aligned Movement, List of conflicts in Asia § Republic of India, and Indo-Pakistani War of 1965

The first Cabinet of independent India: (L to R sitting) B.R. Ambedkar, Rafi Ahmed Kidwai, Sardar Baldev Singh, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Jawaharlal Nehru, Rajendra Prasad, Sardar Patel, John Mathai, Jagjivan Ram, Amrit Kaur and Syama Prasad Mukherjee. (L to R standing) Khurshed Lal, R.R. Diwakar, Mohanlal Saksena, N. Gopalaswami Ayyangar, N.V. Gadgil, K. C. Neogy, Jairamdas Daulatram, K. Santhanam, Satya Narayan Sinha and B. V. Keskar.

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History of India

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History of Bangladesh

Ancient

  • Neolithic, c. 7600 – c. 3300 BCE
  • Bronze Age, c. 3300 – c. 1200 BCE
  • Iron Age, c. 1200 – c. 200 BCE
  • Bengal in Mahabharata, c. 400 - c. 325 BCE
  • Gangaridai Kingdom, c. 350 - c. 325 BCE
  • Mauryan Empire, c. 325 – c. 185 BCE
  • Samatata Kingdom, c. 232 BCE - c. 800 CE
  • Shunga-Kushan Period, c. 185 BCE – c. 75 CE
  • Southwestern Silk Road, c. 114 BCE - c. 1450 CE
  • Indo-Roman trade relations, c. 30 - BCE - c. 600 CE

Classical

  • Gupta Empire, c. 240 - c. 550 CE
  • Sylhet-Assam Varmans, c. 350 - c. 650 CE
  • Gauda Kingdom, c. 590 - c. 626 CE
  • Khadga dynasty, c. 650 - c. 750 CE
  • Pala Empire, c. 750 - c. 1100 CE
  • Arrival of Islam, c. 800 - c. 1050 CE
  • Harikela Kingdom, c. 900 - c. 1050 CE
  • Sena dynasty, c. 1070 - c. 1320 CE
  • Deva dynasty, c. 1100 - c. 1250 CE

Modern

  • Nawabs of Bengal, c. 1717 - c. 1757 CE
  • Company Raj, c. 1757 - c. 1858 CE
  • Faraizi Movement, c. 1818 - c. 1884 CE
  • The Great Rebellion, c. 1857 - c. 1858 CE
  • British Raj, c. 1858 - c. 1947 CE
  • East Bengal, c. 1947 - c. 1955 CE
  • East Pakistan, c. 1955 - c. 1971 CE
  • Bangladesh Liberation War, c. 1971 CE
  • Bangladeshi Republic, c. 1972 CE - present
Bangladesh portal

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Timeline

Ancient

  • Palaeolithic
  • Neolithic
  • Indus Valley Civilisation, c. 3300 – c. 1700 BCE
  • Vedic Civilization, c. 1500 – c. 500 BCE
  • Achaemenid Empire, c. 550 – c. 330 BCE
  • Ror Dynasty, c. 489 – c. 450 BCE
  • Macedonian Empire, c. 329 – c. 323 BCE
  • Mauryan Empire, c. 322 – c. 200 BCE
  • Seleucid Empire, c. 312 – c. 63 BCE
  • Greco-Bactrian Kingdom, c. 190 – c. 140 BCE
  • Indo-Greek Kingdom, c. 170 – c. 50 BCE
  • Indo-Scythian Kingdom, c. 110 BCE – c. 95 CE

Medieval

  • Caliphate, c. 643 – 860 CE
  • Pala Empire, c. 770 – 850 CE
  • Habbari Dynasty, c. 841 – 1024 CE
  • Kabul Shahi, c. 870 – 1010 CE
  • Samanid Empire, c. 905 – 999 CE
  • Ghaznavids, c. 999 – 1186 CE
  • Soomra Dynasty, c. 1024 – 1351 CE
  • Ghurid Dynasty, c. 1170 – 1215 CE
  • Delhi Sultanate, c. 1206 – c. 1526 CE
  • Mongol Empire, c. 1221 – c. 1327 CE
  • Samma Dynasty, c. 1351 – c. 1524 CE
  • Arghun Dynasty, c. 1520 – c. 1554 CE
  • Mughal Empire, c. 1526 – c. 1707 CE
  • Bombay Presidency, c. 1618 – c. 1947 CE
  • Suri Dynasty, c. 1540 – c. 1556 CE
  • Tarkhan Dynasty, c. 1554 – 1591 CE

The Partition of India was the division of British India[a] in 1947 which accompanied the creation of two independent dominions, India and Pakistan.[1] The Dominion of India is today the Republic of India, and the Dominion of Pakistan is today the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the People's Republic of Bangladesh. The partition involved the division of three provinces, Assam, Bengal and the Punjab, based on district-wide Hindu or Muslim majorities. The boundary demarcating India and Pakistan became known as the Radcliffe Line. It also involved the division of the British Indian Army, the Royal Indian Navy, the Indian Civil Service, the railways, and the central treasury, between the two new dominions. The partition was set forth in the Indian Independence Act 1947 and resulted in the dissolution of the British Raj, as the British government there was called. The two self-governing countries of Pakistan and India legally came into existence at midnight on 14–15 August 1947.[2]

The partition displaced over 14 million people along religious lines, creating overwhelming refugee crises in the newly constituted dominions; there was large-scale violence, with estimates of loss of life accompanying or preceding the partition disputed and varying between several hundred thousand and two million.[b] The violent nature of the partition created an atmosphere of hostility and suspicion between India and Pakistan that plagues their relationship to the present.

The term partition of India does not cover the secession of Bangladesh from Pakistan in 1971, nor the earlier separations of Burma (now Myanmar) and Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) from the administration of British India.[c] The term also does not cover the political integration of princely states into the two new dominions, nor the disputes of annexation or division arising in the princely states of Hyderabad, Junagadh, and Jammu and Kashmir, though violence along religious lines did break out in some princely states at the time of the partition. It does not cover the incorporation of the enclaves of French India into India during the period 1947–1954, nor the annexation of Goa and other districts of Portuguese India by India in 1961. Other contemporaneous political entities in the region in 1947, Sikkim, Bhutan, Nepal, and the Maldives were unaffected by the partition.[d]

Background[edit]

Partition of Bengal (1905)[edit]

Main article: Partition of Bengal (1905)

  • 1909 Percentage of Hindus.

  • 1909 Percentage of Muslims.

  • 1909 Percentage of Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains.

In 1905, the viceroy, Lord Curzon, in his second term, divided the largest administrative subdivision in British India, the Bengal Presidency, into the Muslim-majority province of East Bengal and Assam and the Hindu-majority province of Bengal (present-day Indian states of West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand and Odisha).[7] Curzon's act, the Partition of Bengal—which some considered administratively felicitous[by whom?], and, which had been contemplated by various colonial administrations since the time of Lord William Bentinck, but never acted upon—was to transform nationalist politics as nothing else before it.[7] The Hindu elite of Bengal, among them many who owned land in East Bengal that was leased out to Muslim peasants, protested fervidly. The large Bengali Hindu middle-class (the Bhadralok), upset at the prospect of Bengalis being outnumbered in the new Bengal province by Biharis and Oriyas, felt that Curzon's act was punishment for their political assertiveness.[7] The pervasive protests against Curzon's decision took the form predominantly of the Swadeshi ("buy Indian") campaign and involved a boycott of British goods. Sporadically—but flagrantly—the protestess also took to political violence that involved attacks on civilians.[8] The violence, however, was not effective, as most planned attacks were either preempted by the British or failed.[9] The rallying cry for both types of protest was the slogan Bande Mataram (Bengali, lit: "Hail to the Mother"), the title of a song by Bankim Chandra Chatterjee, which invoked a mother goddess, who stood variously for Bengal, India, and the Hindu goddess Kali.[10] The unrest spread from Calcutta to the surrounding regions of Bengal when Calcutta's English-educated students returned home to their villages and towns.[11] The religious stirrings of the slogan and the political outrage over the partition were combined as young men, in groups such as Jugantar, took to bombing public buildings, staging armed robberies,[9] and assassinating British officials.[10] Since Calcutta was the imperial capital, both the outrage and the slogan soon became nationally known.[10]

The overwhelming, but predominantly Hindu, protest against the partition of Bengal and the fear, in its wake, of reforms favouring the Hindu majority, now led the Muslim elite in India, in 1906, to meet with the new viceroy, Lord Minto, and to ask for separate electorates for Muslims. In conjunction, they demanded proportional legislative representation reflecting both their status as former rulers and their record of cooperating with the British. This led, in December 1906, to the founding of the All-India Muslim League in Dacca. Although Curzon, by now, had resigned his position over a dispute with his military chief Lord Kitchener and returned to England, the League was in favour of his partition plan. The Muslim elite's position, which was reflected in the League's position, had crystallized gradually over the previous three decades, beginning with the 1871 Census of British India, which had first estimated the populations in regions of Muslim majority.[12] (For his part, Curzon's desire to court the Muslims of East Bengal had arisen from British anxieties ever since the 1871 census, the first comprehensive census there—and in light of the history of Muslims fighting them in the 1857 Mutiny and the Second Anglo-Afghan War—about Indian Muslims rebelling against the Crown.[12]) In the three decades since that census, Muslim leaders across northern India, had intermittently experienced public animosity from some of the new Hindu political and social groups.[12] The Arya Samaj, for example, had not only supported Cow Protection Societies in their agitation,[13] but also—distraught at the 1871 Census's Muslim numbers—organized "reconversion" events for the purpose of welcoming Muslims back to the Hindu fold.[12] In the United Provinces, Muslims became anxious when, in the late 19th century, political representation increased, giving more power to Hindus, and Hindus were politically mobilized in the Hindi-Urdu controversy and the anti-cow-killing riots of 1893. In 1905, when Tilak and Lajpat Rai attempted to rise to leadership positions in the Congress, and the Congress itself rallied around symbolism of Kali, Muslim fears increased.[12] It was not lost on many Muslims, for example, that the rallying cry, "Bande Mataram", had first appeared in the novel Anand Math in which Hindus had battled their Muslim oppressors.[15] Lastly, the Muslim elite, and among it Dacca Nawab, Khwaja Salimullah, who hosted the League's first meeting in his mansion in Shahbag, was aware that a new province with a Muslim majority would directly benefit Muslims aspiring to political power.[15]

World War I, Lucknow Pact: 1914–1918[edit]

  • Indian medical orderlies attending to wounded soldiers with the Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force in Mesopotamia during World War I.

  • Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (seated in carriage, on the right, eyes downcast, with black flat-top hat) receives a big welcome in Karachi in 1916 after his return to India from South Africa.

  • Muhammad Ali Jinnah, seated, third from the left, was a supporter of the Lucknow Pact, which, in 1916, ended the three-way rift between the Extremists, the Moderates and the League.

World War I would prove to be a watershed in the imperial relationship between Britain and India. 1.4 million Indian and British soldiers of the British Indian Army would take part in the war and their participation would have a wider cultural fallout: news of Indian soldiers fighting and dying with British soldiers, as well as soldiers from dominions like Canada and Australia, would travel to distant corners of the world both in newsprint and by the new medium of the radio.[16] India's international profile would thereby rise and would continue to rise during the 1920s.[16] It was to lead, among other things, to India, under its own name, becoming a founding member of the League of Nations in 1920 and participating, under the name, "Les Indes Anglaises" (British India), in the 1920 Summer Olympics in Antwerp.[17] Back in India, especially among the leaders of the Indian National Congress, it would lead to calls for greater self-government for Indians.[16]

The 1916 Lucknow Session of the Congress was also the venue of an unanticipated mutual effort by the Congress and the Muslim League, the occasion for which was provided by the wartime partnership between Germany and Turkey. Since the Turkish Sultan, or Khalifah, had also sporadically claimed guardianship of the Islamic holy sites of Mecca, Medina, and Jerusalem, and since the British and their allies were now in conflict with Turkey, doubts began to increase among some Indian Muslims about the "religious neutrality" of the British, doubts that had already surfaced as a result of the reunification of Bengal in 1911, a decision that was seen as ill-disposed to Muslims.[18] In the Lucknow Pact, the League joined the Congress in the proposal for greater self-government that was campaigned for by Tilak and his supporters; in return, the Congress accepted separate electorates for Muslims in the provincial legislatures as well as the Imperial Legislative Council. In 1916, the Muslim League had anywhere between 500 and 800 members and did not yet have its wider following among Indian Muslims of later years; in the League itself, the pact did not have unanimous backing, having largely been negotiated by a group of "Young Party" Muslims from the United Provinces (UP), most prominently, two brothers Mohammad and Shaukat Ali, who had embraced the Pan-Islamic cause;[18] however, it did have the support of a young lawyer from Bombay, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, who was later to rise to leadership roles in both the League and the Indian independence movement. In later years, as the full ramifications of the pact unfolded, it was seen as benefiting the Muslim minority élites of provinces like UP and Bihar more than the Muslim majorities of Punjab and Bengal; nonetheless, at the time, the "Lucknow Pact", was an important milestone in nationalistic agitation and was seen so by the British.[18]

Montagu–Chelmsford Reforms: 1919[edit]

Secretary of State for India, Montagu and ViceroyLord Chelmsford presented a report in July 1918 after a long fact-finding trip through India the previous winter.[19] After more discussion by the government and parliament in Britain, and another tour by the Franchise and Functions Committee for the purpose of identifying who among the Indian population could vote in future elections, the Government of India Act of 1919 (also known as the Montagu–Chelmsford Reforms) was passed in December 1919.[19] The new Act enlarged both the provincial and Imperial legislative councils and repealed the Government of India's recourse to the "official majority" in unfavorable votes.[19] Although departments like defence, foreign affairs, criminal law, communications, and income-tax were retained by the Viceroy and the central government in New Delhi, other departments like public health, education, land-revenue, local self-government were transferred to the provinces.[19] The provinces themselves were now to be administered under a new dyarchical system, whereby some areas like education, agriculture, infrastructure development, and local self-government became the preserve of Indian ministers and legislatures, and ultimately the Indian electorates, while others like irrigation, land-revenue, police, prisons, and control of media remained within the purview of the British governor and his executive council.[19] The new Act also made it easier for Indians to be admitted into the civil service and the army officer corps.

A greater number of Indians were now enfranchised, although, for voting at the national level, they constituted only 10% of the total adult male population, many of whom were still illiterate.[19] In the provincial legislatures, the British continued to exercise some control by setting aside seats for special interests they considered cooperative or useful. In particular, rural candidates, generally sympathetic to British rule and less confrontational, were assigned more seats than their urban counterparts.[19] Seats were also reserved for non-Brahmins, landowners, businessmen, and college graduates. The principle of "communal representation", an integral part of the Minto-Morley Reforms, and more recently of the Congress-Muslim League Lucknow Pact, was reaffirmed, with seats being reserved for Muslims, Sikhs, Indian Christians, Anglo-Indians, and domiciled Europeans, in both provincial and Imperial legislative councils.[19] The Montagu-Chelmsford reforms offered Indians the most significant opportunity yet for exercising legislative power, especially at the provincial level; however, that opportunity was also restricted by the still limited number of eligible voters, by the small budgets available to provincial legislatures, and by the presence of rural and special interest seats that were seen as instruments of British control.[19]

Two nation theory[edit]

Main article: Two-nation theory

The two-nation is the ideology that the primary identity and unifying denominator of Muslims in the Indian subcontinent is their religion, rather than their language or ethnicity, and therefore Indian Hindus and Muslims are two distinct nations, regardless of ethnic or other commonalities.[20][21] The two-nation theory was a founding principle of the Pakistan Movement (i.e. the ideology of Pakistan as a Muslim nation-state in South Asia), and the partition of India in 1947.[22]

The ideology that religion is the determining factor in defining the nationality of Indian Muslims was undertaken by Muhammad Ali Jinnah, who termed it as the awakening of Muslims for the creation of Pakistan.[23] It is also a source of inspiration to several Hindu nationalist organizations, with causes as varied as the redefinition of Indian Muslims as non-Indian foreigners and second-class citizens in India, the expulsion of all Muslims from India, establishment of a legally Hindu state in India, prohibition of conversions to Islam, and the promotion of conversions or reconversions of Indian Muslims to Hinduism.[24][25][26][27]

The Hindu Mahasabha leader Lala Lajpat Rai was one of the first persons to demand to bifurcate India by Muslim and Non-Muslim population. He wrote in The Tribune of December 14, 1924:

Under my scheme the Muslims will have four Muslim States: (1) The Pathan Province or the North-West Frontier; (2) Western Punjab (3) Sindh and (4) Eastern Bengal. If there are compact Muslim communities in any other part of India, sufficiently large to form a province, they should be similarly constituted. But it should be distinctly understood that this is not a united India. It means a clear partition of India into a Muslim India and a non-Muslim India.[28]

There are varying interpretations of the two-nation theory, based on whether the two postulated nationalities can coexist in one territory or not, with radically different implications. One interpretation argued for sovereign autonomy, including the right to secede, for Muslim-majority areas of the Indian subcontinent, but without any transfer of populations (i.e. Hindus and Muslims would continue to live together). A different interpretation contends that Hindus and Muslims constitute "two distinct, and frequently antagonistic ways of life, and that therefore they cannot coexist in one nation."[29] In this version, a transfer of populations (i.e. the total removal of Hindus from Muslim-majority areas and the total removal of Muslims from Hindu-majority areas) is a desirable step towards a complete separation of two incompatible nations that "cannot coexist in a harmonious relationship".[30][31]

Opposition to the theory has come from two sources. The first is the concept of a single Indian nation, of which Hindus and Muslims are two intertwined communities.[32] This is a founding principle of the modern, officially secular, Republic of India. Even after the formation of Pakistan, debates on whether Muslims and Hindus are distinct nationalities or not continued in that country as well.[33] The second source of opposition is the concept that while Indians are not one nation, neither are the Muslims or Hindus of the subcontinent, and it is instead the relatively homogeneous provincial units of the subcontinent which are true nations and deserving of sovereignty; this view has been presented by the Baloch,[34] Sindhi,[35] and Pashtun[36] sub-nationalities of Pakistan and the Assamese[37] and Punjabi[38] sub-nationalities of India.

Muslim homeland, provincial elections, World War II, Lahore Resolution: 1930–1945[edit]

Although Choudhry Rahmat Ali had in 1933 produced a pamphlet, Now or never, in which the term "Pakistan", "the land of the pure", comprising the Punjab, North West Frontier Province (Afghania), Kashmir, Sindh, and Balochistan, was coined for the first time, the pamphlet did not attract political attention. A little later, a Muslim delegation to the Parliamentary Committee on Indian Constitutional Reforms gave short shrift to the Pakistan idea, calling it "chimerical and impracticable".

Two years later, the Government of India Act 1935 introduced provincial autonomy, increasing the number of voters in India to 35 million. More significantly, law and order issues were for the first time devolved from British authority to provincial governments headed by Indians. This increased Muslim anxieties about eventual Hindu domination. In the Indian provincial elections, 1937, the Muslim League turned out its best performance in Muslim-minority provinces such as the United Provinces, where it won 29 of the 64 reserved Muslim seats. However, in the Muslim-majority regions of the Punjab and Bengal regional parties outperformed the League. In the Punjab, the Unionist Part of Sikandar Hayat Khan, won the elections and formed a government, with the support of the Indian National Congress and the Shiromani Akali Dal, which lasted five years. In Bengal, the League had to share power in a coalition headed by A. K. Fazlul Huq, the leader of the Krishak Praja Party.

The Congress, on the other hand, with 716 wins in the total of 1585 provincial assemblies seats, was able to form governments in 7 out of the 11 provinces of British India. In its manifesto the Congress maintained that religious issues were of lesser importance to the masses than economic and social issues, however, the election revealed that the Congress had contested just 58 out of the total 482 Muslim seats, and of these, it won in only 26. In UP, where the Congress won, it offered to share power with the League on condition that the League stop functioning as a representative only of Muslims, which the League refused. This proved to be a mistake as it alienated the Congress further from the Muslim masses. In addition, the new UP provincial administration promulgated cow protection and the use of Hindi. The Muslim elite in UP was further alienated, when they saw chaotic scenes of the new Congress Raj, in which rural people who sometimes turned up in large numbers in Government buildings, were indistinguishable from the administrators and the law enforcement personnel.

The Muslim League conducted its own investigation into the conditions of Muslims under Congress-governed provinces. The findings of such investigations increased fear among the Muslim masses of future Hindu domination. The view that Muslims would be unfairly treated in an independent India dominated by the Congress was now a part of the public discourse of Muslims. With the outbreak of World War II in 1939, the viceroy, Lord Linlithgow, declared war on India's behalf without consulting Indian leaders, leading the Congress provincial ministries to resign in protest. The Muslim League, which functioned under state patronage, in contrast, organized "Deliverance Day", celebrations (from Congress dominance) and supported Britain in the war effort. When Linlithgow, met with nationalist leaders, he gave the same status to Jinnah as he did to Gandhi, and a month later described the Congress as a "Hindu organization."

In March 1940, in the League's annual three-day session in Lahore, Jinnah gave a two-hour speech in English, in which were laid out the arguments of the Two-nation theory, stating, in the words of historians Talbot and Singh, that "Muslims and Hindus ... were irreconcilably opposed monolithic religious communities and as such no settlement could be imposed that did not satisfy the aspirations of the former." On the last day of its session, the League passed, what came to be known as the Lahore Resolution, sometimes also "Pakistan Resolution", demanding that "the areas in which the Muslims are numerically in majority as in the North-Western and Eastern zones of India should be grouped to constitute independent states in which the constituent units shall be autonomous and sovereign." Though it had been founded more than three decades earlier, the League would gather support among South Asian Muslims only during the Second World War.

In March 1942, with the Japanese fast moving up the Malayan Peninsula after the Fall of Singapore, and with the Americans supporting independence for India,Winston Churchill, the wartime Prime Minister of Britain, sent Sir Stafford Cripps, the leader of the House of Commons, with an offer of dominion

The prevailing religions of the British Indian Empire based on the Census of India, 1901

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