Historical The Partition, 1947

Joe Shearer

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Any sources for this?
If you wait a bit, I'll be summarising a raft of books on these general subjects (they are listed at post #52)

Specifically on this number, I haven't checked, but Yasmin Khan, The Great Partition, is a very well-considered source book.

Incidentally, I don't agree with @Afif , either about the disparity of numbers, or about the validity of the theory, but since he has raised the point, he deserves a well-grounded, properly researched answer. This forum deserves to be a different one from the shout-shops otherwise to be found in abundance.
 

Afif

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Any sources for this?

Well….about the disparity of the numbers, I read it in some online article. I hadn’t the chance to rigorously double check it. So, it is not definitive. and the 'million' figure seems to be cited widely.

Currently I am reading a book on Partition and waiting for @Joe Shearer answer.
Which I believe is gonna be very educating for all of us.
 

Joe Shearer

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Well….about the disparity of the numbers, I read it in some online article. I hadn’t the chance to rigorously double check it. So, it is not definitive. and the 'million' figure seems to be cited widely.

Currently I am reading a book on Partition and waiting for @Joe Shearer answer.
Which I believe is gonna be very educating for all of us.
I don't know about the very educating, but would certainly like to bring as much fact as is available to an individual to the table, for us all to consider, and to form our opinions.
Now the opinions we form on the exact same facts presented and accepted may differ, and that is not a bad thing.
If I were to form an opinion based on insufficient information, and assert that as sound, that would be a bad thing.

I am therefore taking the trouble to do some background reading, and to present a summary of each book to the forum, before drawing any conclusions. The books I have identified are listed earlier; these are merely, by accident, the books on the subject that I happen to own, and certainly not what would be desirable for a properly researched analysis.

It is hoped that the first summary will be by 22nd evening.
 

LB08

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Many thanks, @Nilgiri

@LB08
@Afif

We can continue here.

@Marlii

Want to join in?

Sorry for the extra delayed response dada, been busy with life last few weeks. Hope you are doing well.

Looks like the discussion has taken a different tangent, but I will go back to my initial position of why there should have been 3 (or even more) instead of 2 nations in 1947, with United Bengal as a country of it's own.

I do want to share a disclaimer before that - personally I like the idea of Pan-Islamism owing to my religious beliefs where muslims should consider each other as brothers irrespective of race. Therefore by default I "should" be in the two nation (divided by religious lines) camp. However, that is not the case because -

1. It is not a requirement in Islam that people of different ethnicity of people be rule by a single Islamic Caliphate as desired by the proponents of Pan-Islamism. This concept of Pan-Islamism is very new and only came into existence in mid-19th century.
2. Even at the peak of Islamic Caliphates of the past which involved multiple ethnicities, we have not seen a stable and pro-longed period of peace. Even the Ottoman Caliphate had to constantly engage in warfare to subdue rebels, had vassal states in Europe and also Muslim vassal states in Arabia such as Sharifate of Mecca. In short - what I am trying to convey here is that the idea of "pan-Islamism" has never been successful in the true meaning of the ideology. Muslims of different ethnicities did not always embrace the idea of a foreign ruler deciding their fate even if the rulers are muslims. This goes back to the first point - it is not mandatory to have a pan Islamic governance system in the religion of Islam.
3. The rise of nationalistic sentiment globally from mid-18th century onwards. The primary force behind this rise of nationalism was ethnocentric. The subjects felt injustice being done against them by their foreign rulers and they chose to rise up. This sentiment spread like wildfire across the world and which is exactly why we saw the gradual decline of all the great empires/colonial powers of the past during this period.

Therefore, the concept of East and West Pakistan was very flawed to begin with. It was doomed to fail, especially when you take into consideration that the two wings are 1000+ miles apart. The British, just like everywhere else in the world, left the sub-continent in the same chaos that they had left Palestine with.

A One State solution would have been equally flawed - the reason being the distrust among the population because of ethnicity and religion. Looking at the rise of religious extremism in all three countries at present - it is not inconceivable that we would probably be engaged in civil war(s) in different regions perhaps even to this day.

The Sub-Continent was never once a single unified country going back in history. It was always fragmented along ethnic lines. Multiple kings ruling their small kingdoms. The British understood this very well, which is why they took measures to divide larger provinces to subdue them. The British first partitioned Bengal in 1905 (decided in 1903) along religious lines, even before the 1947 partition. They created a division between Muslims and Hindus, by promising greater prosperity for Muslims. It created divisions even within prominent Muslim leaders (e.g. Nawab Salimullah (pro-partition) vs Sher e Bangla AK Fazlul Hoque (against partition)).

Why did the British feel the sudden need to divide Bengal? The reason is plain and simple - Bengal was the hub of anti-British movements in late 19th and early 20th century. It wasn't the first time British tried to subdue Bengal either. For example - they classified Bengalis as "non-martial" race after the sepoy mutiny of 1857 which started in Barracpor by soldiers of the 34th Bengal Native Infantry. The British officers and administrators did not trust Bengal soldiers, especially after the major battles of Plassey (1757) and battle of Buxar (1764). So when they got the chance after 1857, they decided to reduce recruitment of Bengali soldiers to prevent future resistance.

The nationalist drive in Bengal for independence against British colonialism for decades alone should have been sufficient to grant United Bengal it's independence. Attempt was made to the last minute until July 1947 to have an United Bengal. Leaders like Sarat Chandra Bose, Hussein Shahid Shuhrawardy tried their best to keep the movement alive. Later Nehru vetoed the idea on the condition that United Bengal be part of India. The Hindu leaders of Bengal Provincial Congress and Muslim leaders like Khawaja Nazimuddin wanted religious separation and the movement eventually fell apart.

United Bengal didn't come into fruition because the seeds of division was sown back in 1905 through the partition of Bengal and the division along religious lines. Even if United Bengal was a reality now, we would probably be like Lebanon, where you have Shia, Sunni and Christian leaders taking turn at leading the country. That is becuase the Brits had already done the damage in the Bengali society. Even after that it could have still been a good idea and significantly less loss of human lives that Bengal had experienced in 1947 and again in 1971.

For United Bengal to have become a reality - we would have to turn the clock back all the way back to 1757 Battle of Plassey, in an alternate universe where Mir Jafor didn't betray Nawab Siraj ud dawla and Bengal remained independent of British rule.

413907268_667875682217741_6455803544308477352_n.jpg
 
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LB08

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I know about the united Bengal idea but always thought of it as unrealistic that in the end wouldnt have been implemented or if it was implemented would have resulted in a bigger mess than the one now. The idea was good on paper but thinking everyone in bengal will live peacefully together would have been gone against the idea of partition in general.

It would have been good idea, if the Brits hadn't caused the first partition of Bengal in 1905. Please see my post above.

Even after that it could have still been a good idea and significantly less loss of human lives that Bengal had experienced in 1947 and again in 1971.
 

Joe Shearer

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Sorry for the extra delayed response dada, been busy with life last few weeks. Hope you are doing well.

Looks like the discussion has taken a different tangent, but I will go back to my initial position of why there should have been 3 (or even more) instead of 2 nations in 1947, with United Bengal as a country of it's own.

I do want to share a disclaimer before that - personally I like the idea of Pan-Islamism owing to my religious beliefs where muslims should consider each other as brothers irrespective of race. Therefore by default I "should" be in the two nation (divided by religious lines) camp. However, that is not the case because -

1. It is not a requirement in Islam that people of different ethnicity of people be rule by a single Islamic Caliphate as desired by the proponents of Pan-Islamism. This concept of Pan-Islamism is very new and only came into existence in mid-19th century.
2. Even at the peak of Islamic Caliphates of the past which involved multiple ethnicities, we have not seen a stable and pro-longed period of peace. Even the Ottoman Caliphate had to constantly engage in warfare to subdue rebels, had vassal states in Europe and also Muslim vassal states in Arabia such as Sharifate of Mecca. In short - what I am trying to convey here is that the idea of "pan-Islamism" has never been successful in the true meaning of the ideology. Muslims of different ethnicities did not always embrace the idea of a foreign ruler deciding their fate even if the rulers are muslims. This goes back to the first point - it is not mandatory to have a pan Islamic governance system in the religion of Islam.
3. The rise of nationalistic sentiment globally from mid-18th century onwards. The primary force behind this rise of nationalism was ethnocentric. The subjects felt injustice being done against them by their foreign rulers and they chose to rise up. This sentiment spread like wildfire across the world and which is exactly why we saw the gradual decline of all the great empires/colonial powers of the past during this period.

Therefore, the concept of East and West Pakistan was very flawed to begin with. It was doomed to fail, especially when you take into consideration that the two wings are 1000+ miles apart. The British, just like everywhere else in the world, left the sub-continent in the same chaos that they had left Palestine with.

A One State solution would have been equally flawed - the reason being the distrust among the population because of ethnicity and religion. Looking at the rise of religious extremism in all three countries at present - it is not inconceivable that we would probably be engaged in civil war(s) in different regions perhaps even to this day.

The Sub-Continent was never once a single unified country going back in history. It was always fragmented along ethnic lines. Multiple kings ruling their small kingdoms. The British understood this very well, which is why they took measures to divide larger provinces to subdue them. The British first partitioned Bengal in 1905 (decided in 1903) along religious lines, even before the 1947 partition. They created a division between Muslims and Hindus, by promising greater prosperity for Muslims. It created divisions even within prominent Muslim leaders (e.g. Nawab Salimullah (pro-partition) vs Sher e Bangla AK Fazlul Hoque (against partition)).

Why did the British feel the sudden need to divide Bengal? The reason is plain and simple - Bengal was the hub of anti-British movements in late 19th and early 20th century. It wasn't the first time British tried to subdue Bengal either. For example - they classified Bengalis as "non-martial" race after the sepoy mutiny of 1857 which started in Barracpor by soldiers of the 34th Bengal Native Infantry. The British officers and administrators did not trust Bengal soldiers, especially after the major battles of Plassey (1757) and battle of Buxar (1764). So when they got the chance after 1857, they decided to reduce recruitment of Bengali soldiers to prevent future resistance.

The nationalist drive in Bengal for independence against British colonialism for decades alone should have been sufficient to grant United Bengal it's independence. Attempt was made to the last minute until July 1947 to have an United Bengal. Leaders like Sarat Chandra Bose, Hussein Shahid Shuhrawardy tried their best to keep the movement alive. Later Nehru vetoed the idea on the condition that United Bengal be part of India. The Hindu leaders of Bengal Provincial Congress and Muslim leaders like Khawaja Nazimuddin wanted religious separation and the movement eventually fell apart.

United Bengal didn't come into fruition because the seeds of division was sown back in 1905 through the partition of Bengal and the division along religious lines. Even if United Bengal was a reality now, we would probably be like Lebanon, where you have Shia, Sunni and Christian leaders taking turn at leading the country. That is becuase the Brits had already done the damage in the Bengali society. Even after that it could have still been a good idea and significantly less loss of human lives that Bengal had experienced in 1947 and again in 1971.

For United Bengal to have become a reality - we would have to turn the clock back all the way back to 1757 Battle of Plassey, in an alternate universe where Mir Jafor didn't betray Nawab Siraj ud dawla and Bengal remained independent of British rule.

View attachment 64266
This is fascinating.
I don't want to answer you handicapped by being on a touchscreen keyboard.
I am home in a couple of days and will reply in detail.
Meanwhile you may have noticed that I am halfway through 'Bengal - The Unmaking Of A Nation'. One of the striking ideas from that preliminary reading is that by the end of the First Partition, there were four ethno-religious groups in Bengal. (cont.)
 

Joe Shearer

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It would have been good idea, if the Brits hadn't caused the first partition of Bengal in 1905. Please see my post above.

Even after that it could have still been a good idea and significantly less loss of human lives that Bengal had experienced in 1947 and again in 1971.
The four were -
# Muslim Bengali
# Hindu Bengali
# Muslim North Indian
# Hindu North Indian

and it was their permutations and combinations that formed the politics of Bengal in the period.

He goes very convincingly in this line - more when I am able to write freely.
 

Afif

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@Joe Shearer don't forget what you promised us. Because I am firmly waiting.....
 

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