answers to past exam questions (her exams are usually based on these questions-1857, 1947, Ghandi, social reforms)

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Malavika Kasturi

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Question 5Was the partition of British India in 1947 inevitable What were the immediate and longterm legacies of the partition of the subcontinent for South Asia Partition of India in 1947 was not inevitable The rise of communal politics in India is only from the 1890s owing in part to the divisive colonial rule There was wave upon wave of communal strife from that time on however as the Gandhis movements from the 1920s and 1930s demonstrate there was also a perception of broad unity in goals independence of India for both Hindus and Muslims whose leaders spoke of a common national identity regardless of religion The idea of a separate Muslim state was not formulated until the 1940s In 1940 when congress party leaders resigned the party and denied to support British in the WW2 British were forced to look elsewhere for the support of war and so arrange a transfer of power to groups more accommodating than Congress The most benefited groups to the British were Muslim league In 1940 league adopted Pakistan as its goal for the political evolution of their community The Muslim majority areas were was given name Pakistan imagined as giant areas of confederation of discontinuities of states in 1933 by a group of Cambridge students By 1940 fast approaching independence impelled the league to proclaim thatin constitutional plan the areas with majority Muslims should be group to constitute independent states in which the constitute units should be autonomousNothing at this point was certain much less inevitable Until 1946 no one neither Jinnah the Muslim leader not the British thought that the partition will ultimately take place Whereas earlier Muslim reformers spoke of political representation for Muslims and from the 1920s on of a Muslim autonomy but there was no single vision many groups put forward very different ideas about what they thought independent India should be like Other sought to promote individual morality among Muslims and cooperation between religious communities in an Independent India In this sense the 1940 resolution continued the decades long strategy central to the government by community in which Muslims have a better position for themselves as separate electorate or Muslim majority provincesBy 1945 India possessed an army prepared to lead the country into independence INA claimed to represent the free India The existence of INA evoked great pride in India even among those who repudiated its ties A British tried to destroy INA in a war in 1945 but failed After the failure British had a meeting with Gandhi Nehru Jinnah in Shimla It reached a potential agreement for the selfrule of India that provided separate representation to Muslims and reduced majority powers for both communities in their majority regions Jinnah preferred no political advance at all to any acknowledgement of Congress to represent Muslim opinionBy 1946 all British realised that to arrange a transfer of power to those whom the Indian people have chosen for themselves This was not an easy task Elections took place in 1946Congress won 90 of votes in non Muslim areas and formed government in 8 provincesThe Muslim league won all Muslim reserved seats In 1937 it was obvious that only league represented the Indias Muslims As a result for average Muslim voter Pakistan came to mean two things at one time It was a modern nation state for Indias Muslims the logical culmination of the long process of colonial Muslim politics At the same time however as a symbol of Muslim identity Pakistan transcended the ordinary structures of the state As such it evoked an Ideal Islamic political order in which the realisation of Islamic life would be fused with states ritual authorityIn 1946 Cabinet Mission Plan was forwarded by BritishThe British Cabinet Mission of 1946 to India aimed to discuss and plan for the transfer of power from the British Raj Its proposal for a independent India involved a complex three federations whose central feature was the creation of groups of provinces Two of these groups comprise the Muslim majority provinces of East and west a third
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