Paper 2 Review

Topic 1

To what extent were religious issues responsible for India and Pakistan (1947-71)?

Background (1945)

  • In 1945, Muslims were about 25% of Indias Population
  • They were scattered across the sub-continent and were a majority of the population in India's Bengal and Punjab regions.
  • The Muslims varied in language and ethnicity, and they differed in economic class- from a wealthy few, to merchants and urban and rural poor.
  • Muslims mixed little with Hindus, even if they were neighbors.
  1. Muslims=strict monotheists
  2. Muslims saw Hindus as Idolators
  3. Didn't eat or study together
  4. Muslims ate cow, Hindus worshiped cows
  5. did not intermarry

Independence and Decisions

With India on its way to independence from British rule and establishing a constitution, Muslims were afraid that Hindus would use their majority status to impose laws upon them that would deny them freedom to pursue their way of life.


  • In 1946, the British tried to facilitate an agreement between the Congress Party and the Muslim League
  • Muslims wanted power divided by geography and by religious affiliation.
  • Muslims, moreover, wanted a place for themselves called pak-i-stan, pak meaning purity, stan meaning place.
  • Muhammad Ali Jinnah claimed that Muslims could not progress in their various spheres of life without pakistan.

Call for a Plan

  • After months of wrangling, a plan for a federated India was agreed to
  • The plan gave Muslims sovereignty in a few of India's many states, and it included a complex scheme for autonomy for Muslims in various places where they were a minority.
  • Sikhs totaled about 6 million
  • Opposed the plan- believing it left them in a state that would be controlled by Muslims

August 16, 1946

Direct Action Day: Muslim Party opted for political pressure through street demonstrations

  • Hindus didn't cooperate: mobs, attacks, killings, looting

April 20, 1947

Nehru and Lord Mountbatten said the Muslim League could have its Pakistan on the condition that it did not include parts of India.

July 15, 1947

On July 15, 1947, Britain's House of Commons proclaimed that on August 15, 1947, "two independent dominions" would be established in India, to be known as India and Pakistan.

  • Before August 14, boundary lines were drawn.
  • On August 14, Hindus and Sikhs began abandoning their homes and leaving Pakistan.
  • Muslims began moving from India to Pakistan
  • Ten Million people on the move