The Muslims and Partition

Francis Robinson considers what the Muslims wanted - and what they got - out of the decision to divide the subcontinent on religious lines.

The partition of India at independence in 1947 into the sovereign states of India and Pakistan is one of the more important events of twentieth-century world history. It was a shameful end to the most important project in Britain's imperial enterprise. More important it was a tragic experience for the hundreds of thousands of Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims who were killed in the communal slaughter which accompanied the process and for the nearly 15 million who were made refugees. Over the past fifty years India and Pakistan have been in a state of constant hostility, fighting three wars in 1947-48, 1965 and 1971, and during the last decade fighting low-intensity wars over Kashmir and the drawing of boundaries in the high Himalayas.

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