Opposition to the partition of India was widespread in British India in the 20th century and it continues to remain a talking point in South Asian politics. Those who opposed it often adhered to the doctrine of composite nationalism. The Hindu, Christian, Anglo-Indian, Parsi and Sikh communities were largely opposed to the partition of India (and its underlying two-nation theory), as were many Muslims (these were represented by the All India Azad Muslim Conference).
Pashtun politician and Indian independence activist Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan of the Khudai Khidmatgar viewed the proposal to partition India as un-Islamic and contradicting a common history in which Muslims considered India as their homeland for over a millennium. Mahatma Gandhi opined that "Hindus and Muslims were sons of the same soil of India; they were brothers who therefore must strive to keep India free and united."
Sunni Muslims of the Deobandi school of thought "criticized the idea of Pakistan as being the conspiracy of the colonial government to prevent the emergence of a strong united India" and helped to organize the Azad Muslim Conference to condemn the partition of India. They also argued that the economic development of Muslims would be hurt if India was partitioned, seeing the idea of partition as one that was designed to keep Muslims backward. They also expected "Muslim-majority provinces in united India to be more effective than the rulers of independent Pakistan in helping the Muslim minorities living in Hindu-majority areas." Deobandis pointed to the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah, which was made between the Muslims and Qureysh of Mecca, that "promoted mutual interaction between the two communities thus allowing more opportunities for Muslims to preach their religion to Qureysh through peaceful tabligh." Deobandi Sunni scholar Sayyid Husain Ahmad Madani argued for a united India in his book Muttahida Qaumiyat Aur Islam (Composite Nationalism and Islam), promulgating the idea that different religions do not constitute different nationalities and that the proposition for a partition of India was not justifiable, religiously.
Khaksar Movement leader Allama Mashriqi opposed the partition of India because he felt that if Muslims and Hindus had largely lived peacefully together in India for centuries, they could also do so in a free and united India. Mashriqi saw the two-nation theory as a plot of the British to maintain control of the region more easily, if India was divided into two countries that were pitted against one another. He reasoned that a division of India along religious lines would breed fundamentalism and extremism on both sides of the border. Mashriqi thought that "Muslim majority areas were already under Muslim rule, so if any Muslims wanted to move to these areas, they were free to do so without having to divide the country." To him, separatist leaders "were power hungry and misleading Muslims in order to bolster their own power by serving the British agenda."
In 1941, a CID report states that thousands of Muslim weavers under the banner of Momin Conference and coming from Bihar and Eastern U.P. descended in Delhi demonstrating against the proposed two-nation theory. A gathering of more than fifty thousand people from an unorganized sector was not usual at that time, so its importance should be duly recognized. The non-ashraf Muslims constituting a majority of Indian Muslims were opposed to partition but sadly they were not heard. They were firm believers of Islam yet they were opposed to Pakistan.
In the 1946 Indian provincial elections, only 16% of Indian Muslims, mainly those from upper class, were able to vote. Many lower class Indian Muslims opposed the partition of India, believing that "that a Muslim state would benefit only upper-class Muslims."
The All India Conference of Indian Christians, representing the Christians of colonial India, along with Sikh political parties such as the Chief Khalsa Diwan and Shiromani Akali Dal led by Master Tara Singh condemned the call by separatists to create Pakistan, viewing it as a movement that would possibly persecute them.
Critics of the partition of India argue that an undivided India would have boasted one of the strongest armies in the world, had more competitive sports teams, fostered an increased protection of minorities with religious harmony, championed greater women's rights, possessed extended maritime borders, projected elevated soft power, and offered a "focus on education and health instead of defence sector".
Pakistan was created through the partition of India on the basis of religious segregation; the very concept of dividing the country of India along religious lines has been criticized as being a backward idea for the modern era. After it occurred, critics of the partition of India point to the displacement of fifteen million people, the murder of more than one million people, and the rape of 75,000 women to demonstrate the view that it was a mistake.
Because of the fear of the peasant revolution, the leaders of the Muslim League in full agreement with British imperialism favoured the partition of India and maintenance of British domination. They demanded formation of the Muslim State, by kindling religious animosity between the Hindus and the Muslims. ... The partition of India could not solve and did not solve a single problem including the Hindu-Muslim problem. On the contrary it intensified the religious differences, especially in connection with the partition of the province of the Punjab, and facilitated the incitement of bloody conflicts between the Hindus, Sikhs and Musulmans. Millions of refugees rushed from one dominion to another. Hindus and Sikhs fled to Hindustan and Muslims to Pakistan. Whole villages were depopulated, harvests were not gathered, fields were not sown. ... armed bands organised on fascist lines, flooded with agents of the British secret police, organised massacre of Musulmans in Hindustan, and of Hindus and Sikhs in Pakistan. Fratricidal clashes in Hindustan and Pakistan were handy to British imperialism and its agents. The partition of India was effected with a view to maintain political and economic domination of British imperialism in the country divided into parts. ... The partition of India was accomplished by the Labour Government which is more supple and more capable of making use of social and national demagogy, than the previous Conservative Government. It was easier for the Labour Party to accomplish this manoeuvre because the leaders of the Indian National Congress had always been maintaining with them a certain contract and more willingly came to a compromise with the Labour Cabinet. It is characteristic that the Conservative Party supported the plan of partitioning India, proposed by the Labour Government. This testifies to the fact that the whole of this plan is a British imperialist plan and corresponds with its interests and its calculations. It is not without reasons that during the debate on the Bill in the British House of Commons and the House of Lords, the leaders of the Conservative Party greeted the Government's plan as one which came to the rescue of the British imperialism, and the Labour Government as the loyal defender of the interests of the British Empire. Having divided India and conferred on Hindustan and Pakistan “the title of dominion”, British imperialism there by maintained its colonial domination over India. British capital fully and completely as in the past occupies a commanding position in the economy of Hindustan and Pakistan. A powerful lever of the colonial exploitation of India is the banking system. All the big banks in India, with the exception of two, are managed by British monopolists. Thus they are holding in their hands the largest amount of capital which they can invest in industries, Railways, Ports etc. Indian industry is fully dependent on the British bankers. More than half of jute and tea industry of Hindustan, 1/3rd of iron and steel industry, the whole mineral output, rubber plantations etc. belong to British capital.
Main article: Indian reunification
Further information: Indo-Pak Confederation proposals
The subject of undoing the partition and reunifying India has been discussed by both Indians and Pakistanis. In The Nation, Kashmiri Indian politician Markandey Katju has advocated the reunification of India with Pakistan under a secular government. He stated that the cause of the partition was the divide and rule policy of Britain, which was implemented to spread communal hatred after Britain saw that Hindus and Muslims worked together to agitate against their colonial rule in India. Katju serves as the chairman of the Indian Reunification Association (IRA), which seeks to campaign for this cause.
Pakistani historian Nasim Yousaf, the grandson of Allama Mashriqi, has also championed Indian Reunification and presented the idea at the New York Conference on Asian Studies on 9 October 2009 at Cornell University; Yousaf stated that the partition of India itself was a result of the divide and rule policies of the British government that sought to create another buffer state between the Soviet Union and India to prevent the spread of Communism, as well the fact that a "division of the people and territory would prevent a united India from emerging as a world power and keep the two nations dependent on pivotal powers." Yousaf cited former Indian National Congress president Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, who wrote in the same vein:
If a united India had become free...there was little chance that Britain could retain her position in the economic and industrial life of India. The partition of India, in which the Muslim majority provinces formed a separate and independent state, would, on the other hand, give Britain a foothold in India. A state dominated by the Muslim League would offer a permanent sphere of influence to the British. This was also bound to influence the attitude of India. With a British base in Pakistan, India would have to pay far greater attention to British interests than she might otherwise do. ... The partition of India would materially alter the situation in favour of the British.
Yousaf holds that "Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the President of the All-India Muslim League and later founder of Pakistan, had been misleading the Muslim community in order to go down in history as the saviour of the Muslim cause and to become founder and first Governor General of Pakistan." Allama Mashriqi, a nationalist Muslim, thus saw Jinnah as "becoming a tool in British hands for his political career." Besides the pro-separatist Muslim League, Islamic leadership in British India rejected the notion of partitioning the country, exemplified by the fact that most Muslims in the heartland of the subcontinent remained where they were, rather than migrating to newly created state of Pakistan. India and Pakistan are currently allocating a significant amount of their budget into military spending—money that could be spent in economic and social development. Poverty, homelessness, illiteracy, terrorism and a lack of medical facilities, in Yousaf's eyes, would not be plaguing an undivided India as it would be more advantaged "economically, politically, and socially." Yousaf has stated that Indians and Pakistanis speak a common lingua franca, Hindustani, "wear the same dress, eat the same food, enjoy the same music and movies, and communicate in the same style and on a similar wavelength". He argues that uniting would be a challenge, though not impossible, citing the fall of the Berlin Wall and the consequent German Reunification as an example.
French journalist François Gautier and Pakistani politician Lal Khan have expressed the view that Indian reunification would solve the conflict in the region of Jammu & Kashmir.
The Jamiya-i-ulama-Hind founded in 1919, strongly opposed partition in the 1940s and was committed to composite nationalism.
Upon the assurances of the Congress Party that Sikh interests would be respected as an independent India, Sikh leadership agreed to support the Congress Party and its vision of a united India rather than seeking a separate state. When Partition was announced by the British in 1946, Sikhs were considered a Hindu sect for Partition purposes. They violently opposed the creation of Pakistan since historically Sikh territories and cities were included in the new Muslim homeland.
No sooner was it made public than the Sikhs launched a virulent campaign against the Lahore Resolution. Pakistan was portrayed as a possible return to an unhappy past when Sikhs were persecuted and Muslims the persecutor. Public speeches by various Sikh political leaders on the subject of Pakistan invariably raised images of atrocities committed by Muslims on Sikhs and of the martyrdom of their gurus and heroes. Reactions to the Lahore Resolution were uniformly negative and Sikh leaders of all political persuasions made it clear that Pakistan would be 'wholeheartedly resisted'. The Shiromani Akali Dal, the party with a substantial following amongst the rural Sikhs, organized several well-attended conferences in Lahore to condemn the Muslim League. Master Tara Singh, leader of the Akali Dal, declared that his party would fight Pakistan 'tooth and nail'. Not be outdone, other Sikh political organizations, rival to the Akali Dal, namely the Central Khalsa Young Men Union and the moderate and loyalist Chief Khalsa Dewan, declared in equally strong language their unequivocal opposition to the Pakistan scheme.
Many Indian Muslims, including religious scholars, ferociously opposed the Muslim League’s demand for Pakistan.
However, the book is a tribute to the role of one Muslim leader who steadfastly opposed the Partition of India: the Sindhi leader Allah Bakhsh Soomro. Allah Bakhsh belonged to a landed family. He founded the Sindh People’s Party in 1934, which later came to be known as ‘Ittehad’ or ‘Unity Party’. ... Allah Bakhsh was totally opposed to the Muslim League’s demand for the creation of Pakistan through a division of India on a religious basis. Consequently, he established the Azad Muslim Conference. In its Delhi session held during April 27–30, 1940 some 1400 delegates took part. They belonged mainly to the lower castes and working class. The famous scholar of Indian Islam, Wilfred Cantwell Smith, feels that the delegates represented a ‘majority of India’s Muslims’. Among those who attended the conference were representatives of many Islamic theologians and women also took part in the deliberations.
Many Muslim organizations are opposed to it. Every non-Muslim, whether he is a Hindu or Sikh or Christian or Parsi, is opposed to it. Essentially the sentiment in favor of partition has grown in the areas where Muslims are in a small minority, areas which, in any event, would remain undetached from the rest of India. Muslims in provinces where they are in a majority have been less influenced by it ; naturally, for they can stand on their own feet and have no reason to fear other groups. It is least evident in the Northwest Frontier Province (95 per cent Muslim) where the Pathans are brave and self-reliant and have no fear complex. Thus, oddly enough, the Muslim League's proposal to partition India finds far less response in the Muslim areas sought to be partitioned than in the Muslim minority areas which are unaffected by it.
However, many Indian Muslims regarded India as their permanent home and supported the concept of a secular, unified state that would include both Hindus and Muslims. After centuries of joint history and coexistence, these Muslims firmly believed that India was fundamentally a multireligious entity and that Muslims were an integral part of the state. Furthermore, cleaving India into independent Muslim and Hindu states would be geographically inconvenient for millions of Muslims. Those living in the middle and southern regions of India could not conveniently move to the new Muslim state because it required travel over long distances and considerable financial resources. In particular, many lower-class Muslims opposed partition because they felt that a Muslim state would benefit only upper-class Muslims. At independence, the division of India into the Muslim state of Pakistan and the secular state of India caused a massive migration of millions of Muslims into Pakistan and Hindus into India, along with the death of over one million people in the consequent riots and chaos. The millions of Muslims who remained in India by choice or providence became a smaller and more interspersed minority in a secular and democratic state.
The partition of the Indian subcontinent was based on the formula of religious segregation. Many Muslims migrated to Pakistan, but many more also decided to stay back. The country had an obligation to protect Islamic interests as Muslims in India tied their destiny with the rest. There were also Christians, Jews, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains and other communities which were living mostly in peace for centuries.
Then by the very force of the logic of hatred and separation that it had pursued, it had to go to the extreme of demanding a partition of India. The modiæval theory of religious groups constituting a political community, which collapsed before an advancing nationalism in Europe, was revived. An idea similar to that of the Crusades, of Christendom versus Islam, suddenly appeared (it is said with British inspiration) in India. It was an astonishing throw-back.
He went on to say, “To welcome Partition is to imply that people with different backgrounds and different blood-lines cannot live together in one nation. A regressive suggestion.” He lamented that the “Muslim majorities who got Pakistan did not need it; Muslim minorities remaining in India who needed security became more insecure.” “If tyranny had ended with partition, I would have welcomed division. In fact, however, tyranny was multiplied by partition.”
Maghfoor Aijazi had set up the All India Jamhoor Muslim League, in 1940, to oppose Jinnah's scheme of Pakistan.
Anthony was vocally critical of the British Raj in India for its racial discrimination in matters of pay and allowances, and for failing to acknowledge the sterling military and civil contributions made by Anglo-Indians to the Raj. Anthony vociferously opposed Partition and fought for the best interests of his community as Indians, not Britishers.
The Muslim Majlis opposes partition of India "as impracticable".
((cite journal)): Missing or empty
Consequently, the Shia Political Conference also participated in the Muslims' protest against Jinnah's scheme.
Momins' Conference, Anjuman-I-Watan (Baluchistan) and All-India Shia Conference also expressed their opposition. The Deobandi School of Islam was against the Two-Nation Theory and "played a glorious role in the freedom struggle.
As a protest against Partition, the Hindu Mahasabha and the Communist Party of India (CPI) did not participate in the celebrations of 15 August.
The Indian National Congress and the nationalists of Bengal firmly opposed the partition.
((cite book)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
The Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind was uncompromisingly against the formation of Pakistan and remained in India after the partition, while the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam came to be in Pakistan.
The resolution was a bad omen to all those parties, including the Khaksars, which were, in one way or the other, opposing the partition of the subcontinent.
He also enlisted the support of the Khaksars“ who had been bitter opponents of Sikander." They, nevertheless possessed the virtue of being outspoken critics of the Pakistan scheme.
Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan (1891–1991): the “Frontier Gandhi"; Congress leader of the North-West Frontier Province, organized nonviolent resistance group called the Khudai Khidmatgars; opposed partition and was repeatedly jailed for long periods by the government of Pakistan.
Soon thereafter, in 1943, the Ahrar passed a resolution officially declaring itself against partition, which posed a problem in that it put the Ahrar in direct opposition to the Muslim League. The Ahrar introduced a sectarian element into its objections by portraying Jinnah as an infidel in an attempt to discredit his reputation.
Here, not only anti-colonial Muslims were opposed to the Partition – and there were many all over Punjab – but also those who considered the continuation of British rule good for the country – Sir Fazl-e-Hussain, Sir Sikander Hyat and Sir Khizr Hayat Tiwana for instance – were opposed to the Partition. The campaign against Sir Khizr during the Muslim League agitation was most intimidating and the worst type of abuse was hurled at him.
Both Sikander Hayat Khan and his successor, Khizr Hayat Khan Tiwana, vehemently opposed the idea Partition when it was mooted in the early 1940s, partly because as Punjabi Muslims they did not agree with Jinnah on the need for a Pakistan and largely because the thought of partitioning Punjab, as an inevitable consequence, was so painful.
Khizr was opposed to the division of India on a religious basis, and especially to suggestions about partitioning Punjab on such a basis. He sincerely believed that Punjabi Muslims had more in common with Punjabi Hindus and Sikhs.
Three nationalist Muslims were among those who opposed the resolution: Ansar Harwani, Maulana Hifzur Rahman and Dr. Saifuddin Kitchlew. “This is a surrender”, Kitchlew said.
"The division of the sub-continent was the greatest blunder," he thundered to cheers from the audience. "It was the division of blood, culture, brotherhood, relationships," he said, switching from English to Urdu.[dead link]
"The said theory was invented by the British Empire to deceive and divide the people of the Indian Sub-Continent," he added. He said this while addressing live to his millions of followers through social media. He categorically asserted that the division of the Indian sub-continent was a blunder. "British Empire had occupied Indian sub-continent and Indians were slaves to the British rulers and hence they introduced that theory so as to keep the Muslims and Hindus divided so that the British could rule for a longer time. Unfortunately, Muslim and Hindu populations had accepted that fraudulent and mischievous notion of Two-Nation Theory," he said. He further said that the said theory was to prevent any revolution against the tyrant occupation of the British Empire and also to fail the freedom movement for India.
My father's half-brother, Sir Fazl-i-Hussain, was a found member, along with Sir Sikander Hyat Khan and others who were opposed to the Quaid-e-Azam's vision of Pakistan as an independent nation of Muslims.
Here, not only anti-colonial Muslims were opposed to the Partition – and there were many all over Punjab – but also those who considered the continuation of British rule good for the country – Sir Fazl-e-Hussain, Sir Sikander Hyat and Sir Khizr Hayat Tiwana for instance – were opposed to the Partition.
Later, K.M. Munishi, with Gandhi's blessing, also resigned from the Congress to plead for Akhand Hindustan as a counter blast to Pakistan. Gandhi, who previously thought that swaraj was impossible without Hindu-Muslim unity, subsequently came to the conclusion that as Britain wanted to retain her empire by pursuing a policy of divide and rule, Hindu-Muslim unity could not be achieved as long as the British were there.
Dr. Khan Abdul Jabbar Khan and his brother Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan were also opponents of Mr. Jinnah and the Muslim League. The Khan Brothers were close to the Congress and thought that in an independent United India their interests were more secure.
Khwaja Abdul Majid (1875–1962) was a lawyer, educationalist, and social reformer who supported Gandhi in his opposition to the partition of India.
The brother of the Nawab of Dhaka, Khwajah Atiqullah collected 25,000 signatures and submitted a memorandum opposing the partition (Jalal 2000: 158). The anti-partition movement was 'actively supported' by 'Abdul Rasul, Liakat Hassain, Abul Qasim, and Ismail Hussain Shirazi' (Ahmed 2000: 70).
As a rule, Gandhi was opposed to the concept of partition as it contradicted his vision of religious unity.
Khizr Hayat Khan Tiwana, a Unionist, who was the last Premier of the unified Punjab opposed Jinnah and the 1947 partition of India from a Punjabi nationalist perspective.
Maulana Mazhar Ali Azhar, 81, a leader in the Ahrar party, opposed to the partition of India.
We are indeed informed about the strong opposition by Congress stalwart Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and the leader of the Jamiat-Ulema-e-Islam, Maulana Hussain Ahmed Madni, to the demand for a separate Muslim state made by the All-India Muslim League, but the general impression in both India and Pakistan is that Indian Muslims as a whole supported the Partition.
In Hyderabad 1880-81 Afḡānī published six Persian articles in the journal Moʿallem-e šafīq, which were reprinted in Urdu and Persian in various editions of Maqālāt-e Jamālīya. The three major themes of these articles are: 1. advocacy of linguistic or territorial nationalism, with an emphasis upon the unity of Indian Muslims and Hindus, not of Indian Muslims and foreign Muslims; 2. the benefits of philosophy and modern science; and 3. attacks on Sayyed Aḥmad Khan as a tool of the British. On nationalism, he writes in “The Philosophy of National Unity and the Truth about Unity of Language” that linguistic ties are stronger and more durable than religious ones (he was to make exactly the opposite point in the pan-Islamic al-ʿOrwat al-woṯqā a few years later). In India he felt the best anti-imperialist policy was Hindu-Muslim unity, while in Europe he felt it was pan-Islam.
Much before Madani, Jamaluddin Afghani argued that Hindus and Muslims must come together to overthrow the British. Husain Ahmad would argue the same thing after five decades.
In the debate over whether Muslims should establish their own state, separate from a Hindu India, Maududi initially argued against such a creation and asserted that the establishment of a political Muslim state defined by borders violated the idea of the universal umma. Citizenship and national borders, which would characterize the new Muslim state, contradicted the notion that Muslims should not be separated by one another by these temporal boundaries. In this milieu, Maududi founded the organization Jama'at-i Islamic. ... The Jama'at for its first few years worked actively to prevent the partition, but once partition became inevitable, it established offices in both Pakistan and India.
Mawdudi (d. 1979) was opposed to the partition of India, preferring that Muslims reclaim all of India for Islam.
Mufti Mahmud, in his speech on the occasion, pointed out that "the JUIP was against a division of the country". He said that since the party had opposed the partition of India (linking with the stance of ...
((cite journal)): Cite journal requires
Dr. Kitchlew, President of the Punjab Provincial Congress Committee, opposed the resolution and characterized it as a surrender of 'nationalism in favour of communalism'.
We have to understand that the partition of the subcontinent into Pakistan and India was a crime carried out by British Imperialism. Initially, British Imperialism tried to maintain control of the whole of the subcontinent, but during 1946–1947, a revolutionary situation erupted across the whole of the Indian subcontinent. British Imperialism realised that it could no longer contain the situation. Its troops were mainly Indian, and they could not be relied on to do the dirty work for the imperialists. It was in these conditions that the imperialists came up with the idea of partition. As they could no longer hold the situation, they decided that it was preferable to whip up Muslims against Hindus and vice versa. With this method, they planned to divide the subcontinent to make it easier to control from outside once they had been forced to abandon a military presence. They did this without any concern for the terrible bloodshed that would be unleashed.
Among these new immigrants was the first generation of educated, socially-mobile Muslims; graduates of Aligarh or Osmania University who had played an important role in the Pakistan movement. As Jaun Alia once acidly remarked, “Pakistan ... ye sab Aligarh ke laundon ki shararat thi” (Pakistan — this was the mischief of boys from Aligarh).
The politics of Muslim separatism was institutionalised in Aligarh, which, by the 1940s, had become, in Jinnah’s words, “the arsenal of Muslim India”. Later, poet Jaun Elia would quip that Pakistan was a prank played by the juveniles of Aligarh (“Pakistan — ye sab Aligarh ke laundon ki shararat thi”). That this practical joke, by its sheer thoughtless adventurism, turned out to be a monumental tragedy, which sundered the country into two and the Muslim community into three, is yet to be confronted by Aligarh.
The partition was brutal and bloody, and to Saadat Hasan Manto, a Muslim journalist, short-story author and Indian film screenwriter living in Bombay, it appeared maddeningly senseless. Manto was already an established writer before August 1947, but the stories he would go on to write about partition would come to cement his reputation. ... But it is for his stories of partition that he is best remembered: as the greatest chronicler of this most savage episode in the region’s history.
One can, however, assert that the finest short/ stories about the period were written by Saadat Hasan Manto. For him the partition was an overwhelming tragedy.
Even the Darul Uloom Deoband, although it supported Indian independence, opposed and opposes the Muslim League's theory of two nations, and therefore opposed and opposes partition.
In South Asia, recent years have seen the subject of reunification being considered by people in both India and Pakistan. Inevitably, there is a diversity of views on such a subject. Among Indians and Pakistanis who generally agree on the merits of reunification, some regard it as feasible only when national prejudices of one country against the other are overcome.