Reasons for Partition
By the end of the 19th century, several nationalist movements had emerged in India. Indian nationalism had expanded as the result of British policies of education and the advances made by the British in India in the fields of transportation and communication. However, British insensitivity to and distance from the people of India and their customs created such disillusionment among Indians that the end of British rule became necessary and inevitable.
While the Indian National Congress was calling for Britain to Quit India, in 1943 the Muslim League passed a resolution demanding the British Divide and Quit. There were ...view middle of the document...
While there were strong feelings of nationalism in India, by the late 19th century there were also communal conflicts and movements in the country that were based on religious identities rather than class or regional ones. Some people felt that the very nature of Islam called for a communal Muslim society. Added to this were the memories of power over the Indian subcontinent that the Muslims held, especially in old centers of Mughal rule. These memories might have made it exceptionally diffficult for Muslims to accept the imposition of colonial power and culture. Many refused to learn English and to associate with the British. This was a severe drawback as Muslims found that cooperative Hindus found better government positions and thus felt that the British favored Hindus. Consequently, social reformer and educator Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, who founded Mohammedan Anglo Oriental College, taught the Muslims that education and cooperation with the British was vital for their survival in the society. However, tied to all the movements of Muslim revival was the opposition to assimilation and submergence in Hindu society.
Hindu revivalists also deepened the chasm between the two nations. They resented the Muslims for their former rule over India. Hindu revivalists rallied for a ban on the slaughter of cows, a cheap source of meat for the Muslims. They also wanted to change the official script from the Persian to the Hindu Devanagri script, effectively making Hindi rather than Urdu the main candidate for the national language.
The Congress made several mistakes in their policies which further convinced the League that it was impossible to live in an undivided India after freedom from colonial rule because their interests would be completely suppressed. One such policy was the institution of “Bande Matram,” a national anthem historically linked to anti-Muslim sentiment, in the schools of India where Muslim children were forced to sing it.
The Congress banned support for the British during the Second World War while the Muslim League pledged its full support, which found favor from the British, who...