(Last Updated on : 01-02-2012)
The Partition of India was such an event which devastated both the nations, India and Pakistan, completely. The impact of the partition of India was quite distressing. The immediate result of partition was violence. Communal riots took place throughout the country destroying lives, wealth and resulting in a bitterness that was hard to wipe out. Moreover, after India attained Independence, the minorities were affected directly in the areas of partition. Their fate was in a perilous situation. In addition to this, the 'Direct Action' campaign by the Muslim League was followed by the Calcutta killing and disturbances in the Noakhali district of East Bengal. Tension prevailed in the areas of Bihar and Punjab and the North-West Frontier Province as well. These areas witnessed massive bloodshed and arson.
According to the Indian Independence Act 1947 the princely states in India were left to choose whether to accede to India or Pakistan or to remain outside. As the aftermath of partition, all of them were incorporated into one or other of the new dominions. In this connection, Jammu and Kashmir had to face the question of choice. This led to further anxiety among the two communities. Observing such communal hostility, Gandhiji and Jinnah both issued a joint appeal to Lord Mountbatten. But he, too, failed to bring about any noticeable change in the relations between the two communities. The aftermath of the partition also reported to have displaced about 12 million to 15 million people in the former British Indian Empire. These refugees moved across the borders to regions which were completely foreign to them. Apart from the fact that the country was divided, the provinces of Punjab and Bengal were also separated. These divisions caused disastrous riots and claimed the lives of Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs.
The announcement of the June 3rd plan or Mountbatten Plan and its acceptance by the political leaders temporarily tried to end the communal hostilities. But the Muslim League in the Punjab region announced that it would resist any change in the speculative division of the province. As a result, the Sikhs immediately launched a violent counter-agitation, and this again caused a dangerous situation including the impact of partition of India. Immediately thereafter, Gandhiji and the Congress leaders appealed to the Hindu and Sikh minorities in Pakistan areas to face the situation in the areas bravely and to stay in their respective homes.
But after, the announcement of the Radcliffe Award oil on 17th August, a campaign was launched to drive out the Hindus and Sikhs all over West Punjab and the North-West Frontier Province. Furthermore, serious disturbances in the Lahore, Sheikhupura, Sialkot and Gujranwala districts started to develop as the aftermath of partition. The massacre was followed by a violent anti-Muslim reaction in Amritsar. Soon after, communal turbulence engrossed the people on both sides of the border leading to the sufferance of the masses in both the countries.
Impact of Partition of India also gave rise to the problem of refugees. The Hindus and Sikhs in West Pakistan entered the Indian border by the shortest routes. The flow proceeded through East Punjab and the city and province of Delhi and overflowed into the western districts of the United Provinces. The refugees were driven from their homes under conditions of inexpressible dismay and misery. The mass destruction in Western Pakistan had its impact in East Punjab too. The trouble continued to spread in the areas of Patiala and East Punjab States to the western districts of the United Provinces, especially Meerut and Saharanpur. The States of Bharatpur, Alwar, and Delhi also witnessed the problem. The Muslims in these areas now started a mass exodus to the Pakistan border.
Delhi experienced major problem too. However, an effort to preserve order in the city, the District Magistrate of Delhi imposed an extended curfew from the afternoon of 28th August to 1st September. The Old City remained peaceful and quiet during this period but certain conditions were still reported in the areas inhabited by Muslims, or into which non-Muslim refugees had penetrated. In addition to that the explosion of a bomb in a Hindu locality in Karolbagh, Delhi was the first sign of a serious outbreak of rioting in the area. Moreover, there occurred frequent cases of arson and of looting. A feeling of nervousness and apprehension prevailed in the capital. Apart from looting, stabbing also occurred in different parts of the city in the Muslim and Hindu localities. Incidents of organised rioting and frequent arson in many parts of the city further worsened the situation in Delhi. Muslim shops situated in predominantly Hindu areas suffered mostly. Conditions in New Delhi, thus, deteriorated seriously.
The deterioration in Delhi also reflected the condition of East Punjab, the western districts of the United Provinces and some of the Punjab and Rajasthan States. Impact of Partition of India, was obvious by the incident of breakdown of the administration. However, in order to save Delhi from the impending chaos, an Emergency Committee was set up with fifteen members. It consisted of Cabinet Ministers, the Commander-in-Chief, representatives of the Supreme Command, the Chief Commissioner of Delhi, the Inspector-General of Police, the Director-General of Civil Aviation and representatives of the Medical Department and Railways. The Cabinet Ministers were Nehru, Vallabhbhai Patel, Baldev Singh (Defence), John Matthai (Railways) and K. C. Neogy. C. M.Trivedi, Governor of East Punjab and his Premier and Home Minister, also attended the meetings when called upon. Vernon Erskine Crum was appointed Secretary of the Committee.
The main aim of the Emergency Committee was find ways and means of dealing with the deteriorating situation in the city. The Central Emergency Committee formally set up the special Committee, with Bhabha as Chairman and H. M. Patel as Vice-Chairman. Finally the Delhi Emergency Committee came into being. The Committee functioned by trying to restore peace and rescuing the Capital from continuing chaos. Thus with the Committee's effort, normal conditions had been restored in the city within two weeks. The sense of insecurity among the Muslims disappeared. Thus, they could move about freely within the without any life threat.
Impact of Partition of India also resulted in communal migration from East Bengal. The Hindus from East Bengal had to undergo severe destitution and adversity. In fact, the problem aroused when West Pakistan officials established themselves in East Bengal. Thus it is believed that the policy of the West Pakistan officials was responsible for the mass exodus of Hindus from East Bengal.
Thus, the impact of partition of India included communal mass devastation, the two-way migration of refugees, and the failure of the administrative machinery was faced by the nation.