Who was responsible for the partition of India in 1947?

Nasir Khan, June 29, 2017

In response to one of my articles, one commentator wrote a short comment. As the matter he touched needed my short response, I’m reproducing his comment followed by my reply:

DhanushDhari Misra: Mahatma Gandhi created Pakistan based on religion while he kept on fooling people saying “Pakistan … over my dead body.”

Nasir Khan: Mr DhanushDhari Misra – In my understanding of Gandhi, he stood for a united India, and not for what you say about his role in creating Pakistan. They were the British who patronised Jinnah in 1940s with a view to weaken the demands for Indian independence by the leaders of the Indian National Congress.

The major part in the partitioning of India was played by Jinnah and other leaders of the Two-Nation theory, whose demands ultimately led to the partitioning of India. In this the role of Hindu communalists also helped to shape the momentum for the Pakistan Movement. Gandhi was not a believer in the Two-Nation theory. He was acutely aware of the divergent religious communities that lived in India. But the question of the partitioning India on the basis of religious identities of so many religious communities was not something he ever accepted as a viable solution.

It is true that many right-wing Hindus and Hindutva organisations make historically untenable charges against Gandhi for the partition of India. These people are playing with facts. However, when faced with the reality of the partition, Gandhi had no choice but to give his assent. Here I am not trying to portray him as a political saint. He was human, and was a shrewd politician. He made many miscalculations like very other leaders did, but he was not a careerist who wanted to advance his ambitions by making bargains with the British rulers of India.


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