Irony of Independence and Partition
On August 15, 1947 bombs burst in the air in celebration, and India was finally an independent nation; but the bombs were not only the bombs of fire crackers, but also that of hatred and religious partition. When the British packed their bags and left, the religious war that were covered by imperialism began to surface. The Hindu and Muslim relationships were worsening, and this almost cost India her independence. Gandhi and other leaders tried to patch the problem, but ironically religion did not seem to have a conscience like Britain did. Gandhi, frustrated and saddened by the situation said, "My thirty-two years of work have come to an inglorious end." Gandhi in a sense was right. Although all his work was not completely inglorious, the partition that was eating its way through the Indian people was. India was like a baby who just left the nest and was learning to fly. The only problem was that she was ridden by a terrible disease that was weakening her muscles. This is exactly what the religious problems were doing to India.
When it came time for India to receive her independence, Britain wanted the nation of India as a whole to come forward and receive it. This presented itself as a problem because India was not a nation that was united. The Muslim League wanted its own nation, and Britain was not comfortable with the idea of India dividing. Britain promised India she would have her independence by June 1948 and it was February 1947 when all these discussions were being held. Britain sent a new Viceroy, Lord Mountbatten, to help smooth the differences, but that did not help much. Jinnah, a Muslim leader told the Viceroy that if the Muslims were not given their own country, there would be a civil war. At this point, the Viceroy met with the leaders and the Congress where they decided that the Muslims would get their own country if a civil war could be avoided.
The Muslims got Pakistan, but the religious war did not end there. Giving the Muslim their own country was not a simple and easy task, for it was not easy to uproot when the Muslims had settled all over India. Although many of the Muslims stayed in Pakistan, there were large Muslim communities that were left in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, and Bengal. There were terrible riots, and tens of thousands of people were killed in the name of religion. Gandhi was disappointed and he began to fast, hoping to end this widespread violence. After three days, a large delegation representing all the religions promised Gandhi that the violence and riots would end. Gandhi agreed to end his fast, but only two days later, when he was addressing a crowd Hindu extremists bombed the surrounding area. They did this because they were upset that Gandhi was siding with the Muslims.
Peace was nowhere in sight, and the Hindus wanted to re-conquer Pakistan for India. Gandhi was no longer seen as the ‘Father of the Nation.’ Instead, the Hindu extremists viewed him as a stumbling block in achieving their goal of conquest. So on January 30th 1948, they ended Gandhi’s life by stabbing him in the chest while he was addressing a crowd of people. Gandhi muttered, "Hey Rama!"(Oh god) and that was the end of his life, but not his soul and the light that he brought with it still burned.
Gandhi’s light still shines, but the war and the hatred that was planted about fifty years ago still grows. Although India has just celebrated fifty years of independence it is a divided country. The Hindus are still fighting the Muslim and occasional outbreaks of this plague is seen. Something about the people, and their attitude towards things make them unable to coexist. This is what hinders India from making its mark in the modern world. Until the Indians recognize that violence and hatred scar the nation, and hinder both parties, India will never progress.