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Mains Test Series

Partition of India, Constituent Assembly and Indian Independence.

Q. The unplanned Mountbatten plan caused obliquity in arranging the partition details and failed to prevent genocide. Discuss. (150 words) 

Solution Introduction  

On 5th July 1947, the British parliament passed the Indian Independence Act based on the Mountbatten Plan, which got royal assent on 18th June 1947. The act was implemented on 15th August 1947.  

Problems of early withdrawal 

The perilous speed of partition events under Mountbatten caused anomalies in arranging the trifles of partition and failed to prevent the Punjab and Bengal massacres because  

  • There are no transitional institutional structures within which the afterpartition-related problems could be tackled.
  • Mountbatten had hoped to be the common governor-general of both Pakistan and India, but Jinnah wanted the position for himself in Pakistan, so a chaotic situation prevailed.
  • There was a lag in announcing the Boundary Commission award or

Radcliffe Award: However the award was ready by 12th August 1947, but Mountbatten decided to make it public after 15th August so the British could escape all responsibility for the disturbance

The necessity of early withdrawal 

  • To stop the communal violence: The situation was immensely critical as Md. Ali Jinnah announced that 16th August 1946 would be “Direct Action Day” and warned Congress, “We do not want war. If you want war, we accept your offer unhesitatingly. We will either have a divided India or a destroyed India.” Therefore, only a quick transfer of power could forestall the spread of communal violence.  
  • To prevent the balkanisation of the country, The Indian Independence Act of 1947 provided for the division of India and the creation of two independent dominions, i.e. India and Pakistan, each with the right to secede from the British Commonwealth; this could be very dangerous for India’s unity and integrity.
  • The partition was inevitable  

Partition was a “primordial divide”—”a divide that is 75 years young and 5,000 years old”.    

For some historians, partition was a logical culmination of a long historical process that was started in the 19th century by Sayyid Ahmed Khan, when the South Asian Muslims began to discover their national identity, which was articulated later in the complex subcontinental politics of the 1940s.   

Conclusion: Though the partition resulted in the unified and secular India that we have today, it was one of the most horrific instances in the history of India. With no accurate accounts of how many died/lost their homes, estimates suggest that perhaps around 20 million people were oppressed by the partition, and somewhere, approximately 1 million lost their lives. 

However, the story could be different if a proper scientific pre-planned partition had been done.

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