Chapter

The Historic Roots of the Problem

Stanley Wolpert

in India and Pakistan

Published by University of California Press

Published in print September 2010 | ISBN: 9780520266773
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520948006 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520266773.003.0002
The Historic Roots of the Problem

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India and Pakistan were born to conflict generated by the Partition of British India in August 1947. Britain's last viceroy, Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten, who had little understanding of India, foolishly halved the timetable allotted to him by British Prime Minister Clement Attlee's Labour cabinet to try to resolve the conflicts that divided India's political leaders and to get them to agree to form a single federal dominion of independent India. Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, the leaders of the Indian National Congress party, had always wanted such a federal union. Since 1940, however, Muhammad Ali Jinnah and his Muslim League had demanded an independent Pakistan, whose Muslims would have their own government rather than remaining subordinate to India's Hindu majority. A British lawyer, Cyril Radcliffe, who had never before set foot on Indian soil, presided over the partition of British India's two largest multicultural provinces, Punjab and Bengal. Two months after winning their precious freedom, India and Pakistan embarked on their first war, over the former state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Keywords: India; Pakistan; Partition; Kashmir; conflict; Jammu; Britain; Mahatma Gandhi; Jawaharlal Nehru; Muslims; Cyril Radcliffe

Chapter.  3265 words. 

Subjects: Asian History

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