At midnight of August 15, 1947, independent India was born. A day which was a result of countless lives sacrificed for a dream to live in an independent nation, to find utterance and be the master of one’s own destiny. India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru proclaimed it as ‘a tryst with destiny- a moment which comes but rarely in history, when we pass from the old to the new, when an age ends and when the soul of the nation, long suppressed finds utterance’. In spite of the darkness of the night, the citizens of the country were hopeful for a new dawn on independent India.
However, the country was burning, flames of partition blazed across the land with thousands of people being butchered merely for the sin of being a Hindu or a Muslim. But what caused the country to bleed? A Hindu will say it was Muslims who demanded for a separate nation. Muslims would also have some opinions which they will probably express as soon as they finish proving that they are also patriotic and proud citizen of the same nation!
The foundation of the partitions was laid by the two-nation theory which claimed Hindus and Muslims needed two separate nations and they couldn’t coexist together. Sir Syed Ahmed Khan while elaborating on the two-nation theory probably ignored the common descent of Hindus and Muslims living in the country. Muslim League, the lead actor of the partition convinced the country of the two-nation theory. Congress’s denial to include Muslim League in the government can also be considered as a major factor which made Muslim League propagandise the two-nation theory. I feel that envy for INC drove the actions of the Muslim League, and not compassion for Muslims.
Congress was right in its argument, as the majority of the separate electorates were won either by INC or by the regional parties and independent candidates. So, how can the Muslim league claim to represent the Muslims? But the role of right-wing Hindu organisations like Hindu Mahasabha and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) to convince the majority for the partition is usually ignored. Excessive faith in religion usually makes our opinions biased. The communal hatred being spread by these organisations worked as a fuel to incite violence. M.S. Golwalkar (RSS) went a step further and declared that the non-Hindu people of ‘Hindustan’ must adopt the Hindu culture and must entertain the glorification of Hindu race and culture. The communal riots in different parts of the country were enough to convince the Hindus, the Muslims as well as the national leaders who found themselves helpless trying to control deteriorating conditions, that the partition was needed to stop the senseless violence.
The reason for partition was not only that the minorities (Muslims) were demanding for it but also that the majorities (Hindus) were abetting to it. Hindus and Muslims must be held equally accountable and responsible for it. The series of events was enough to convince the people of the two ‘nations’ to draw lines on the map and divide a land on the basis of religion. A land which was otherwise known for the amicable co-existence of different religions and for propagating ‘unity in diversity’.