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Creating the Indian identity

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The creation of India

In 1945 the war was over. The Allied forces, of which the British were part of, won in this war. Winston Churchill who was the Prime Minister of UK was a great hero. In that year elections occurred in England. Churchill hoped to win again in these elections. He and his Conservative Party supported the continuation of British Empire and British rule over India. On the other hand the Labour Party claimed it was time to end the British Empire. In these elections the Labour Party won and it became clear the British would leave India.

At this stage different communities in India began demanding from the British to establish in India a state or states according to their political philosophies. The British who ruled India through the policy of 'divide and rule' did every thing possible during their rule over India to separate and even incite the different communities of India and so vivified different nationalistic feelings. The Indian National Congress wanted to establish a secular state all over British India. The Hindu Mahasabha wanted to establish a Hindu state all over British India. The Sikhs demanded a separate Sikh entity in the Punjab region. The Dravidians wanted an independent Dravidstan in south India. The Tamils, who are part of Dravidian culture, demanded an independent Tamil state. The princely states of Hyderabad and Kashmir demanded independence. Of the different lobbies, the lobby that succeeded to most in achieving their demands was the Muslim League.

The Muslim League demanded a Muslim state in regions where there was a Muslim majority. Muhammad Jinnah who was the leader of the Muslim League is blamed by the Indians as responsible for the partition of India. The Indians blame Jinnah that he evoked Muslim nationalistic feelings among the Indian Muslims and so causing the riots all over India, between the Hindus and Sikhs on one side and the Muslims on the other. Until then they claimed the Hindus and the Muslims lived peacefully side by side. In these riots which occurred in British India, hundreds of thousands of people died.

The British who at first intended to leave India as one country, decided because of these riots to establish two states in British India, India and Pakistan. The British transferred India's administration to the Indian National Congress and Pakistan's administration to the Muslim League. The British also decided that the Princely States would join either country according to two criterions 1) wish of the people 2) wish of the ruler. When the British left India there were 562 Princely states in British India and 11 provinces.

The Indian politician responsible in convincing the Princely States to join India was Vallabhai Patel. Patel was the first Home Minister and Deputy Prime Minister of India. He was a senior member of the Congress and was very popular among the Indian people. He could have been the first Prime Minister of India, but Mahatma Gandhi wanted the young Jawarharlal Nehru to be India's first Prime Minister and therefore Patel withdrew his candidacy.

On 15/08/1947 India achieved its independence with Jawarharlal Nehru as its first Prime Minister.


Aharon Daniel

1999-2000

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