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The Dominion of India, officially the Union of India,* Quote: “The first collective use (of the word "dominion") occurred at the Colonial Conference (April to May 1907) when the title was conferred upon Canada and Australia. New Zealand and Newfoundland were afforded the designation in September of that same year, followed by South Africa in 1910. These were the only British possessions recognized as Dominions at the outbreak of war. In 1922, the Irish Free State was given Dominion status, followed by the short-lived inclusion of India and Pakistan in 1947 (although India was officially recognized as the Union of India). The Union of India became the Republic of India in 1950, while the became the Islamic Republic of Pakistan in 1956.” was an independent
dominion The word Dominion was used from 1907 to 1948 to refer to one of several self-governing colonies of the British Empire. "Dominion status" was formally accorded to Canada, Australia, Dominion of New Zealand, New Zealand, Dominion of Newfoundland ...

dominion
in the British
Commonwealth of Nations The Commonwealth of Nations, generally known simply as the Commonwealth, is a political association of 54 member states, almost all of which are former territories A territory is an administrative division, usually an area that is under the ...

Commonwealth of Nations
existing between 15 August 1947 and 26 January 1950. Until its creation, the Indian subcontinent, commonly called "India" in contemporary usage, had been ruled as an informal empire by the United Kingdom. The empire, also called the
British Raj The British Raj (; from ''rāj'', literally, "rule" in Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language of South Asia that belongs to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the In ...

British Raj
and sometimes the
British Indian Empire The British Raj (; from ''rāj'', literally, "rule" in Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', nominalization, nominally , ''saṃskṛtam'') is a classical language of South Asia belonging to the Indo-Aryan languages, ...
, consisted of regions, collectively called
British India The Provinces of India, earlier Presidencies of British India and still earlier, Presidency towns, were the administrative divisions of British governance in the Indian subcontinent. Collectively, they have been called British India. In one ...

British India
, that were directly administered by the British government, and regions, called the
princely state A princely state, also called a native state, feudatory state or Indian state (for those states on the subcontinent), was a under a local or indigenous or regional ruler in a with the and after 1858 with the . Though the history of the pri ...
s, that were ruled by Indian rulers under a system of
paramountcy Suzerainty () is a relationship in which one state or other polity controls the foreign policy and relations of a tributary state, while allowing the tributary state to have internal autonomy. The dominant state is called the "suzerain." Suzeraint ...
. The Dominion of India was formalised by the passage of the
Indian Independence Act 1947 The 1947 Indian Independence Act 947 c. 30 (10 & 11. Geo. 6.)is an of the that into the two new independent s of and . The Act received Royal Assent on 18 July 1947 and thus India and Pakistan, comprising West (modern day ) and East (modern ...
, which also formalised an independent
Dominion of Pakistan The Federation of Pakistan, also called the Dominion of Pakistan, was an independent federal dominion The word Dominion was used from 1907 to 1948 to refer to one of several self-governing colonies of the British Empire. "Dominion status" ...
—comprising the regions of British India that are today
Pakistan Pakistan, . Pronounced variably in English as , , , and . officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is a country in South Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies by population, fifth-most populous country, with a popul ...

Pakistan
and
Bangladesh Bangladesh (, bn, বাংলাদেশ, ), officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh, is a country in South Asia South Asia is the southern region of Asia, which is defined in both geography, geographical and culture, ethno-c ...

Bangladesh
. The Dominion of India remained "India" in common parlance but was geographically reduced. Under the Act, the British government relinquished all responsibility for administering its former territories. The government also revoked its treaty rights with the rulers of the princely states and advised them to join in a political union with India or Pakistan. Accordingly, the British monarch's regnal title, "
Emperor of India Emperor or Empress of India was a title used by British monarchs from 1 May 1876 (with the Royal Titles Act 1876) to 22 June 1948, that was used to signify their rule over British Raj, British India, as its imperial head of state. Royal Procl ...
," was abandoned. The Dominion of India came into existence as British India was both and beset with religious violence. Its creation had been preceded by a pioneering and influential anti-colonial nationalist movement which became a major factor in ending the British Raj. A new government was formed led by
Jawaharlal Nehru Jawaharlal Nehru (; ; ; 14 November 1889 – 27 May 1964) was an Indian Anti-colonial nationalism, anti-colonial nationalist, secular humanist, social democrat, and author who was a central figure in India during the middle third of ...

Jawaharlal Nehru
as prime minister, and
Vallabhbhai Patel Vallabhbhai Jhaverbhai Patel (; ; 31 October 1875 – 15 December 1950), endeared as Sardar, was an Indian statesman. He served as the first deputy Prime Minister of India The prime minister of India (), officially the prime minister o ...
as deputy prime minister, both members of the
Indian National Congress The Indian National Congress (often called the Congress Party or simply Congress, INC) is a with widespread roots. Founded in 1885, it was the first modern to emerge in the in Asia and Africa. From the late 19th century, and especially af ...
.
Lord Mountbatten Admiral of the Fleet Louis Francis Albert Victor Nicholas Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma (born Prince Louis of Battenberg; 25 June 1900 – 27 August 1979), was a British Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's N ...
, the last Viceroy, stayed on until June 1948 as independent India's first governor-general. The religious violence was soon stemmed in good part by the efforts of
Mahatma Gandhi Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (; ; 2 October 1869 – 30 January 1948) was an Indian lawyer, Anti-colonial nationalism, anti-colonial nationalist Quote: "... marks Gandhi as a hybrid cosmopolitan figure who transformed ... anti-colonial n ...

Mahatma Gandhi
, but not before resentment of him grew among some Hindus, eventually costing him his life. To Patel fell the responsibility for integrating the
princely states A princely state, also called a native state, feudatory state or Indian state (for those states on the subcontinent), was a vassal state A vassal state is any state that has a mutual obligation to a superior state or empire, in a status simi ...
of the British Indian Empire into the new India. Lasting through the remainder of 1947 and the better part of 1948, integration was accomplished by the means of inducements, and on occasion threats. It went smoothly except in the instances of
Junagadh State Junagarh or Junagadh was a princely state A princely state, also called a native state, feudatory state or Indian state (for those states on the subcontinent), was a vassal state under a local or indigenous or regional ruler in a subsidiar ...
,
Hyderabad State Hyderabad State (), also known as Hyderabad Deccan, was an Indian princely state A princely state, also called a native state, feudatory state or Indian state (for those states on the subcontinent), was a vassal state under a local or in ...
, and, especially, Kashmir and Jammu, the last leading to a war between India and Pakistan and to a dispute that has lasted until today. During this time, the new was drafted. It was based in large part on the
Government of India Act, 1935 The Government of India Act, 1935 was an Act of Parliament, Act adapted from the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It originally received royal assent in August 1935. It was the longest Act of (British) Parliament ever enacted until Greater Lond ...
of the British Raj, but also reflected some elements in the
Constitution of the United States The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles or established precedents that constitute the legal basis of a polity, organisation An organization, or orga ...
and the
Constitution of Ireland The Constitution of Ireland ( ga, Bunreacht na hÉireann, ) is the constitution, fundamental law of Republic of Ireland, Ireland. It asserts the national sovereignty of the Irish people. The constitution is broadly within the tradition of liberal ...
. The new constitution disavowed some aspects of India's ages-old past by abolishing
untouchability Untouchability is the practice of ostracising a group of people regarded as 'untouchables', as ascribed in the Hindu Hindus (; ) are persons who regard themselves as culturally, ethnically, or religiously adhering to aspects of Hindu ...
and derecognizing
caste Caste is a form of social stratification Social stratification refers to a society's categorization of its people into groups based on Socioeconomic status, socioeconomic factors like wealth, income, Race (human categorization), race, educati ...
distinctions. A major effort was made during this period to document the demographic changes accompanying the partition of British India. According to most demographers, between 14 and 18 million people moved between India and Pakistan as refugees of the partition, and upwards of one million people were killed. A major effort was also made to document the poverty prevalent in India. A committee appointed by the government in 1949, estimated the average annual income of an Indian to be Rs. 260 (or $55), with many earning well below that amount. The government faced low levels of literacy among its population, soon to be estimated at 23.54% for men and 7.62% for women in the 1951 Census of India. The government also began plans to improve the status of women. It bore fruit eventually in the passage of the
Hindu code bills The Hindu code bills were several laws passed in the 1950s that aimed to codify and reform Hindu personal law in India. Following Indian Independence Act 1947, India's independence in 1947, the Indian National Congress government led by Prime Mini ...
of the mid-1950s, which outlawed
patrilineality Patrilineality, also known as the male line, the spear side or agnatic kinship, is a common kinship In anthropology, kinship is the web of social relationships that form an important part of the lives of all humans in all societies, although ...
, marital deserton and child marriages, though evasion of the law continued for years thereafter. The Dominion of India lasted until 1950, whereupon India became a republic within the Commonwealth with a
president President most commonly refers to: *President (corporate title) A president is a leader of an organization, company, community, club, trade union, university or other group. The relationship between a president and a Chief Executive Officer, chi ...
as
head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona A persona (plural personae or personas), depending on the context, can refer to either the public image of one's personality, or the social role that one adopts, or a fictional ch ...
.


History


Background: 1946

By the early 1920s, the
Indian National Congress The Indian National Congress (often called the Congress Party or simply Congress, INC) is a with widespread roots. Founded in 1885, it was the first modern to emerge in the in Asia and Africa. From the late 19th century, and especially af ...
had become the principal leader of
Indian nationalism Indian nationalism developed as a concept during the Indian independence movement#REDIRECT Indian independence movement {{Rcat shell, {{R from move {{R from other capitalisation {{R unprintworthy ... which campaigned for independence ...
. Led by
Mahatma Gandhi Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (; ; 2 October 1869 – 30 January 1948) was an Indian lawyer, Anti-colonial nationalism, anti-colonial nationalist Quote: "... marks Gandhi as a hybrid cosmopolitan figure who transformed ... anti-colonial n ...

Mahatma Gandhi
, the Congress was to lead India to independence from the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shorth ...

United Kingdom
, and powerfully influence other anti-colonial nationalist movements in the
British Empire The British Empire was composed of the dominions, Crown colony, colonies, protectorates, League of Nations mandate, mandates, and other Dependent territory, territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. ...

British Empire
. The Congress's vision of an independent India based on
religious pluralism Catholic church, Mosque and Serbian Orthodox Church in Bosanska Krupa, Bosnia and Herzegovina Religious pluralism is an attitude or policy regarding the diversity of religion, religious belief systems co-existing in society. It can indicate one ...
was challenged in the early 1940s by a new Muslim nationalism, led by the
All-India Muslim League The All-India Muslim League (popularised as the Muslim League) was a political party established in 1906 in British India The provinces of India, earlier presidencies of British India and still earlier, presidency towns, were the administr ...
and
Muhammad Ali Jinnah Muhammad Ali Jinnah (; born Mahomedali Jinnahbhai; 25 December 1876 – 11 September 1948) was a barrister, politician and the founder of Pakistan. Jinnah served as the leader of the All-India Muslim League from 1913 until the inc ...

Muhammad Ali Jinnah
, which demanded a separate homeland for the Muslims of British India. Quote: "the Muslim League had only caught on among South Asian Muslims during the Second World War. ... By the late 1940s, the League and the Congress had impressed in the British their own visions of a free future for Indian people. ... one, articulated by the Congress, rested on the idea of a united, plural India as a home for all Indians and the other, spelt out by the League, rested on the foundation of Muslim nationalism and the carving out of a separate Muslim homeland." (p. 18) In the 1945 general elections in Britain,
Labour Party Labour Party or Labor Party may refer to: Angola *MPLA, known for some years as "Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola – Labour Party" Antigua and Barbuda *Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party Argentina *Labour Party (Argentina) Armenia ...
won. A government headed by
Clement Attlee Clement Richard Attlee, 1st Earl Attlee, (3 January 18838 October 1967) was a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom The prime minister of the United Kingdom is the head of government The head o ...

Clement Attlee
, with
Stafford Cripps Sir Richard Stafford Cripps (24 April 1889 – 21 April 1952) was a British Labour Party politician, barrister, and diplomat. A wealthy lawyer by background, he first entered Parliament at a by-election in 1931, and was one of a handful of La ...
and Lord Pethick-Lawrence in the Cabinet, was sworn in. Many in the new government, including Attlee, had a long history of supporting the decolonization of India. Late in 1946, the Labour government, its exchequer, and population, moreover, exhausted by the Second World War, decided to end British rule in India, and in early 1947 Britain announced its intention of transferring power no later than June 1948. Earlier in 1946, elections had been called in India. The Congress had won electoral victories in eight of the eleven provinces. The negotiations between the Congress and the Muslim League, however, stalled over the issue of a division of India. Jinnah proclaimed August 16, 1946 "
Direct Action Day Direct Action Day (16 August 1946), also known as the 1946 Calcutta Killings, was a day of nationwide protest by the Indian Muslim community announced by Jinnah. It led to large-scale violence between Muslims and Hindus in the city of Calcutta ...
" with the stated goal of peacefully highlighting the demand for a Muslim homeland in British India. The following day Hindu-Muslim riots broke out in Calcutta and quickly spread throughout India. Although the Government of India and the Congress were both shaken by the course of events, a Congress-led interim government was installed in September, with Jawaharlal Nehru as united India’s prime minister.


Independence: 1947

As independence approached, the violence between Hindus and Muslims in the provinces of Punjab and Bengal continued. With the British army unprepared for the potential for increased violence, the new viceroy,
Louis Mountbatten Admiral of the Fleet Louis Francis Albert Victor Nicholas Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma (born Prince Louis of Battenberg; 25 June 1900 – 27 August 1979), was a British Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's N ...
, advanced the date for the transfer of power, allowing less than six months for a mutually agreed plan for independence. In June 1947 the nationalist leaders, including Nehru and
Abul Kalam Azad Abul Kalam Ghulam Muhiyuddin Ahmed bin Khairuddin Al-Hussaini Azad (11 November 1888 – 22 February 1958) was an Indian scholar, Islamic theologian, Indian independence movement, independence activist, and a senior leader of the Indian Nat ...
on behalf of the Congress, Jinnah representing the Muslim League,
B. R. Ambedkar Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar (; 14 April 1891 – 6 December 1956), also known as Babasaheb Ambedkar (), was an Indian jurist A jurist is a person with expert knowledge of law; someone who analyses and comments on law. This person is usua ...

B. R. Ambedkar
representing the Untouchable community, and
Master Tara Singh Master Tara Singh (24 June 1885 – 22 November 1967) was a Sikh political and religious leader in the first half of the 20th century. He was instrumental in organising the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabhandak Committee and guiding the Sikhs during t ...

Master Tara Singh
representing the
Sikhs Sikhs ( or ; pa, ਸਿੱਖ, ', ) are people who adhere to Sikhism, a monotheistic religion that originated in the late 15th century '' by Francisco Pradilla Ortiz, 1882: Muhammad XII surrenders to Ferdinand and Isabella The 15th ...
, agreed to a along religious lines in opposition to Gandhi's views. The predominantly Hindu and Sikh areas were assigned to the new India and predominantly Muslim areas to the new nation of
Pakistan Pakistan, . Pronounced variably in English as , , , and . officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is a country in South Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies by population, fifth-most populous country, with a popul ...

Pakistan
; the plan included a partition of the Muslim-majority provinces of Punjab and Bengal. On 14 August 1947, the new
Dominion of Pakistan The Federation of Pakistan, also called the Dominion of Pakistan, was an independent federal dominion The word Dominion was used from 1907 to 1948 to refer to one of several self-governing colonies of the British Empire. "Dominion status" ...
came into being, with Muhammad Ali Jinnah sworn in as its first Governor-General in
Karachi Karachi (; ur, ; ; ALA-LC ALA-LC (American Library Association - Library of Congress) is a set of standards for romanization, the representation of text in other writing systems using the Latin script. Applications The system is used to re ...

Karachi
. The following day, 15 August 1947, the Dominion of India (officially the ''Union of India''), became an independent country with official ceremonies taking place in
New Delhi New Delhi (, ''Naī Dillī'') is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majusc ...

New Delhi
, and with Jawaharlal Nehru assuming the office of the
prime minister A prime minister or a premier is the head of the cabinet Cabinet or The Cabinet may refer to: Furniture * Cabinetry, a box-shaped piece of furniture with doors and/or drawers * Display cabinet, a piece of furniture with one or more transpa ...

prime minister
, and the viceroy, Louis Mountbatten, staying on as its first Governor General. Mountbatten's decision to hasten the transfer of power has received both praise and criticism over the years. Supporters feel that an early transfer had the effect of forcing Indian politicians into abandoning petty quarrels and accepting their obligations in stopping an outrage that Great Britain was no longer able to control. Critics feel that if the British had stayed on for another year, had institutions in place for a transition, had the army readied in troublesome areas, a less violent transfer might have resulted.


Partition: 1947

The
Radcliffe Commission Radcliffe or Radcliff may refer to: Places * Radcliffe Line, a border between India and Pakistan United Kingdom * Radcliffe, Greater Manchester ** Radcliffe Tower, the remains of a medieval manor house in the town ** Radcliffe tram stop * Rad ...
, tasked with assigning each district to either Pakistan or India, announced its award on 17 August 1947, two days after the transfer of power. It divided the Sikh-dominated regions of the
Punjab Punjab (; ; ; ; also as Panjāb or Panj-Āb) is a geopolitical, cultural, and in , specifically in the northern part of the , comprising areas of eastern and . The boundaries of the region are ill-defined and focus on historical accounts. ...

Punjab
in equal proportion between the two dominions. Sikh groups, which had feared the worst, had been preparing to mount a vigorous opposition to the award. To counter the expected violence, the British Raj government had formed a 50,000-strong ''Indian Boundary Force''. When the violence began, the Force proved ineffectual. Most units, which had been recruited locally, had stronger ties to one or other of Punjab's three religious groups, rendering them unable to maintain neutrality under stress. In a matter of days, Sikhs and Hindus of the East Punjab were suddenly and unexpectedly attacking the Muslims there, and in the West Punjab, Muslims were returning the violence and the ferocity on the Sikhs. Trains taking the refugees to their new lands were stopped, their occupants slaughtered regardless of age and gender. Long lines of humans and ox-carts travelling East and West to their new dominions were intercepted and overwhelmed. The Hindu refugees from the west Punjab arriving in Delhi ended up tearing away the Muslim community there from their established cultural patterns and values, and temporarily destabilized the new government. The death toll in the partition violence may never be known, but Judge G. D. Khosla, in ''Stern Reckoning'' thought it to be about 500,000. In addition there was what historian Percival Spear has called "an involuntary exchange of population," which might be been of the order of five and a half million travelling each way across the new border. From Sind, some 400,000 Hindus migrated to India, as did a million Hindus from East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) to West Bengal province in India. Migrations coming in the wake of the massacres severely taxed the strength of the new government.


Settling the refugees

The religious killings had abated by the Autumn of 1947, but the government was weighed down with the responsibility of settling the refugees. In the Punjab, there was land available recently vacated by the Muslims; in Delhi, there was a glut of incoming Hindu and Sikh refugees: many more were arriving there than were Muslims departing for Pakistan. The refugees were settled in several enclosed areas on the outskirts of Delhi. But they had soon overflowed into the streets and even occupied mosques. They attempted to take possession the
Purana Qila Purana Qila () is one of the oldest forts in Delhi Delhi (; ''Dillī''; ''Dillī''; ''Dêhlī''), officially the National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi, is a city and a of containing , the capital of India. * * * Straddling the ...

Purana Qila
, or ''Old Fort''—ruins from the
Delhi Sultanate The Delhi Sultanate was an Islam Islam (; ar, اَلْإِسْلَامُ, al-’Islām, "submission o God Oh God may refer to: * An exclamation; similar to "oh no", "oh yes", "oh my", "aw goodness", "ah gosh", "ah gawd"; see int ...
—which were milling with Muslims waiting to be expatriated to Pakistan. Religious passions were running high; a
pogrom A pogrom is a violent riot Rioters wearing scarves to conceal their identity and filter tear gas A riot () is a form of civil disorder Civil disorder, also known as civil disturbance, civil unrest, or social unrest is an activity arising ...
of the remaining Muslims in Delhi was feared. His mission of quelling the violence in Bengal accomplished, Mahatma Gandhi arrived in Delhi in October 1947. His new mission was to bring back the peace in the city, and this entailed standing up for the embattled Muslims. He chose to direct his activities from the
scheduled caste The Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) are officially designated groups of people and among the most disadvantaged socio-economic groups in India. The terms are recognized in the Constitution of India The Constitution of ...
(or "untouchables') "Balmiki Temple" in the Gole Market area of the city. (Eventually, as the temple was requisitioned for sheltering the incoming refugees, Gandhi moved to two rooms in
Birla HouseBirla may refer to: * Birla family * Members of the Birla family: ** Aditya Vikram Birla ** Ananya Birla ** Basant Kumar Birla ** Ghanshyam Das Birla Ghanshyam Das Birla (10 April 1894 – 11 June 1983) was a pioneering Indian businessman a ...
, a large mansion in central Delhi.) Some groups within the Indian government opposed Gandhi's activities. Soon another issue sprouted up. The
partition of India The partition of India was the division of British India The Provinces of India, earlier Presidencies of British India and still earlier, Presidency towns, were the administrative divisions of British governance in the Indian subcon ...

partition of India
had not just been a division of the land of
British India The Provinces of India, earlier Presidencies of British India and still earlier, Presidency towns, were the administrative divisions of British governance in the Indian subcontinent. Collectively, they have been called British India. In one ...

British India
; it had also involved a division of its assets. Assets whose amounts had been negotiated earlier needed to be transferred from India (where the treasury was) to Pakistan. The Indian government had withheld this payment in order to pressure Pakistan over the burgeoning crisis in
Kashmir Kashmir, ks, کٔشیٖر, kaśīr () is the northernmost geographical region of the Indian subcontinent. Until the mid-19th century, the term "Kashmir" denoted only the Kashmir Valley The Kashmir Valley, also known as the ''Vale ...

Kashmir
; India feared an onslaught from Pakistan during the dreaded winter months. On 12 January 1948, Gandhi, who had turned 78 the previous October went on a hunger strike. The preconditions of its ending were the full payment of the cash assets, the signing of a peace accord in Delhi, and the evacuation of the mosques. Brown (1991), p. 380: "Despite and indeed because of his sense of helplessness Delhi was to be the scene of what he called his greatest fast. ... His decision was made suddenly, though after considerable thought – he gave no hint of it even to Nehru and Patel who were with him shortly before he announced his intention at a prayer-meeting on 12 January 1948. He said he would fast until communal peace was restored, real peace rather than the calm of a dead city imposed by police and troops. Patel and the government took the fast partly as condemnation of their decision to withhold a considerable cash sum still outstanding to Pakistan as a result of the allocation of undivided India's assets because the hostilities that had broken out in Kashmir; ... But even when the government agreed to pay out the cash, Gandhi would not break his fast: that he would only do after a large number of important politicians and leaders of communal bodies agreed to a joint plan for restoration of normal life in the city." When the Government of India relented and agreed to transfer the assets on 18 January 1948, and the peace accord stood signed, Gandhi ended his fast.


War over Kashmir

The
princely state A princely state, also called a native state, feudatory state or Indian state (for those states on the subcontinent), was a under a local or indigenous or regional ruler in a with the and after 1858 with the . Though the history of the pri ...
of
Kashmir Kashmir, ks, کٔشیٖر, kaśīr () is the northernmost geographical region of the Indian subcontinent. Until the mid-19th century, the term "Kashmir" denoted only the Kashmir Valley The Kashmir Valley, also known as the ''Vale ...
was created in 1846, after the defeat of the
Sikh empire The Sikh Empire ( fa, , Sarkār-ē-Khālsā, lit=Government of the Khalsa; pa, , ਸਿੱਖ ਖ਼ਾਲਸਾ ਰਾਜ , Sikkh Khālsā Rāj, lit=Sikh Khalsa rule), also known as the Punjab Empire, was a state originating in the Indian ...

Sikh empire
by the British in the
First Anglo-Sikh War The First Anglo-Sikh War was fought between the Sikh Empire The Sikh Empire ( fa, , Sarkār-ē-Khālsā, lit=Government of the Khalsa; pa, , ਸਿੱਖ ਖ਼ਾਲਸਾ ਰਾਜ , Sikkh Khālsā Rāj, lit=Sikh Khalsa rule), al ...
. Upon the purchase of the region from the British under the Treaty of Amritsar, the Raja of Jammu,
Gulab Singh Maharaja Gulab Singh (1792–1857) was the founder of Dogra dynasty and the first Maharaja Mahārāja ; (also spelled Maharajah, Maharaj) is a Sanskrit title for a "great ruler", "great Monarch, king" or "high king". A few ruled mighty ...

Gulab Singh
, became the new ruler of Kashmir. The rule of his descendants, under the ''paramountcy'' (or tutelage) of the
British Crown The Crown is the state (polity), state in all its aspects within the jurisprudence of the Commonwealth realms and their subdivisions (such as the Crown Dependencies, British Overseas Territories, overseas territories, Provinces and territorie ...

British Crown
, lasted until the
Partition of India The partition of India was the division of British India The Provinces of India, earlier Presidencies of British India and still earlier, Presidency towns, were the administrative divisions of British governance in the Indian subcon ...

Partition of India
in 1947. Kashmir was connected to India through the Gurdaspur district in the Punjab region. However, its population was 77% Muslim and it shared a border with what would later become Pakistan. A significant portion of its economic activity had taken place down the Jhelum river with the Punjab region of Pakistan. Gulab Singh's descendant,
Hari Singh Maharaja Sir Hari Singh (23 September 1895 – 26 April 1961) was the last ruling Maharaja of the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir (princely state), Jammu and Kashmir. Hari Singh was the son of Amar Singh and Bhotiali Chib. In 1923, foll ...

Hari Singh
, who was the reigning Maharaja of Kashmir in August 1947, had signed a "standstill agreement" with Pakistan to facilitate trade and communication. According to historian
Burton Stein Burton Stein (1926 – April 26, 1996) was an American historian, whose area of specialization was India. Life and career Stein was born and grew up in Chicago, Illinois (''City in a Garden''); I Will , image_map = , map_c ...
,
It was anticipated that he would accede to Pakistan when the British paramountcy ended. When he hesitated to do this, Pakistan launched a guerrilla onslaught meant to frighten its ruler into submission. Instead the Maharaja appealed to
Mountbatten The Mountbatten family is a British dynasty originating as a cadet branch of the German princely Battenberg family The Battenberg family was formerly a morganatic branch of the House of Hesse-Darmstadt, rulers of the Grand Duchy of Hesse in ...
Viscount Louis Mountbatten, the last Viceroy of British India, stayed on in independent India from 1947 to 1948, serving as the first Governor-General of the Union of India. for assistance, and the governor-general agreed on the condition that the ruler accede to India. Indian soldiers entered Kashmir and drove the Pakistani-sponsored irregulars from all but a small section of the state. The United Nations was then invited to mediate the quarrel. The UN mission insisted that the opinion of Kashmiris must be ascertained, while India insisted that no referendum could occur until all of the state had been cleared of irregulars. Stein, Burton. 2010. ''A History of India''. Oxford University Press. 432 pages. . Page 358.
In the last days of 1948, a ceasefire was agreed under UN auspices. However, since the
plebiscite A referendum (plural: referendums or less commonly referenda) is a direct Direct may refer to: Mathematics * Directed set In mathematics Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number th ...
demanded by the UN was never conducted, relations between India and Pakistan soured, and eventually led to two more wars over Kashmir in
1965 Events January * January 1 January 1 or 1 January is the first day of the year in the . There are 364 days remaining until the end of the year (365 in s). This day is known as since the day marks the beginning of the year. __TOC__ ...
and
1999 1999 was designated as the International Year of Older PersonsIn its Proclamation on Aging, the United Nations General Assembly decided to declare 1999 as the International Year of Older Persons. The proclamation was launched on 1 October 1 ...

1999
.


Death of Gandhi

Some Indians were incensed by Gandhi's last fast and accused him of being too accommodating to both Muslims and Pakistan. Among them was Nathuram Godse, a Hindu nationalist, a member of the political party
Hindu Mahasabha 350px, A group photo taken in Shimoga in 1944 when Vinayak Damodar Savarkar (seated fourth from right, second row) came to address the State-level Hindu Mahasabha conference. The late Bhoopalam Chandrashekariah, president of the Hindu Mahasabha ...
as well as a former member of the
Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, (; Hindi language, Hindi: राष्ट्रीय स्वयंसेवक संघ, , , ), is an Indian Right-wing politics, right-wing, Hindu nationalist, paramilitary volunteer organisation. The RSS i ...
(RSS), a right-wing Hindu paramilitary volunteer organization. Quote: "The apotheosis of this contrast is the assassination of Gandhi in 1948 by a militant Nathuram Godse, on the basis of his 'weak' accommodationist approach towards the new state of Pakistan." (p. 544) On 30 January 1948, Godse assassinated Gandhi in Birla House as Gandhi was on his way to his evening prayer meeting there, shooting Gandhi in the chest three times. Later that evening, Nehru addressed the nation by radio:
Friends and comrades, the light has gone out of our lives, and there is darkness everywhere, and I do not quite know what to tell you or how to say it. Our beloved leader, Bapu as we called him, the father of the nation, is no more. Perhaps I am wrong to say that; nevertheless, we will not see him again, as we have seen him for these many years, we will not run to him for advice or seek solace from him, and that is a terrible blow, not only for me, but for millions and millions in this country.
Gandhi was mourned around the world. The British prime minister
Clement Attlee Clement Richard Attlee, 1st Earl Attlee, (3 January 18838 October 1967) was a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom The prime minister of the United Kingdom is the head of government The head o ...

Clement Attlee
said in a radio address to the United Kingdom on the night of 30 January 1948:
Everyone will have learnt with profound horror of the brutal murder of Mr Gandhi and I know that I am expressing the views of the British people in offering to his fellow-countrymen our deep sympathy in the loss of their greatest citizen. Mahatma Gandhi, as he was known in India, was one of the outstanding figures in the world today, ... For a quarter of a century this one man has been the major factor in every consideration of the Indian problem.
After the mourning period was over, the finger of blame was firmly pointed at the Hindu extremists who had plotted the assassination, bringing not only them into disrepute, but Hindu nationalism in general, which did not recover its political reputation until many decades later. The Deputy Prime Minister, Sardar Patel, who was also the Home Minister, was reproached for inadequate security arrangements. Gandhi's loss had the effect of giving Nehru more power. According to historian Percival Spear, "The government was really a
duumvirate A diarchy (from Greek , ''di-'', "double", and , ''-arkhía'', "ruled"). or duumvirate (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originall ...
between him (Nehru), who represented the idealism and left wing tendencies of the party, and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the realist and party boss from Gujarat who leaned to authoritarianism, orthodoxy, and big business." At Gandhi's pressing, Patel had twice put off claiming the prime ministership. It was thought he might assert his claim now, but Gandhi's loss had affected him equally deeply, and although there was still some discord between him and Nehru, he buried himself resolutely in his work on the integration of the princely states. By the year's end, this was complete. Patel died in 1950, and thereafter, Nehru ruled without any opposition.


Political integration of princely states

Two matters had been left unsettled from the years: the integration of the princely states and the drawing up of a constitution and were addressed in that order. There were 362 princely states in India. The premier 21-gun salute state of Hyderabad had an area of . Its population was 17 million. At the other end of the spectrum, some two hundred states had an area of less than . The British had revoked their treaty rights and advised them to join in a political union with India or Pakistan. For a short time the
Nawab of Bhopal The Nawabs of Bhopal were the Muslim rulers of Bhopal, now part of Madhya Pradesh, India India (Hindi: ), officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population ...
and some British political agents attempted to form a third "political force," but the princes were unable to trust each other. By 15 August, all but three had acceded. Even after accession, there remained the question of deciding the place of the princes in the new political union. Sardar Patel and his assistant V. P. Menon employed a combination of threats and inducements, the latter including special privileges and tax-free pensions. Within a few months, all the states that had acceded in August 1947 had been blended in some fashion into a new federal union.
Baroda State Baroda State was a state in present-day Gujarat, ruled by the Gaekwad dynasty of the Maratha Confederacy from its formation in 1721 until its Instrument of Accession, accession to the newly formed Dominion of India in 1949. With the city of Baro ...

Baroda State
and
Kathiawar Kathiawar () is a peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from 'almost' and 'island') is a landform A landform is a natural or artificial feature of the solid surface of the Earth or other planetary body A planet is an astronomic ...

Kathiawar
were combined to form the new federal unit of Saurashtra; and the states of
Rajputana Rājputhana, meaning "Land of the Rajputs", was a region in South Asia that included mainly the present-day States of India, Indian state of Rajasthan, as well as parts of Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, and some adjoining areas of Sindh in modern ...

Rajputana
were united to form
Rajasthan Rajasthan (; ; lit. 'Land of Kings') is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspa ...

Rajasthan
. The princely states of
Travancore The Kingdom of Travancore (Help:IPA/English, /ˈtrævənkɔːr/), also known as the Kingdom of Thiruvithamkoor, was an Indian kingdom from c. 1729 until 1949. It was ruled by the Travancore Royal Family from Padmanabhapuram, and later Thiruva ...
and
Cochin , settlement_type = Metropolis in the background A metropolis () is a large city or conurbation which is a significant economic, political, and cultural center for a country or region, and an important hub for regional or int ...

Cochin
became
Kerala Kerala ( ; ) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper ...

Kerala
. Mysore being large in extent and population became a federal unit by itself. Hundreds of small states were absorbed and soon became lost within larger federal units. Some former princes such as those of Mysore and Travancore were given titular leadership roles, called "
Rajpramukh Rajpramukh was an administrative title in India India (Hindi: ), officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, second-most populous country, the List of ...
" (lit. "state leader"), in the new federal units, but their former power was absent, and the political structure was invariantly democratic. Other former princes went into public service or private business. After 1950, they survived as historical vestiges but were no longer political determinants in the new India. Except for Kashmir, where a major military conflict had begun in October 1947, two states, Hyderabad, and Junagadh had remained independent. Junagadh was a small state on the coast of the
Kathiawar peninsula Kathiawar () is a peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from ' "almost" and ' "island") is a landform surrounded by water on most of its border while being connected to a mainland from which it extends. The surrounding water is usually under ...
, but its land border was with India. It had a majority Hindu population but with a Muslim Nawab. The Nawab acceded to Pakistan after independence. Within a few weeks, Indian troops marched into Junagadh. A
plebiscite A referendum (plural: referendums or less commonly referenda) is a direct Direct may refer to: Mathematics * Directed set In mathematics Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number th ...
took place and was declared for India. Although Pakistan protested, it took no further action. Hyderabad was in a different class. Although it had an 85%-Hindu population, its Muslim rule had begun during the
Mughal period The Mughal, Mogul, or Moghul Empire was an early modern The early modern period of modern history Human history, or world history, is the narrative of 's past. It is understood through , , , and , and since the , from and s. ...
. The ruling Nizams had proclaimed themselves to be equal allies of the British rather than
subordinates A hierarchy (from the Ancient Greek, Greek: , from , 'president of sacred rites') is an arrangement of items (objects, names, values, categories, etc.) in which the items are represented as being "above", "below", or "at the same level as" one ano ...
. But the state was landlocked, surrounded on all sides by India. "No Indian government," according to Percival Spear, "could afford to have a block of land so placed independent and perhaps hostile." The Nizam had rejected generous terms for accession brokered by the British. Eventually, when he allowed the power of an extremist organization, the
RazakarsRazakar (رضا کار) is etymologically an Arabic word which literally means volunteer. The word is also common in Urdu language as a loanword. On the other hand, in Bangladesh, razakar is a pejorative word meaning a traitor or Judas. In Pakistan ...

Razakars
, to grow within his state, India militarily invaded the state in what was called a "police action," incorporating Hyderabad into its federal structure.


Framing the new constitution

The final achievement of the period of transition was the new constitution. It was drafted by the Constituent Assembly with uncommon speed and absence of irregularities between 1946 and 1949. The
Government of India Act, 1935 The Government of India Act, 1935 was an Act of Parliament, Act adapted from the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It originally received royal assent in August 1935. It was the longest Act of (British) Parliament ever enacted until Greater Lond ...
was used as a model and framework. Long passages from the Act were included. The constitution describes a federal state with a parliamentary system of democracy. The federal structure is conspicuous for the strength of the central government, which has exclusively exercised control of defence, foreign affairs, railways, ports, and currency. The President, the constitutional head of government, has reserve powers for taking over the administration of a state. The central legislature has two houses, the ''
Lok Sabha The Lok Sabha, constitutionally A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles A principle is a proposition or value that is a guide for behavior or evaluation. In law, it is a rule Rule or ruling may refer to: Human ...

Lok Sabha
'' whose delegates are directly elected by the people in general elections every five years, and the ''
Rajya Sabha The Rajya Sabha, constitutionally A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles A principle is a proposition or value that is a guide for behavior or evaluation. In law, it is a rule Rule or ruling may refer to: Huma ...

Rajya Sabha
'', whose members are nominated by the elected representatives in the states. There are also features not to be found in the Act of 1935. The definition of fundamental rights is based on the
Constitution of the United States The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles or established precedents that constitute the legal basis of a polity, organisation An organization, or orga ...
, and the constitutional directives, or goals of endeavour, are based on the
Constitution of Ireland The Constitution of Ireland ( ga, Bunreacht na hÉireann, ) is the constitution, fundamental law of Republic of Ireland, Ireland. It asserts the national sovereignty of the Irish people. The constitution is broadly within the tradition of liberal ...
. An Indian institution recommended by the constitution is the ''
panchayat The Panchayat raj (''panchayat'' "village council", '' raj'' "rule") is a political system In political science Political science is the scientific study of politics Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associat ...

panchayat
'' or village committees.
Untouchability Untouchability is the practice of ostracising a group of people regarded as 'untouchables', as ascribed in the Hindu Hindus (; ) are persons who regard themselves as culturally, ethnically, or religiously adhering to aspects of Hindu ...
is illegal (Article 17) and caste distinctions are derecognized (Articles 15(2) and 16(2)). The promulgation of the Indian constitution transformed India into a republic within the Commonwealth.


Dominion Constitution and Government

India as a free and independent dominion within the
British Commonwealth of Nations British may refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * British people, nationals or natives of the United Kingdom, British Overseas Territories, and Crown Dependencies. ** Britishness, the British identity and common culture * British English, t ...
(its title changed in 1949 to "Commonwealth of Nations") came into existence on 15 August 1947 under the provisions of the
Indian Independence Act 1947 The 1947 Indian Independence Act 947 c. 30 (10 & 11. Geo. 6.)is an of the that into the two new independent s of and . The Act received Royal Assent on 18 July 1947 and thus India and Pakistan, comprising West (modern day ) and East (modern ...
which had received royal assent on 18 July 1947. This act, along with the
Government of India Act, 1935 The Government of India Act, 1935 was an Act of Parliament, Act adapted from the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It originally received royal assent in August 1935. It was the longest Act of (British) Parliament ever enacted until Greater Lond ...
( text here) the latter to be suitably amended to the changed context, served as the constitution of the dominion. Under the Indian Independence Act, the British government relinquished all responsibility of governing the territories that formerly constituted
British India The Provinces of India, earlier Presidencies of British India and still earlier, Presidency towns, were the administrative divisions of British governance in the Indian subcontinent. Collectively, they have been called British India. In one ...

British India
; the legislatures of the new dominions could "repeal or amend" any existing act of the British parliament; no future act of the British parliament would extend to the dominions unless extended so and enacted by the dominion legislature. Reflecting the changed status, the royal style and titles "Indiae Imperator" and "Emperor of India" was abandoned. In January 1949, India consisted of nine Governors’ Provinces, Madras, Bombay, West Bengal, the United Provinces, East Punjab, Bihar, the Central Provinces and Berar, Assam and Orissa; five Chief Commissioners’ Provinces, Delhi, Ajmer-Merwara, Coorg, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and Panth Piploda; and around 500
princely states A princely state, also called a native state, feudatory state or Indian state (for those states on the subcontinent), was a vassal state A vassal state is any state that has a mutual obligation to a superior state or empire, in a status simi ...
. ''The Statesman's Yearbook'' (1949) stated, "The Governors’ Provinces and the Chief Commissioners’ Provinces are under the sovereignty of His Majesty the King of the United Kingdom." The princely states were governed by rulers who had ceded power in the areas of defence, external affairs, and communications to the dominion; such states were called "Acceding States." The provinces comprised approximately three-fourths of the dominion's population and three-fifths of the area. Constitutionally, the Dominion was a federation with authority and responsibility devolving in the following manner. In the case of the Governors' Provinces: in the areas of defence, external affairs, currency and coinage, and communications, authority and responsibility lay with the Dominion legislature; in the administration of justice, public health, religious endowments, land and education, among others, authority lay with the provincial legislature; in the criminal law and procedure, marriage and divorce, succession, factories, labour welfare, workmen’s compensation, health, insurance and old-age pensions, responsibility lay concurrently with both, with overriding powers to the Dominion. In the case of the Chief Commissioners' Provinces: the administration was directly by the central government, with the plenary power of legislation belonging to the Dominion legislature. In the case of the Princely States, the areas of legislation which they chose to hand over to the Dominion were expected to be specified in the Instruments of Accession" that were executed by the rulers and accepted the Governor-General; these areas were limited largely to defence, external affairs and communications. The executive authority of the Dominion was exercised on behalf of King George VI by the Governor-General, who acted on the advice of his Council of Ministers. The cabinet system of responsible government prevailed at the centre. By convention, the cabinet includes members of minority and backward communities. The Chief Commissioners’ Provinces were administered by the Governor-General through a Chief Commissioner appointed by him. The power to legislate in the Dominion legislature lay with the Constituent Assembly. The allotment of seats to Provinces and Princely States in this assembly were approximately in the ratio of one seat to a million individuals in the population. In the instance of Governors' Provinces, seats were distributed between the main religious communities (General (which included Hindus), Muslims, and in the East Punjab, Sikh) in each provinces in proportion to their population. The representatives from each Governors' Province were elected by the Lower House of the provincial legislature, the voting being by the method of proportional representation with single Instant-runoff voting , transferable vote, with the members of the main communities voting in separate constituencies. Of the assembly representatives allotted to the Princely States, half were elected by the State legislatures (or other representative bodies); the remainder was nominated by the ruler. The plan of the Constituent Assembly of India was drawn up during the
British Raj The British Raj (; from ''rāj'', literally, "rule" in Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language of South Asia that belongs to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the In ...

British Raj
, following negotiations between nationalist leaders and the 1946 Cabinet Mission to India. Its members were elected by the new provincial assemblies formed after the 1946 Indian provincial elections held in January. The Constituent Assembly had 299 representatives, consisting of 200 men and nine women. The Interim Government of India was formed on 2 September 1946 from the newly elected members of the Constituent Assembly. The Indian National Congress secured 69 percent of all of the seats, whereas the Muslim League had a smaller number, but significantly all of the seats that were reserved for Muslims. There were also fewer numbers from other parties, such as the Scheduled Caste Federation, the Communist Party of India, and the Unionist Party (Punjab), Unionist Party. In June 1947, members from the provinces of Sindh, East Bengal, Baluchistan (Chief Commissioners Province), Baluchistan, Punjab, Pakistan, West Punjab, and the North-West Frontier Province (1901–1955), North West Frontier Province withdrew to form the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan, which met in
Karachi Karachi (; ur, ; ; ALA-LC ALA-LC (American Library Association - Library of Congress) is a set of standards for romanization, the representation of text in other writing systems using the Latin script. Applications The system is used to re ...

Karachi
. On 15 August 1947, all the members of the Constituent Assembly who had not withdrawn to Karachi came to constitute the Dominion of India's legislature. Only 28 members of the Muslim League finally joined. Later, 93 members were nominated from the List of Indian Princely States, princely states. The Congress secured a majority of 82%. Jawaharlal Nehru took charge as Prime Minister of India on 15 August 1947. Vallabhbhai Patel served as the Deputy Prime Minister of India, Deputy Prime Minister.
Lord Mountbatten Admiral of the Fleet Louis Francis Albert Victor Nicholas Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma (born Prince Louis of Battenberg; 25 June 1900 – 27 August 1979), was a British Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's N ...
, and later C. Rajagopalachari, served as Governor-General of India, Governor-General until 26 January 1950, when Rajendra Prasad was elected as the first President of India. Ramachandra Guha
"India After Gandhi"
Picador India, 2007.
Nehru's cabinet of 15 included one woman.


Demographics

The major demographic effort in the period was directed at measuring the effects of the Partition of India. The creation of Pakistan decisively depended on the proportionally high percentages of Muslims in certain geographical areas of the subcontinent. In the 1941 census, 24.3% of pre-independent India was recorded to be Muslim. In addition, 76 of the 435 districts in India had Muslim majority populations. These districts were home to 60% of the 94.4 million Muslims. The Muslim population was clustered in two regions: the northwest, which included the Punjab, and the east, which included a large part of Bengal. These Muslim-majority districts were to constitute the western and eastern half of Pakistan that came into being in 1947. But there was also a fairly large and spatially spread out minority population of Muslims in India, and a minority of Hindus in Pakistan. It was therefore inevitable that there would be an exchange of the populations involving migration of Muslims into West and East Pakistan and migrations of non-Muslims (mainly Hindus, but also Sikhs in the northwest) from Pakistan into India. File:Brit IndianEmpireReligions3.jpg, India: the prevailing religions, 1909, Imperial Gazetteer of India. File:Hindu percent 1909.jpg, 1909 Percentage of Hindus. File:Muslim percent 1909.jpg, 1909 Percentage of Muslims. File:Sikhs buddhists jains percent1909.jpg, 1909 Percentage of Sikhs and others. The majority of the population movement associated with the Partition occurred in the period immediately before and after August 1947. Although many people did die in the religious violence, many also perished for reasons only indirectly related to violence. According to historical demographer Tim Dyson:
It is damning that the British authorities made few preparations to cope with vast numbers of refugees. Many people died from exhaustion, starvation, crowding, and in epidemics.
The systems of administration of the Punjab and Bengal were disrupted not only because of the turmoil but also the boundary changes. As a consequence, the systems in place for the registration of populations in the censuses were affected severely. Analysis of birth statistics in India suggests that most research on the demographic effects of the Partition are based on the 1931 and 1941 censuses of British India and some incomplete information from the 1951 censuses of India and Pakistan in both of which citizens were queried about Partition-related migrations. In addition, census data based on comparison of the 1941 and 1951 censuses, showed only long term effects; for example, in Bengal, it proved difficult to separate the effects of the Bengal famine of 1943 and the 1947 Partition. Still, one study by Bharadwaj, Khwaja, and Mian using 1951 census data has suggested that during the period 1947–1951 the Partition caused approximately 14.5 million people to migrate into (i.e. arrived in) India or Pakistan. The authors also estimated that during the same period 17.9 million people left India to go to Pakistan or vice-versa, suggesting a figure of 3.4 million missing people. Refugee movement across the border in Bengal was a third of that in the northwest. 25% of Pakistani Punjab's population had come from India; 16% of Indian Punjab's population had come from Pakistan. In contrast, only 2% of the population of East Pakistan (as recorded in the 1951 census) had migrated from India. The disparity was chalked to the greater perception of the threat of violence in the Punjab. Another study by Hill and colleagues suggested that migrants preferred to settle in districts with a high proportion of co-religionists, leading to more religiously homogeneous populations on either side of the newly drawn borders after Partition. In the Indian Punjab, districts that were 66% Hindu in 1941 became 80% Hindu in 1951; those that were 20% Sikh became 50% Sikh in 1951. In Pakistani Punjab, the districts became exclusively Muslim by 1951. As for mortality, Bharadwaj and his colleagues divide the 3.4 million missing people by assigning 2.1 million to the northwest and 1.3 million to the east. Hill and colleagues suggested a mortality range of 2.3–3.2 million people. However, according to Dyson, the population losses may have also resulted in part because of reduced birth rates and also by the inadequacies in the 1951 census (especially in Pakistan). Summing up Tim Dyson says,
The sudden refugee flows related to Partition may at the time have been unsurpassed in modern world history. It is likely that at least 14–18 million people moved. Previous assessments of the mortality associated with Partition have varied between 200,000 and 1 million. The first figure, attributed to Mountbatten (the last Viceroy) smacks of a number that—conveniently from an official perspective—minimizes the loss of life. However, the figure of 1 million may also be too low. The data, however, do not allow for a firmer judgement.


Economy and society

The two main concerns of the new Indian government in 1947 were the economic foundations of the country and the poverty of a large segment of its population. Although the British Raj had also been concerned about poverty, its basic justification and the scale of the problem meant that it expended resources on poverty alleviation only when the distress seemed to be threatening civic order. The new government apprehended clearly that a low level of income and therefore also of demand and prospective investment considerably slowed down development in all areas of the economy, including agriculture, industry, and the service sector. A National Income Committee was set up in 1949 to measure Indian poverty; its report published in 1950/1951 computed the average annual income per person in India to be Rs. 260 or $55. Some Indians earned less, especially among those who worked as domestic help, tenant farmers, or agricultural labourers. According to historian Judith M. Brown, such poverty meant "almost perpetual hunger, a monotonous and unbalanced diet at the best of times, cramped and squalid housing, perhaps one change of meagre clothes, insufficient bedding to prevent deaths from cold in the northern Indian winter, children’s absence from school for lack of clothes or books or the need to earn to feed the family and no money for doctors or medicines." The patriarchy widely prevalent in Indian society ensured that males had more access to food, medicine, and education than females. In the agricultural sector in the 1940s, most farmers were engaged in subsistence farming; only a small fraction had access to tractors or tube wells; fertilizer use per acre was less than any other country. An India-wide survey soon after independence gave evidence of the high inequality in rural India. 14–15 million rural households (constituting 22% of the total) owned no land at all. Just under 50% of rural households owned 1.5% of the cultivated land. At the other extreme, the top 25% owned 83% of the cultivated land. Such magnitude of income inequality implied unequal access to education and health care. To meet the needs of those with the least access, the provision of physicians, nurses, rural clinics, hospitals, schools, and colleges also required special attention from the new government. India did have a firmly founded industrial sector at the time of independence, with financial networks to sustain it. India's participation in the Second World War had the effect of expanding its industries, though their increased output was not generally for civilian consumption. In some instances such as woolen textiles produced in wool mills, leather and footwear produced in factories, almost three-fourths of the cement and steel, the output was siphoned off from the civilian economy for military use. A few industries such as steel, chemicals, paper, paint, and cement did advance vigorously, but a shortage of capital goods and skilled human resources thwarted any significant new industrial undertakings. Sociologically, industrial growth in wartime had the effect of increasing the share of the urban population in India from 13% in 1941 to 16% in 1951. The levels of education and evaluation criteria varied from region to region, depending on each region’s history, its urbanization, and average per-person income. In 1951 literacy in India was still very low, especially among rural women (Table). Improving the economy, changing social attitudes, and reducing economic deprivation among the landless labouring classes depended crucially upon improving education standards. The new government had inherited problems arising from uneven opportunity in a society of great want. Most deprived were groups whose status in Hindu society was low. Despite progress in women's education and the rise of some women in politics through Gandhi's civil disobedience movement, the vast majority of women, who happened to be from rural areas, spent their lives attending to their husbands to whom they had been married at an early age in arranged marriages, their children, and the crops. If a Hindu woman's marriage was unhappy, neither divorce nor even separation was an option legally or culturally. Patrilineal inheritance meant that women had no right to property; their only avenue to prosperity lay through dependence on their husbands. Little or no education, for the most part, barred them from becoming secretaries, teachers or nurses. Similarly, despite Gandhi's anti-untouchability campaigns of the 1930s, the vast majority of Dalit, Untouchables remained in a state of ritual pollution and self-abasing poverty—land ownership, education, or skilled work was out of reach. According to Judith M. Brown, "The new government recognized the burden of its inheritance in these areas of society and the 1950 constitution stated its commitment to fundamental change and a denial of Hindu conventions which an alien government had not dared to initiate." Although Untouchability was abolished in the new constitution, it was soon evident that the yoke of culture bore down so oppressively on Untouchables, that more legislation, administrative reform, and economic change were needed for them to assume their constitutional rights; the same was true of women. However, in urban areas, economic changes in the 1940s had demonstrated that belief and ritual status in Hinduism had hindered neither industrialization, nor workers responding quickly to market forces, and changing occupations or locations of work.


Gallery

Emergency trains crowded with desperate refugees.jpg, left, Emergency trains crowded with desperate refugees Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, chairman of the Drafting Committee, presenting the final draft of the Indian Constitution to Dr. Rajendra Prasad on 25 November, 1949.jpg, left, B. R. Ambedkar, presenting the final draft of the Constitution of India to Rajendra Prasad, president of the Constituent Assembly of India, 25 November 1949 India-Olympic-1948-Games.jpg, The Indian contingent marching at the 1948 London Olympics. India won the gold medal in Field Hockey Jawaharlal Nehru gives his "tryst with destiny" speech at Parliament House in New Delhi in 1947 (02).jpg, Jawaharlal Nehru delivering his 'Tryst with Destiny' speech at Parliament House in New Delhi during the midnight session of the Constituent Assembly on 14–15 August 1947 1947 India Flag 3½ annas.jpg, The 3 1⁄2 annas stamp showing the tricolour Flag of India (for foreign surface mail) issued 15 August 1947 File:GVI Attlee and Prime Ministers of the Commonwealth London 1948 13 October.jpg, left, Prime ministers of the Commonwealth with King George VI (5th fr left), London 13 October 1948; Don Stephen Senanayake, Ceylon (2nd fr left); Liaquat Ali Khan, Pakistan (3rd fr left); C. R. Attlee (UK, 5th fr right) and Jawaharlal Nehru of India (far right). File:Photograph of President Truman shaking hands with Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru of India upon Nehru's arrival at... - NARA - 200152.jpg, Nehru being received at the Washington National Airport by the President Harry S. Truman, 11 October 1949 File:Rajagopalachari declares India as a Republic.jpg, Governor-General Rajagopalachari declares India a Republic at Darbar Hall on 26 January 1950


Notes


References


Bibliography

* * * * * * . * * * * * * * * * * * *Talbot, Ian. 2006. ''Divided Cities: Partition and Its Aftermath in Lahore and Amritsar 1947–1957''. Oxford and Karachi: Oxford University Press. 350 pages. . * {{DEFAULTSORT:Dominion Of India 1947 establishments in India 1950 disestablishments in India Former Commonwealth realms, India Former countries in South Asia Former polities of the Cold War Government of India History of the Republic of India India and the Commonwealth of Nations India–United Kingdom relations Political history of India States and territories established in 1947 States and territories disestablished in 1950