On the 15th day of August 1947, British India was partitioned following the Indian Independence Act passed in the parliament of Britain. The partition was completely an unwanted incident that displaced at least 10-12 million people causing a large-scale refugee crisis in these two countries.
But the most important thing was that this partition could have been avoided. It might have taken two more years for India to get her Independence without any partition. But the process of India’s Independence was hastened for the sake of some power-hungry politicians of Indian National Congress.
There is a misconception that it was Mr. Jinnah who pressed for Pakistan and he got the country divided into the lines of religion. Of late, Congress promotes the view that Veer Savarkar proposed the Two-nation theory upon which the country was divided. But Congress has forgotten the fact that history can be distorted but not changed or removed. And history shows how Gandhi and Nehru made the way for India’s partition in 1947.
Let us start with Jinnah. The Pakistan Movement was started by those who were educated at Aligarh Muslim University and they sought another country to protect the identity of Islam. Mention should be made of the initiator of Aligarh Movement Sir Syed Ahmad Khan. In his speech in 1883, he was found saying, “Friends, in India there live two prominent nations which are distinguished by the names of Hindus and Mussulmans. Just as a man has some principal organs, similarly these two nations are like the principal limbs of India.” (source – Wikipedia). It was this awakening of the Muslims that helped Jinnah and his Muslim League pass the Lahore Resolution in 1940. But without the help of the Indian National Congress, Jinnah couldn’t have his share in the partition. And none other than Jinnah himself accepted it by saying, “I never thought it would happen. I never expected to see Pakistan in my life.”
There is no denying that Veer Savarkar accepted the veracity of Sir Syed Ahmad’s idea of the Two-nation Theory but he denied to the idea of partition. His idea of Two-nation was limited to a separate Union Territory for Muslims. He asserted that Muslims and Hindus should live together but no Muslim should enjoy any special privilege that a Hindu is deprived of. B.R. Ambedkar in his book ‘Pakistan or the Partition of India’ said, ” Mr. Savarkar insists that, although there are two nations in India, India shall not be divided into two parts, one for Muslims and the other for Hindus;..In his scheme, a Muslim is to have no advantage which a Hindu does not have”. Many on both sides of Hindus and Muslims believed in the partition of India but Savarkar definitely was not one of them. His idea of One Man One Vote was much grander and secular than the narrowness of Jinnah’s ideology of cutting up the nation into two just for the sake of religion.
However, the partition could not take place had Congress not conceded into the idea of Pakistan. At first, both Nehru and Gandhi resisted the creation of Pakistan but when the time came to stop the vile idea of the Muslim League for the creation of Pakistan, both of them helped the process. In his book ‘India Wins Freedom’, Moulana Abul Kalam Azad divulged, “Ultimately, he (Jawaharlal Nehru) came to the point and asked me to give up my opposition to partition.” Mr. Nehru was asked by Lord Mountbatten if he could be the Prime Minister of India had Subhash come back (source- Loksabha Debates- 6th Vol.). In that case, the Prime Ministerial candidate would have come up from Bengal instead of Uttar Pradesh. Since Bengal was planned to be a part of Pakistan, it was safer for Nehru to do the partition and remove any chances of Subhash Bose coming back to India and becoming the Prime Minister. Both Gandhiji and Nehru took self-contradictory steps from time to time. The same Gandhi who preferred death over India’s partition was the first to sign the decision towards partition as taken in the Congress Working Committee on 15th June 1947.
Taking advantage of the lack of any influential leaders like Subhas Chandra Bose in the country, both Nehru and Gandhi became instrumental in the execution of the partition.