Here we are providing Class 12 History Important Extra Questions and Answers Chapter 14 Understanding Partition: Politics, Memories, Experiences. Class 12 History Important Questions are the best resource for students which helps in class 12 board exams.
Class 12 History Chapter 14 Important Extra Questions Understanding Partition: Politics, Memories, Experiences
Understanding Partition Important Extra Questions Very Short Answer Type
When did India get independence?
On 15th August 1947 A.D.
How many people died during the partition of India?
Scholars believe that they could be within the range of 200,000 to 500,000.
How many people migrated during the partition of India?
Around 15 million people.
When did the British give a separate Electorate to Muslims?
In 1909 through Minto-Morley reforms.
What was the major objective of Arya Samaj?
To revive Vedic learning and combine it with modern education in the sciences.
When and between whom the Lucknow Pact was made?
Between Congress and Muslim League in 1916 A.D.
When were elections held in India for the provincial legislatures?
In 1937 A.D.
In how many provinces, Congress made the government in 1937?
In seven provinces.
Why did congress reject Muslim League’s offer to form a joint government in the United Province?
Because it had an absolute majority over there.
When did Muslim League demand Pakistan?
Who wrote ‘Sare Jahan Se Achha Hindustan Hamara?
Urdu Poet Mahammad Iqbal.
When was Cabinet Mission sent to India by the British government?
In March 1946.
When did Muslim League elaborate ‘Direct Action Day’?
On 16th August 1946.
During the partition of India, how did the survivors describe the events of 1947?
The survivors used the following words to describe the partition of the country in 1947:
- Marshal-la (Martial Law)
- Mara-Mari (Killings)
- Raula (Tumult)
- Hullar (Disturbance or Uproar).
Why did the Congress not accent the proposal to form a joint government with the Muslim League in the United Provinces? Give any two reasons.
- The Congress had won an absolute majority in the province.
- The Muslim League supported Landlordism whereas Congress wanted to abolish it.
What did the Urdu poet Mohammad Iqbal meant by ‘northwest Indian Muslim State’?
Addressing a meeting of the Muslim League in 1930, Mohammad Iqbal visualized the need for a ‘northwest Indian Muslim State’. He did not stress the emergence of a new state. He only wanted the reorganization of Muslim-majority areas in north-western India. In fact, he wanted an autonomous state within the Indian federation.
Why and when was the Cabinet Mission sent to India?
The Cabinet Mission was sent to India in 1946 to fulfill the following objectives:
- It wanted to examine the demands made by the Muslim League.
- It was to suggest a suitable political framework for an independent India.
On the basis of any two points, tell the significance of the oral sources of history.
- It helps us to grasp experiences and memories.
- It enables historians to give a beautiful and vivid description of events.
On which two demands of Jinnah, the discussions about the transfer of power broke down?
- Jinnah stuck on the demand that Muslim members of the Executive Council must be elected by the Muslim League.
- He also wanted to have a system of veto in the council on a communal basis.
Understanding Partition Important Extra Questions Short Answer Type
The partition of India was a holocaust. Justify your answer by giving five examples.
The partition of India was not only a political event but also a holocaust. It can be substantiated with the following examples:
- Lakhs of people were killed. A large number of women were either raped or abducted.
- Millions of people had become refugees in alien lands.
- A large number of people were rendered homeless.
- Most of the people had lost their movable assets and immovable property.
- Many people were separated from their relatives or friends.
- There were killings, rape, arson, and loot. In other words, the partition of India in 1947 was a holocaust. It meant destruction or slaughter on a mass- scale.
Do you agree that the partition of the country was the contribution of separate electorates?
The partition of India in 1947 was a culmination of communal politics. In 1909, the colonial government in India had created separate electorates for Muslims. The separate electorates meant that Muslims were entitled to elect their own representatives from the designated constituencies. It led to sectarian politics and communal clashes. Some politicians raised sectarian slogans to woo the voters.
Because of those separate electorates, the religious identities got a functional use. At times, they also got hardened. In other words, the creation of separate electorates increased opposition and hostility between different communities. They had an unhealthy impact on Indian politics which resulted in the partition of India in 1947.
What were the reasons for the establishment of the Muslim League in India? What was the contribution of the British Policy of ‘Divide and Rule’ in the establishment of the Muslim League?
The Muslim League was established in India because of the following reasons:
- The Muslims belonging to high classes had so far not forgotten that they had ruled India for many years. They had lost all their rights during the British rule. They established the Muslim League to attain an influential position in the society.
- A Mohammadan Anglo-Oriental College was set up at Aligarh. It had an English principal. He used to instigate the Muslim students against the Hindus.
- Another reason for the establishment of the Muslim League was the British policy of Divide and Rule. The white men always told the Muslims that Congress was a Hindu party. So it cannot think about the welfare of the Muslims. The white men succeeded in their policy because the Muslims had made up their minds to create their own political party.
Under what circumstances, India attained independence?
India fought a long-drawn war to attain its freedom. After the Second World War, the British Government was so weakened that it was impossible for her to control all the colonies. So in 1946, the British Government declared that it wanted to end its rule in India. It sent a Cabinet Mission to India for this purpose. This Mission proposed to call the Constituent Assembly and constitute an Interim Government.
As soon as the Interim Government was set up, the Muslim League raised its demand for Pakistan. So there were communal riots at many places like Bengal, Bihar, and Bombay. Under these circumstances, Lord Mountbatten placed his proposal for the division or partition of the country. All accepted this proposal. At last, India was partitioned on 15 August 1947. Since then, India is an independent country.
Why did the Cabinet Mission visit India? What were its recommendations? Analyze the provisions of the Cabinet Mission of 1946. (C.B.S.E. 2015 (D))
A three-member Cabinet Mission visited India in March 1946. Its purpose was to examine the demand of the Muslim League for the creation of Pakistan. It also wanted to suggest a suitable political framework for independent modern India. It toured the whole country for three months. At last, it made the following recommendations:
- It suggested a loose three-tier confederation for India.
- It also suggested a weak central government having control only on foreign affairs, defense, and communications.
- It retained provincial assemblies but categorized them into three groups for the elections to Constituent Assembly. Group-A was for the Hindu-majority provinces, Group-B had Muslim-majority provinces of the north-west and Group-C also had Muslim-majority provinces of the north-east including Assam.
- All groups of provinces would also have regional units. They would also be empowered to set up intermediate-level executives and legislatures of their
How personal letters and autobio¬graphies give us information about any person (author)? How these sources are different from government sources?
Personal letters and autobiographies of any person only express those facts which the author wants to express in front of the world. Those facts could have been wrong as well. Except for this, we cannot get any type of information that the author does not want to disclose. Even then these personal letters and autobiographies give us information, to a certain extent, about the aspirations and problems of the masses.
These sources are different in two ways from government sources:
1. The language of the letters is generally shaped by the feeling that they might be printed one day. On contrary it, the language of government documents is determined by the government. These documents are secret documents and are out of reach of the general masses.
2. Personal letters generally disclose that how the government is responsible for the problems of the general masses. On the other hand, government documents blame the public and their leaders for any event or riots which took place in the country. The government never takes responsibility for itself for such events.
Write a critical note on the Provincial Elections held in 1946.
After 1937, provincial elections were once again held in 1946. The results of these elections were as given below:
1. The Congress won all the seats in the general constituencies. It captured 91.3% of the non-Muslim votes.
2. The Muslim League also got a spectacular victory in constituencies reserved for the Muslims. It won all the thirty reserved constituencies in the centre. It got 86.6% of the Muslim vote.
3. Out of the total of 509 reserved constituencies in all the provinces, the Muslim League won in 442 constituencies. In other words, the Muslim League was able to prove that it really represented the Muslim community in India. It came up as the dominant party of the Muslims and vindicated its claim that it was the only spokesman of the Muslims of India.
4. In these elections, only a few people enjoyed the right to vote. The voters were just 10 to 12% of the total population. Similarly, only one per cent voters enjoyed the right to vote for the Central Assembly.
Enumerate the causes that led to the partition of India. Was this partition essential or could it be postponed?
Partition of the country was the result of intricate problems which crept up because of communal tensions and policies of the British. Explain this statement.
The communal tensions and the British policy of Divide and Rule led to the partition of India in 1947. The British Policy of Divide and Rule had strengthened communal politics in the country. If Hindu Mahasabha stood for the cause of the Hindus, the Muslim League vindicated the cause of the Muslims. The British spread the venom of hatred in different communities and played them against each other. As such they prepared a ground for the partition of the country.
Are you ready to accept that Congress approval for separate electorates in Lucknow Pact was one of the reason behind the partition of India? Give arguments in support of your answer.
The Lucknow Pact was signed in 1916. In it, the Congress had accepted separate electorates. The Congressmen thought that it would strengthen Hindu- Muslim unity. But it was a blunder on the part of Congress. An understanding that had reached between the Congress and the Muslim League did not last long.
The differences erupted between the two parties. Following their policy of Divide and Rule, the British instigated one community against the other. Consequently, the Muslim League continued making communal demands. It started demanding Pakistan for the Muslims which resulted in the partition of the country.
Discuss the consequences of the Lucknow Pact.
From the national perspective, the Lucknow Pact of 1916 was quite significant. It had brought both Moderates and Assertive Nationalists on one platform. They had parted ways from each other since 1907. Even more important than this development was the unity of understanding between the Congress and the Muslim League. Under this Pact, both Congress and the Muslim League opened to put forward their collective demands which included:
- Most of the members in the legislative council should be elected.
- These legislative councils should be given more powers than already given.
- Half of the members should be from India in the Executive of the Viceroy.
Discuss the development of nationalism among the Muslims.
Communalism played a significant role in the creation of nationalism among the Muslims. The communal feelings made them think that there was no such thing as a Hindu nation. On the other hand, they believed in Hindu Nation and Muslim Nation.
It was well known that before 1870, the Muslims had no communal feelings. Their communalism is the contribution of the colonial rule in India. In 1857, the Hindus and the Muslims had fought unitedly against the British rule. But the British had charged more severe punishments to only Muslims due to which the Muslims later on turned out to be aggressive. The British played a great role in it. When the National Movement started in the country, the British felt concerned for their empire in India.
They did not want unity between the Hindus and Muslims which was the basis of a national upsurge. So they adopted the policy of Divide and Rule. They followed this policy not only politically but also with people belonging to different religions. They also decided to attract Muslim landlords, land owners and newly-educated youth. They taught all the Muslims that their interests varied from that of the Hindus.
They advised all the Muslims that they should form their own organization if they want to make any progress. Sayyed Ahmed Khan helped a lot in instilling a feeling of separatism among the Muslims. During the last days of his life, he had become a conservative. He declared that the interests of the Hindus and the Muslims were different. So he laid the foundation of aggressive nationalism in the Muslims. He opposed the formation of Congress in 1885 with all his might.
Assess the impact of the partition of India on Indian women.
The partition of India had the following impacts on the women in the country:
- The women were kidnapped and sold in the market. They faced character-assassination and an assault on their respect.
- The women were not given any right to express their bitter experiences.
- The government remained indifferent towards the plight of the women.
- To protect the honor and respect of the women, many relatives themselves killed the women of their families.
- Many women considered it better to commit suicide than to fall prey in the hands of the enemy.
Why did Congress reject the offer of the Muslim League to form a Joint Government? Explain. (C.B.S.E. 2009 (O.D.))
How did the Congress ministries contribute to the widening of the rift between the Congress and the Muslim League? Explain. (C.B.S.E. 2010 (O.D.))
The Congress rejected the offer of the Muslim League to form a Joint Government because it had won an absolute majority in the United Provinces. Moreover, the Congress had rejected the Muslim League proposal for the coalition government partly because Congress wanted to abolish landlordism although the party had not taken any concrete steps in this direction. On the other hand, the Muslim League tended to support landlordism. Most importantly, the Congress had not achieved any substantial gains in the “Muslim Mass Contact” program it launched. In this way, Congress contributed to the widening of the rift between the Congress and the Muslim League.
Explain how the migration in Bengal was more protracted? (C.B.S.E. 2010 (O.D.))
After the partition, Muslim families kept migrating to Pakistan for many years. This migration was more protracted in Bengal as compared to other parts of the country. This meant that the Bengali division produced a process of suffering that may have been less concentrated but was as agonising. Furthermore, unlike Punjab, the exchange of population in Bengal was not near-total.
Many Bengali Hindus remained in East Pakistan while many Bengali Muslims continued to live in West Bengal. Finally, Bengali Muslims (East Pakistanis) rejected Jinnah’s two-nation theory through political action, breaking away from Pakistan and creating Bangladesh in 1971-72. Religious unity could not hold East and West Pakistan together.
Why did Congress vote for dividing Punjab into two halves? Explain. (C.B.S.E. 2010 (D))
Initially, the Congress was against the partition of the country. But in March 1947, the Congress high command agreed to divide Punjab into two halves. One part would constitute the Muslim-majority areas. The other part would include areas having a Hindu-Sikh majority.
Many Sikh leaders and Congressmen were convinced that partition of Punjab was a necessary evil. The Sikhs felt that if they did not accept the partition, they would be over-powered by the Muslim majorities. Then they would be dictated and controlled by Muslim leaders.
A similar principle was applied to Bengal. There was a section of Bhadralok Bengali Hindus. They wanted to retain political power with them. They were also apprehensive of the Muslims. As the Hindus were in minority in Bengal, they thought, it prudent to divide the province. It would help them retain their political dominance. Thus Congress changed its perception about the partition of the country after adopting a pragmatic approach.
“Amidst all the turmoil following March 1947, Gandhiji’s valiant efforts bore fruit to bring harmony among the people.” Justify the statement. (C.B.S.E. 2011 (O.D.))
From March 1947 onwards, the bloodshed continued for one year. One of its main reasons was the collapse of all government institutions. At the end of the year, there was no sign of any administrative system. The whole of the Amritsar district became a scene of bloodshed. The British officials were unable to handle the situation. Indian sepoys and soldiers came to act as Hindus, Muslims or Sikhs.
This increased more communal tension in the country. Gandhiji came forward to restore communal harmony. He went on to journey from the villages of Noakhali in East Bengal (present Bangladesh) to the villages of Bihar. Then he moved to the riot turned slums of Calcutta and Delhi. Everywhere he reassured the minority community, whether Hindus or Muslims.
Analyze the impact of the partition of India on Punjab and Bengal. (C.B.S.E. 2015 (D))
The partition had an adverse impact on Punjab and Bengal. Both the states were divided into two halves. One with Muslim majority, while the other with the Hindu or Sikh majority. It was felt that if there is no partition, they would be swamped by the Muslim community. The political power would not be in their control and began to fear the ‘tutelage of Muslims. The partition was most bloody and destructive in Punjab. There was a complete breakdown of authority in the city.
British officials were unable to handle the situation. The near-total displacement of Hindu and Sikhs eastward into India from West Punjab and of almost all Punjabi speaking Muslims to Pakistan happened in a relatively short period of two years between 1946 and 1948. In Bengal, the migration was even more protracted with people moving across a porous border. People here also faced bloodshed and violence. In both, the states, women, and girls became prime targets of persecution. Attackers treated women’s bodies as territory to be conquered. Dishonoring women of a community was seen as dishonoring the community itself and a mode of taking revenge.
Analyze the role of memoirs and oral narratives in constructing the history of the partition of India. (C.B.S.E. 2015 (D))
Oral testimonies and memoirs are the important sources as for constructing the history of partition of India.” Examine the statement. (C.B.S.E. 2017 (D))
Oral narratives, memoirs, diaries, family histories, first-hand written accounts all these help us understand the trials and tribulations of ordinary people during the partition of the country. These people viewed Partition in terms of the suffering and the challenges of the times. For them, it was not a mere constitutional division or just the party politics, it meant an unexpected change in life between 1946-50 and beyond.
It even required psychological, emotional, and social adjustments. Memories and experiences shape the reality of an event. One of the strengths of personal reminiscence is that it helps us grasp experiences and memories in detail. It enables historians to write richly textured, vivid accounts of what happened to people during an event such as Partition. It is impossible to extract such information from government documents. Oral history also allows historians to broaden the boundaries of their discipline by rescuing from oblivion the lived experiences of the poor and the powerless.
Examine the events that took place during the 1920s and 1930s which consolidated the communal identities in the country. (C.B.S.E. 2017 (O.D))
Many events in the decades of 1920 and 1930s led to the emergence of tension between Hindus and Muslims due to which the partition of the country took place.
- Muslims were angered by ‘music before mosque’ by the cow protection movement and by the efforts of the Arya Samaj to being back to the Hindu fold those who had recently connected to Islam.
- Hindus were angered by the rapid spread of tabligh and Tanzim after 1923.
- As middle-class publicists and communal activists sought to build greater solidarity within their communities, mobilizing people against the other community, riots spread in different parts of the country.
Understanding Partition Important Extra Questions Long Answer Type
Discuss the growth of Communalism between 1930 to 1940. Also, evaluate the attempts made by nationalist movement to stop it.
“The communal politics that started during the early decades of the 20th century was largely responsible for the partition of the country”? Examine the statement. (C.B.S.E. 2018)
The communal factor was quite rampant in the Indian politics between 1930 and 1940. It was due to the Divide and Rule policy adopted by the colonial rulers. This communal element threatened the national movement for independence. Though all the important leaders of various political parties tried to suppress the communal feelings, yet they failed to control it. Communalism ruled the roost during the British rule in India.
The spread of Communalism: The following reasons were responsible for the spread of communalism in the country:
- There was a limited franchise. Only 10 to 12% of people enjoyed the right to vote.
- There were separate electorates for the Hindus and the Muslims. It generated communal feelings.
- The Congress failed to win those seats in the provincial elections which were reserved for the minorities. Four hundred and eighty-two seats were reserved for the Muslims. Out of these, Congress was able to win only 26 seats. 15 out of these 26 seats existed in Northwest Frontier Province. The Hindu Mahasabha also lost most of the seats. The same was the case with the political parties under the control of Zamindars and moneylenders.
- The Congress had adopted a basic agricultural programme which resulted in various Peasants’ ‘Movements.
Because of these factors, the zamindars and the moneylenders had started supporting the communal political parties. They had realized that their interest could be best served by strengthening communal parties. They did not see any future for those parties which sought wide political participation of the people. Under these circumstances, Mohammad Ali Jinnah started opposing the Congress everywhere. He started preaching that there was a danger of majority Hindus swallowing the minority Muslims. He also preached that both Hindus and the Muslims were distinct nations, different from each other. They cannot exist together.
Demand for Pakistan: In 1940, the Muslim League passed a Resolution that demanded the partition of India at the time of its independence. It demanded a separate state of Pakistan for the Muslims. As there were many Hindu communal organisations like the Hindu Mahasabha, the communal demand of the Muslim League drew the attention of all. A few Hindu fundamentalists also preached that Hindu was a separate nation and India was for the Hindus. It strengthened the cause of the Muslim League.
The Hindu fundamentalism was in fact not fully justified. In this country the religious, linguistic and caste minorities never felt that their interests were endangered because of the Hindu dominance. The majority of the Hindus also convinced them that they need not worry owing to their large number in the country. But when a few of the majority community voiced communal feelings, it naturally created a sense of insecurity among the minorities. In such a situation, communal feelings gained ground.
For example, during 1940s, the Muslim League had won seats only in those constituencies where most of the minority community people lived. But the party remained weak in those areas like NWFP, Punjab, Sindh, and Bengal where the Muslims were in majority.
Activities of Communal Organisations: The interesting thing is that sometimes the communal forces joined hands against the Congress. For example, the communal organizations in NWFP, Punjab, Sindh and Bengal supported the Muslim League in the formation of its governments. They were more opposed to Congress than to the Muslim League. They also adopted a pro-government attitude. It can be termed as their unique characteristic that the communal forces of NWFP, Punjab, Sindh, and Bengal were pro-Muslim League and pro-British. They were only inimical towards Congress. So they failed to raise any social and economic demands of the people. They represented the cause of the rich.
Attempts to contain communalism by nationalist movement: The national movement strongly opposed the communal forces. Even then, it was unable to face the challenge put by communal forces. At last, communalism resulted in the partition of the country. Some scholars feel that communal forces won at last because the nationalist leaders did not like to talk to them. They never tried to win their confidence. But the reality is otherwise. From the very start, the nationalist leaders tried to have a dialogue with the communal forces.
But it was not possible to satisfy and convince the communal bigots. If one communal group was satisfied, the other raised its own different demands. Between 1937 and 1939, the Congress leaders met Jinnah time and again and tried to assuage his feelings. But Jinnah was not serious and did not put forward any concrete demand. Rather he implored on the Congress to accept the fact that it was a party of the nationalist Hindus and represented only the Hindus. He was ready to talk to Congress only if this condition was met. It was not easy for the Congress to accept this demand of Jinnah. By doing so, it would have left its basic secular nationalist philosophy.
The truth is that communalism spread more when attempts to contain it increased. In fact, there was no need to satisfy the communal forces. A strong struggle was needed to uproot communalism from the country. But the nationalists could not do it. However, we should not underestimate the role played by nationalist forces. In spite of the communal riots of 1946-47, India formed its secular constitution. The principle of secularism is still the soul of the Indian Constitution.
Discuss the provincial elections held in 1937. What were its results and influences?
How did the provincial elections of 1937 prepare ground for the partition of the country?
Examine the outcomes of the provincial elections of 1937 and also examine the role of congress ministries and the Muslim League in it. (C.B.S.E. 2019 (O.D.))
To constitute provincial parliaments, elections were held for the first time in 1937. These elections provided a limited1 franchise. Only 10 to 12% of people enjoyed the right to vote.
Results: During these elections, the results were favorable for the Congress. Out of the eleven provinces, it got an absolute majority in five provinces. It formed governments in seven provinces. But in the reserved constituencies, the Muslim League did not show good results. It got only 4.4% of the Muslim votes. It did not win even a single seat in Northwest Frontier Province. There were 84 reserved seats in Punjab. But the Muslim League won only two seats. Similarly, it won three seats in Sindh out of the total of 33 reserved seats.
1. In United Provinces, the Muslim League wanted to form a joint government along with Congress. But Congress had got an absolute majority there. So it did not accept the demand of the Muslim League. Some scholars feel that it was here that the Muslim League realised that if India remained united, it is possible that the Muslims might not remain in a dominating position. In other words, the Muslims who were in minority would not be able to attain any political power. So it wanted to strengthen its position as a political party and told its members that the interests of the Muslims could best be served only by a Muslim Party.
The Congress cannot do it as it was a Hindu party according to the propagandist of the Muslim League. But at that time there were a few takers for the insistence of Jinnah that Muslim League should be considered as the sole representative of the Muslims. However the Muslim League was popular in the United Provinces, Bombay and Madras but it had a weak social base in Bengal. It had a negligible role in N.W.F.P and Punjab. It could not even form its government in Sindh. It is strange that within ten years, it was able to get its demand for Pakistan accepted. It also started strengthening its social base.
2. The Congress ministries also increased the hiatus between the Congress and the Muslim League. In United Provinces, the Congress had rejected the offer of the Muslim League to form a joint government because Muslim League supported the Zamindari System whereas Congress wanted to abolish it though it had so far not done anything in this regard. The Congress could also not succeed in increasing its base among the Muslims. It however remained a secular party.
3. In the last years of the 1930s, the leaders of Congress had started emphasizing secularism more than before. But all the ministers and leaders were not unanimous about it. In 1937, Maulana Azad raised the issue that if the Congress members were not free to join the Muslim League then why were they being stopped having links with Hindu Mahasabha.
According to him, such a situation prevailed in Madhya Pradesh. Only then in 1938, the Congress working committee declared that the members of the Congress could not be the members of Hindu Mahasabha. It was the time when the strength of the Hindu Mahasabha and R.S.S. was on the increase. In the 1930s, the R.S.S. had increased its influence from Nagpur to the United Provinces, Punjab and other parts of the country. By 1940s, the R.S.S. had about one lakh volunteers. They believed that India, was the land of the Hindus. Such a communal situation was a signal towards the future partition of the country.
Discuss in detail the plans of the Cabinet Mission Plan.
After the declaration by Clement Attlee, a three-member Cabinet Mission reached India in March, 1946. Its three members were Lord Patthic Lawrence, Stafford Cripps and Alexander. It met 472 political leaders of India and discussed all political problems with them. On 16 May, 1946, it presented its plan which had the following recommendations:
- India would be a loose three-tier confederation and would include all the provinces and the princely states.
- This confederation would have its own Legislature and Executive having representatives from both the provinces and the princely states.
- The princely state will get control of all those subjects which would not be given to the confederation.
- The provinces would be free to collaborate regarding subjects of common interest.
- To frame the Constitution of India, a Constituent Assembly would be organized. It would have 389 members who would be elected by the people.
- The minorities would be allotted seats in proportion to their population.
- Till the formation of a new government, there would be an interim government. It would have 14 members drawn from all political parties.
During the period of partition, what steps were taken by Mahatma Gandhi to re-establish communal harmony?
After the turmoil of partition of the country in 1947, Mahatma Gandhi took the following steps to restore communal harmony in the country. All his efforts bore fruit in no time:
1. He believed in the path of non-violence. He was convinced that non-violence could change the heart of any person. So he moved from the villages of Noakhali in East Bengal to the villages in Bihar and also went to the slum-dwellers in Delhi and Calcutta. Everywhere he stopped Hindus and Muslims from killing each other. In fact, he made a heroic effort to stop communal violence.
2. Gandhiji assured protection to all the members of minority communities. In October 1946, he went to East Bengal where majority of Muslims were killing the minority Hindus. He valiantly persuaded the local Muslims to guarantee the safety of the Hindus.
3. He acted as a mediator between the Hindus and the Muslims and strengthened mutual trust and confidence between the two.
4. He exhorted the people of Delhi on 28 November 1947 to protect all the Muslims. He also began his fast to bring about a change of heart. Many Hindu and Sikhs also observed fast along with Gandhiji. According to Maulana Azad, the effect of this fast was electric. He strengthened Hindu-Muslim unity even by sacrificing his life.
In other words, Gandhiji had miraculous power. In all turmoiled areas, his arrival was as welcome as is the rain after a long and harsh summer.
Explain the development since March, 1946 that led to the partition of India.
The major events that led towards the partition of India since March, 1946 were as under:
1. Arrival of the Cabinet Mission: After the Second World War, the Labour Party came to power in England. Clement Attlee became the Prime Minister of England. He was in favor of making India a free and independent country. In accordance with his declaration, a mission of ministers came to India on 23 March, 1946 to resolve the problems of India. This Mission held meetings with different political leaders of India. It recommended that a federal government might be set up in India.
2. Communal Riots: Elections to the Constituent Assembly were held in 1946. The Indian National Congress won these elections with a thumping majority. Because of jealousy, the Muslim League refused to join the Interim Government and again raised its demand for Pakistan and gave a clarion- call for Direct Action. It resulted in communal riots at various places. At last, the Interim Government was formed in September 1946. The Muslim League agreed to participate in this government but did not extend any cooperation to the Prime Minister.
3. Failure of the Interim Government: When an Interim Government was formed in 1946, the Congress and the Muslim League got an opportunity to work hand in hand. But the Muslim League always put some obstacles in every work initiated by the Congress. A.s a result, the Interim Government remained a failure. It became quite evident that the Hindus and the Muslims could not rule together.
4. The British Declaration to Free and Leave India. On 20 February, 1947, Clement Attlee, the British Prime Minister declared to leave India in June 1948. This Declaration also classified that the British would leave India only if the Muslim League and the Congress agreed to govern the country unitedly. However, the Muslim League was not ready for it. It wanted to attain a separate Pakistan for the Muslims. Consequently, the British Government started planning for the partition of the country.
5. The Partition of the Country: With the aim of dividing India into two parts, Lord Mountbatten was sent as the Viceroy of India. With his sagacious wisdom, he brought round both, Nehru and Patel for the partition of the country. At last, India was partitioned in 1947.
Critically examine the impact of Cabinet Mission proposals on Indian polity.
Explain the reasons why the plan, suggested by the Cabinet Mission was finally not accepted by the Congress and the Muslim League.
What were the proposals of the Cabinet Mission in 1946? Why did the Indian National Congress and the Muslim League ultimately reject them? (CJB.S.E. Sample Paper 2011)
The main recommendations of the Cabinet Mission (1946) are as under:
- India will be accepted as a federation. It will include all the provinces and princely states of the country.
- The Union will have?itSilegislature and executive. The legislature will have representatives from all the provinces and the princely states.
- The princely states will have those subjects which have not been given to the Union.
- The provinces will have the right to form joint groups so that they may determine collective subjects.
- A Constituent Assembly will be established to frame a Constitution for India. The total number of members of the Constituent Assembly will be 389 who will be elected from the provinces on the basis of the population of the state.
- The minorities will be alloted seats in proportion to the percentage of their population in the country.
- An Interim Government will be established in the country till the new Constitution is framed.
Critical Evaluation. Almost all the political parties had accepted free recommendations in the beginning. But later on, they started interpreting these recommendations in their own1 tray. The Muslim League demanded that’ there “must be a federation and in the future, there must also be a right to secede. The Congress wanted’tfrat the provinces must have the right, to choose a group of their choice.
In this way, the resolution of Cabinet Mission Plan was disapproved. It paved a way for the partition of India.
Explain the valiant efforts of Gandhiji in restoring communal harmony. (C.B.S.E. 2009 (O.D.))
After the turmoil of partition of the country in 1947, Mahatma Gandhi took the following steps to restore communal harmony in the country. All his efforts bore fruit in no time:
1. He believed in the path of non-violence. He was convinced that non-violence could change the heart of any person. So he moved from the village of Noakhali in East Bengal and villages in Bihar. He also went to the slum-dwellers in Delhi and Calcutta. Everywhere he stopped Hindus and Muslims from killing each other. In fact, he made a heroic effort to stop communal violence.
2. Gandhiji assured protection to all the members of minority communities. In October 1946, he went to East Bengal where majority of Muslims were killing the minority Hindus. He valiantly persuaded the local Muslims to guarantee the safety of Hindus.
3. He acted as a mediator between the Hindus and the Muslims and strengthened mutual trust and confidence between the two.
4.(iv) He exhorted the people of Delhi on 28 November 1947 to protect all the Muslims. He also began his fast to bring about a change of heart. Many Hindus and Sikhs also observed fast along with Gandhiji. According to Maulana Azad, the effect of this fast was electric. He strengthened Hindu-Muslim unity even by sacrificing his life.
In other words, Gandhiji had miraculous power. In all turmoiled areas, his arrival was as welcome as is the rain after a long and harsh summer.
Explain how the demand for Pakistan was formalized gradually. (C.B.S.E. 2010 (D))
1. On 23rd March 1940, Muslim League passed a resolution demanding limited autonomy for Muslim-dominated areas of the sub-continent. But there was no mention of partition or Pakistan in this resolution. On contrary to it, Sikandar Hayat Khan, Prime Minister of Punjab and leader of the Unionist Party, who had drafted the 1940 resolution, declared in Punjab Assembly speech on 1 March 1941 that ‘‘Muslim Raj here and Hindu Raj elsewhere ”
2. Some people believe that the demand for the creation of Pakistan could be traced back to the Urdu poet Mohammad Iqbal. During his presidential speech to the Muslim League in 1930, he stressed the need for a ‘North West Indian Muslim State’. But in this address, he was not stressing the creation of a new country” but was stressing on an autonomous unit of Muslim-dominated areas in North-Western India. This unit must have been structured in the Indian federation.
3. It took only seven years between the raising of demand of Pakistan and actual partition of the country. No one was aware of the meaning of the creation of Pakistan or how it might shape the lives of people in the future. Many people who migrated from their homelands in 1947 thought that when peace prevailed again then they would return to their homelands.
Explain why many scholars have written of the months after the independence as being Gandhiji’s ‘finest hours’. (C.B.S.E. 2010 (O.D.))
There is no denying the fact that the months after the independence were Gandhiji’s ‘finest hours’. Its base is the struggle done by him for communal harmony. Gandhiji struggled so hard for independence and that independence was achieved with a very heavy price and the country was divided with independence. Hindus and Muslims wanted to kill each other. So Gandhiji called the Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims of riot-hit areas of Calcutta (Bengal) to forget the past and built a spirit of mutual trust between them. He also called them to take oath of living in peace with each other.
After establishing peace in Bengal, he went over to Delhi. From here he wanted to visit the riot-hit areas of Punjab. While in the capital, his meetings were disrupted by refugees who objected to readings from the Koran. Some shouted slogans asking why he did not speak of the sufferings of those Hindus and Sikhs still living in Pakistan. According to D.G. Tendulkar, “Gandhiji was equally concerned with the sufferings of the minority community in Pakistan. He wanted to go to their succor.
But with what face could he now go there, when he could not guarantee full redress to the Muslims in Delhi?” The last result of Gandhiji’s struggle was his death on 30 January, 1948. It was his great sacrifice for the country.
Explain how the Constitution of India protects the rights of the Central Government and the States. (C.B.S.E. 2013 (D))
There was a vigorous debate in the Constituent Assembly on the topic of rights of the Central Government and the states. Jawaharlal Nehru was in favour of a strong Centre. He wrote a letter to the president of the Constituent Assembly in which he pointed out that a weak Centre would be dangerous for country because it would not be capable of coordinating important matters of common concern and of effectively speaking for the whole country in the international sphere.
In the draft of Constitution, all the subjects are divided into three lists – Central list, State list and Concurrent list. Subjects in the first list were to be under the jurisdiction of the Central Government. The second list of subjects was vested with the States. Centre and the States both shared the responsibility of the third list. But more subjects were kept under the Central control. Under Article 356, the Centre was given the power to take over a State administration on the recommendation of the Governor.
K. Santhanam from Madras strongly favoured the rights of the states. He felt that a reallocation of powers of the states as well as of the Centre is necessary. If the Centre was given more responsibility then it could not function in an effective manner. Some of its functions must be transferred to states then only the Centre could become more strong. In the State List, many subjects are given on which state governments can make laws. Moreover to bring about a change in the State List, the assent of Rajya Sabha or the Upper House of the Parliament is required. In this way, the rights of the states are also protected by the Constitution of India.
Examine the outcome of the provincial elections of 1937 and explain the role of Congress ministries and the Muslim League on it.
To constitute provincial parliaments, elections were held for the first time in 1937. These elections provided a limited franchise. Only 10 to 12% of people enjoyed the right to vote.
Results: During these elections, the results were favorable for the Congress. Out of the eleven provinces, it got an absolute majority in five provinces. It formed governments in seven provinces. But in the reserved constituencies, the Muslim League did not show good results. It got only 4.4% of the Muslim votes. It did not win even a single seat in Northwest Frontier Province. There were 84 reserved seats in Punjab. But the Muslim League won only two seats. Similarly it won three seats in Sindh out of the total of 33 reserved seats.
1. In United Provinces, the Muslim League wanted to form a joint government along with the Congress. But Congress had got an absolute majority there. So it did not accept the demand of the Muslim League. Some scholars feel that it was here that the Muslim League realized that if India remained united, it is possible that the Muslim might not remain in a dominating position. In other words, the Muslims who were in minority would not be able to attain any political power. So it wanted to strengthen its position as a political party and told its members that the interests of the Muslim could best be served only by a Muslim Party.
The Congress cannot do it as it was a Hindu Party according to the propagandist of the Muslim League. But at that time there were a few takers for the insistence of Jinnah that the Muslim League should be considered as the sole representative of the Muslim. However, the Muslim League was popular in the United Provinces, Bombay, and Madras but it had a weak social base in Bengal. It had a negligible role in N.W.F.P. and Punjab. It could not even form its government in Sindh. It is strange that within ten years, it was able to get its demand for Pakistan accepted. It also started strengthening its social base.
2. The Congress ministries also increased the hiatus between the Congress and the Muslim League. In United Provinces, the Congress had rejected the offer of the Muslim League to form a joint government because Muslilm League supported the Zamindari System whereas Congress wanted to abolish it though it had so far not done anything in this regard. The Congress could also not succeed in increasing its base among the Muslim. It however remained a secular party.
3. In the last years of the 1930s, the leaders of the Congress had started emphasizing secularism more than before. But all the ministers and leaders were not unanimous about it. In 1937, Maulana Azad raised the issue that if the Congress members were not free to join the Muslim League then why were they being stopped having links with Hindu’Mahasabha. According to him, such a situation prevailed in Madhya Pradesh.
Only then in 1938, the Congress working committee declared that the members of the Congress could not be the members of Hindu Mahasabha. It was the time when the strength of the Hindu Mahasabha and R.S.S. was on the increase. In the 1930s the R.S.S. had increased its influence from Nagpur to the United Provinces, Punjab, and other parts of the country. By the 1940s, the R.S.S. had about one lakh volunteers. They believed that India was the land of the Hindus. Such a communal situation was a signal towards the future partition of the country.
Understanding Partition Important Extra Questions HOTS
Why do contemporary observers and scholars describe the violent incidents during the partition of the country as a holocaust? Give any two reasons.
According to contemporary observers and scholars, violent incidents, during the partition were like holocaust which meant destruction or slaughter on a mass-scale.
- The Indians and the Pakistanis considered each other as enemies. There were attempts from both sides to wipe out the entire population.
- There were innumerable incidents of killing, rape, arson, and loot.
By the end of 1947, there was a complete breakdown of authority in Punjab. Give any two examples.
- There was bloodshed in Amritsar. There was no administrative machinery to restore law. The British officials did not know how to handle the situation. They neither intervened nor took any decision to improve the situation.
- The Indian soldiers and policemen came to act as Hindus, Muslims or Sikhs.
What was the two-nation theory of Jinnah? How did it prove a myth?
Jinnah stated that Hindus and Muslims were two different communities. So they cannot live together. There should be separate states for the both. But this theory, based on the religious bond, proved a myth in 1971-72 when Bangladesh separated from Pakistan.
Critically examine the importance of oral history in studying an event such as the Partition of India. (C.B.S.E. 2008 (O.D.))
By oral history, we generally mean the individual experiences of the people. The information about such individual experiences can be gathered by having interviews with the concerned people.
Merits: The main advantage of the oral history is that it can be helpful in enlivening the events that occurred in the past. By this method, we can even know the experiences of the weak and the poor, who are often neglected in history.
Demerits: The main disadvantage of oral history is that it is based on memoirs. It lacks credibility and is unreliable. Our view of Oral History and Partition: When we adopt the method of oral history about the partition of the country, our knowledge is widened. In Govt, reports we get data and statistics, but they do not tell us about the trials and tribulations of the people.
For example, we can know how many women were exchanged after the partition of the country between India and Pakistan but we cannot know how much sorrow and hardships those women suffered. Only the bearer knows where the shoe pinches. Only the distressed women can relate their tales of woes.
“Some scholars see partition as a culmination of communal politics.” Examine the statement. (C.B.S.E. 2011 (D))
Explain how the Indian partition was a culmination of communal politics that started developing in the opening decades of the 20th century. (C.B.S.E. 2013 (D))
“Some scholars see partition as a culmination of a communal politics that started development in the opening decades of the twentieth century.” Examine the statement. (C.B.S.E. 2012 (O.D.), 2015 (D))
Explain why some scholars see the partition of India as the culmination of communal politics. (C.B.S.E. 2017 (D.))
Some scholars believe that partition of the country was the culmination of communal politics. It started in the opening decades of the 20th century. They also say that the separate electorate which was created by the colonial government in 1909, had a great impact on communal politics.
Separate electorates meant that Muslims could now elect their own representatives in designated constituencies. This created a temptation for politicians working within this system to use sectarian slogans and gather a following by distributing favours to their own religious groups. Religious identities thus acquired a functional use within a modern political system, and the logic of electoral politics deepened and hardened these identities.
Community identities no longer indicated simple differences in faith and belief, they came to mean active opposition and hostility between communities. However, while separate electorates did have a profound impact on Indian politics, we should be careful not to over-emphasize their significance or see partition as a logical outcome of their work.
Understanding Partition Important Extra Questions Source-Based
Read the following passages and answer the questions that follow:
“I am simply returning my father’s
Karz, his debt”
This is what the researcher recorded:
During my visits to the History Department Library of Punjab University, Lahore, in the winter of 1992, the librarian, Abdul Latif, a pious middle-aged man, would help me a lot. He would go out of his way, well beyond the call of duty, to provide me with relevant material, meticulously keeping photocopies requested by me ready before my arrival the following morning. I found his attitude to my work so extraordinary that one day I could not help asking him, “Latif Sahib, why do you go out of your way to help me so much?” Latif Sahib glanced at his watch, grabbed his namaz topi and said, “I must go for namaz right now but I will answer your question on my return.” Stepping into his office half an hour later, he continued.
“Yes, your question. I …. I mean my father belonged to Jammu, to a small village in Jammu district. This was a Hindu-dominated village and Hindu ruffians of the area massacred the hamlet’s Muslim population in August 1947. On a late afternoon, when the Hindu mob had been at its furious worst, my father discovered he was perhaps the only Muslim youth of the village left alive. He had already lost his entire family in the butchery and was looking for ways of escaping.
Remembering a kind, elderly Hindu lady, a neighbor, he implored her to save him by offering him shelter at her place. The lady agreed to help father blit said, ’Son if you hide here, they will get both of us. This is of no use. You follow me to the spot where they have piled up the dead. You lie down there as if dead and I will dump a few dead-bodies on you. Lie there among the dead, son, as if dead through the night and run for your life towards Sialkot at the break of dawn tomorrow.’
“My father agreed to the proposal. Off they went to that spot, father lay on the ground and the old lady dumped a number of bodies on him. An hour or so later a group of armed Hindu hoodlums appeared. One of them yelled. ‘Any life left in anybody?’ and the others started, with their crude staffs and guns, to feel for any trace of life in that heap. Somebody shouted. There is a wrist watch on that body !’ and hit my father’s fingers with the butt of his rifle. Father used to tell us how difficult was for him to keep his outstretched palm, beneath the watch he was wearing, so utterly still. Somehow he succeeded for a few seconds until one of them said, ‘Oh, it’s only a watch. Come let us leave, it is getting dark.’ Fortunately, for Abbaji, they left and my father lay there in that wretchedness the whole night, literally running for his life at the first hint of light. He did not stop until he reached Sialkot.
“I help you because that Hindu man helped my father. I am simply returning my father’s karz, his debt.”
“But I am not a Hindu,” I said. “Mine is a Sikh family, at best a mixed Hindu-Sikh one.” “I do not know what your religion is with any surety. You do not wear uncut hair and you are not a Muslim. So, for me you are a Hindu and I do my little bit for you because a Hindu man saved my father.”
(i) Which incident is referred to in this report of the researcher? What kind of a period it was?
The report of the researcher describes an incident that occurred at the time of the partition of India. It was a period of unprecedented violence, genocide, and loot.
(ii) What kind of a man was Abdul Latif? Why did he go out pf his way to help the researcher so much?
Abdul Latif was a pious middle-aged man. His father lived in a Hindu-dominated village of Jammu District. One day the Hindu ruffians attacked the houses of the Muslims. While all other Muslims were killed by the mob, the father of Abdul Latif somehow escaped the fury of the people. He was left alone and wanted to escape. But a kind, elderly Hindu lady gave him shelter at the place where the dead bodies were kept by the Hindus. She saved his life. Abdul Latif helped the researcher so much because he wanted to return the debt of his father. He helped the researcher very much, even out of the way, as he was a Hindu Sikh.
(iii) How did any elderly Hindu women save the life of the father of Abdul Latif?
On the suggestion of a kind, elderly Hindu lady,
the father of Abdul Latif kept lying among the dead bodies of the Muslim for the whole night. The armed Hindu ruffians even reached there. But somehow the father of Abdul Latif was about to save himself. As soon as it was dawn, he ran to Sialkot to save his life.
“No, no! You can never be ours.” This is the third story the researcher related:
I still vividly remember a man I met in Lahore in 1992. He mistook me to be a Pakistani studying abroad. For some reason he liked me. He urged me to return home after completing my studies to serve the qaum (nation). I told him I shall do so but, at some stage in the conversation, I added that my citizenship happens to be Indian. All of a sudden his tone changed, and much as he was restraining himself, he blurted out, “Oh Indian! I had thought you were Pakistani.” I tried my best to impress upon i him that I always see myself as South Asian. “No, no! You will never be ours. Your people wiped out my entire village in 1947, we have sworn enemies and shall always remain so.”
(i) What did the person advise to the researcher who met him in Lahore in 1992? Why did he say this? Explain.
The person advised the researcher that, he should return home after completing his studies to serve the qaum (nation). He asked this because he mistook him to be a Pakistani studying abroad.
(ii) What did the person react on knowing that the researcher was an Indian?
When he came to know that the researcher is an Indian than all of a sudden his tone changed. He said that Indians are his enemies.
(iii) What did the Indians try to explain?
The Indian tried to explain that he did not consider himself as an Indian but as South Asian. It means that as South Asian it hardly matters that whether he is Indian or Pakistani.
(iv) Who was right and why Explain. (C.B.S.E. 2011)
Both were right because that person was very angry with the blood-shed of 1947 in which people of his village were wiped out. On the other hand, the researcher was trying to make a new thinking by eliminating the enmity between them.
“A voice in the wilderness”
Mahatma Gandhi knew that he was “a voice in the wilderness” but he nevertheless continued to oppose the idea of Partition:
But what a tragic change we see today. I wish the day may come again when Hindus and Muslims will do nothing without mutual consultation. I am day and night tormented by the question of what I can do to hasten the coming of that day. I appeal to the League not to regard any Indian as its enemy… Hindus and Muslims are born of the same soil. They have the same blood, eat the same food, drink the same water and speak the same language.
Speech at Prayer Meeting, 7 September 1946, CWMG, Vol. 92, P. 139 But I am firmly convinced that the Pakistan demand as put forward by the Muslim League is un-Islamic and I have not hesitated to call it sinful. Islam stands for the unity and brotherhood of mankind, not for disrupting the oneness of the human family. Therefore, those who want to divide India into possible warring groups are enemies alike of Islam and India. They may cut me to pieces but they cannot make me subscribe to something which I consider to be wrong.
Harijan, 26 September 1946, CWMG, Vol. 92, p. 229
(i) Which concern of Mahatma Gandhi has been expressed in this excerpt?
This excerpt expresses the concern of Mahatma Gandhi about the future partition of India.
(ii) What arguments did he give against partition?
Mahatma Gandhi gave the following arguments:
(a) The demand for Pakistan, put forward by
the Muslim League, was un-Islamic and sinful. Islam stands for the unity and brotherhood of mankind. It is sinful to disrupt the oneness of the human family.
(b) Those who want to divide India into different walling groups, are the enemies of both Islam and India.
(c) They can cut my body to pieces but they cannot compel me to accept what is wrong.
(iii) What appeal did he make to the Muslim League? What arguments did he advance for rt?
Mahatma Gandhi appealed to the Muslim League not to regard any Indian as its enemy. He stated that the Hindus and the Muslims were born on the same soil. They had the same blood. They ate the same food. They took the same water. They also spoke the same language. So Mahatma Gandhi exhorted the Muslim League not to be prejudiced towards the Indians.
A Small Basket of Grapes
This is what Khushdeva Singh writes about his experience during one of his visits to Karachi ‘ in 1949.
My friends took trie to a room at the airport where we all sat down and talked (and) had luri&h together. I brief to travel from Karachi to London … at 2.30 am. … At 5.60 p.m. … I told my friends that they had given me so generously of their time, I thought it would be too much for them to wait the whole night and suggested they must spare themselves the trouble. Bit nobody left until it.was inner time.
…Then they said they were leaving and that I must have, a little resh before emplaning. … I got up at, about 1.45 a.m and when I opened the door, I saw that all of them were still there … They all accompanied me to the plane, and, before parting,, presented me with a small basket of grapes. 1 had no words to express my gratitude for the overwhelming affection with which I was treated and the happiness this stopover had given me.
(i) Who was Khushdeva Singh?
Khushdeva Singh was a Sikh doctor. He was a specialist in the treatment of typhoid. He was posted at Dharampur when there was a partition of India. This town is now in Himachal Pradesh.
(iii How did his friends show their affection to him during his visit to Karachi?
When Khushdeva Singh visited Karachi, all his friends remained with him. They stayed for all the night at the place where Khushdeva Singh had put up. They remained with him till he caught an airplane for London. Before departing, they offered a basket of grapes to their friend. It was a symbol of their love for him.
(iii) How was Khushdeva Singh seen as a symbol of humanity and harmony?
Khushdeva Singh was a kind-hearted and humane doctor. He offered food, shelter, and security to all migrant Muslims, Sikhs, and Hindus without any discrimination during an era of violence when India was partitioned.
(iv) This source is an example of oral history. How does oral history help historians reconstruct events of the recent past? Give two points.
The oral history provides numerous examples for written descriptions. It provides truthful material that is helpful to the historians for the reconstruction of the past history.
What “recovering” Women Meant
Here is the experience of a couple, recounted by Prakash Tandon in his Punjabi Century, an autobiographical social history of colonial Punjab:
In one instance, a Sikh youth who had run amuck during the Partition persuaded a massacring crowd to let him take away a young, beautiful Muslim girl. They got married, and slowly fell in love with each other. Gradually memories of her parents, who had been killed, and her former life faded. They were happy together, and a little boy was born. Soon, however, social workers and the police, laboring assiduously to recover abducted women, began to track down the couple.
They made inquiries in the Sikh’s home-district of Jalandhar; he got scent of it and the family ran away to Calcutta (Kolkata). The social workers reached Calcutta (Kolkata). Meanwhile, the couple’s friends tried to obtain a stay-order from the court but the law was taking its ponderous course. From Calcutta (Kolkata) the couple escaped to some obscure Punjab village, hoping that the police would fail to shadow them. But the police caught up with them and began to question them. His wife was expecting again and now nearing her time.
The Sikh sent the little boy to his mother and took his wife to a sugar-cane field. He made her as comfortable as he could in a pit while he lay with a gun, waiting for the police, determined not to lose her while he was alive. In the pit, he delivered her with his own hands. The next day she ran a high fever, and in three days she was dead. He had not dared to take her to the hospital. He was so afraid the social workers and the police would take her away.
(i) This excerpt belongs to which book? Whose story is related to it?
This excerpt has been recounted by Prakash Tandon in his book entitled “Punjabi Century”. It is the story of a young couple.
(ii) How was a Sikh youth married to a Muslim girl? What kind of family life did they have?
A Sikh youth came across a massacring crowd during the partition of India. He saw a young and beautiful Muslim girl. He fell in love with her and got married. A little boy was born to them after some time. They lived a happy married life.
(iii) Why was their family life on the verge of destruction?
Their happy family life was threatened when the social activists along with the policemen followed them. They wanted to send the girl back to her country.
(iv) On what dark aspects does the incident throw light?
This incident tells us that those who stood for the recovery of women were callous. They did not care for the feelings and sentiments of the recovered women. Sometimes they caused more trouble than any concrete help.