Wednesday, June 5, 2013

India-Pakistan Split

Map of Jammu and Kashmir
Map of Jammu and Kashmir (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
India and Pakistan, separate countries today, were part of the same nation until 1947.

On August 15th, India became free from being a British colony. The British, upon leaving the territory, divided the land based upon religious differences so as to avoid conflict amongst the peoples. The region known as India was primarily Hindu while the region known as Pakistan was primarily Muslim. However, disputes over the boundaries set by the British have caused many wars and conflicts.

A religious divide became almost intrinsic in the subcontinent over the years under British rule. The British separated Hindus and Muslims in the electoral process. Furthermore, some Muslims believed an Islamic society must be communally Islamic, and other Muslims yearned to regain the control of the area they enjoyed before British rule. Hindus as well resented Muslims over their previous rule- they also sought a ban on the slaughtering of cows, a major meat resource for the Muslims, and wished to change the offical script from Persian to Hindi.

In addition, the singing of "Bande Matram" in schools, a historically anti-Muslim song, and the disconnection between the Congress not supporting the British in WWII and the Muslims fully supporting the British in WWII exacerbated the tension and division.

Mohammad Jinnah was instrumental in the split between the two nations. In 1940, he persuaded the members of the Muslim league to adopt the Pakistan Resolution, which would split the territory into one Hindu area and one Muslim one. Though previously discussed, the movement lacked support until Jinnah began speaking on its behalf.

This is not to say that the division into two countries fully eased the tensions between the religious groups. Boundary lines came into dispute very soon after the divide. In 1947, Pakistani troops invaded Kashmir, resulting in a stalemate in 1949. In 1965, Pakistani troops invaded Jammu and Kashmir, resulting in a ceasefire. In 1971, India supported the East Pakistan rebellion movement, causing the Pakistani troops to launch air strikes against India. India succeeded in its liberation of East Pakistan and the eventual creation of Bangladesh. The two countries have also been involved in a nuclear arms race.

Sources: Post Colonial Studies, Global, Wikipedia
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