NCERT Solutions For Class 12 History Chapter 14 understanding Partition Politics, Memories, Experiences

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Q1. What did the Muslim League demand through its resolution of 1940?

Answer: An important resolution was passed by the Muslim League on 23rd March, 1940. This resolution was drafted by Sikandar Hayat Khan, the leader of the Unionist Party and the Punjab Premier. Through this, the Muslim League demanded an autonomy for the Muslim -majority areas of the subcontinent. But in the resolution there was no mention either of the partition of the country or the creation of Pakistan.
Sikandar Hayat Khan was opposed to the idea of the formation of Pakistan. He opined of a loose federation with a lot of autonomy for the states.

Q2.Why did some people think of Partition as a very sudden development?

Answer :Some people think that partition of India in 1947 was a sudden development. Many Muslim leaders were not serious in their demand for Pakistan as a separate nation. On many occasions, Jinnah used the idea of Pakistan to seek favours from the British and to block concessions into the Congress. Even the Muslims were confused about the idea of Pakistan. They could not think of their future in an independent country called Pakistan. Many people had migrated to the new country with the hope that they would soon come back to India as soon as the situation improved.
In fact, the partition was so sudden that nobody could imagine it.

Q3. How did ordinary people view Partition? (or)
Describe the harrowing experiences of ordinary people during the period of partition of India.

Answer: For ordinary people, partition was full of challenges and brought sufferings. The division was not a territorial division for them. It was also not a party politics of Congress and the Muslim League for them. But for the ordinary people, partition was a challenge for them. It brought misery and troubles to them.
It meant death of their loved one, loss of property and wealth. Partition also uprooted them from their paternal land. People were forced to live in refugee camps. They were also forced to start their life once again from a new platform. So for ordinary people, partition was not a pleasant experience, but it was painful and full of sufferings.

Q4.What were Mahatma Gandhi’s arguments against Partition?

Answer: i)Mahatma Gandhi opposed the Partition by arguing that both Hindus and Muslims were bom of same soil and they had the same blood, ate the same food, drank the same water and spoke the same language. So, they were similar to each other.

ii)He stated that the demand for Pakistan put forward by the Muslim League was un- Islamic and sinful because Islam stands for the unity and brotherhood of mankind and not for disrupting the oneness of the human family. So, those who wanted Partition were enemies alike of Islam and India.

Q5. Why is Partition viewed as an extremely significant marker in South Asian history?

Answer: Partition is viewed as an extremely significant marker in South Asian history due to the following reasons :

i)During Partition several hundred thousands were killed and innumerable women raped and abducted. About 15 million people were compelled to move across the frontiers which were not known officially until two days after formal independence. They lost everything. They were rendered homeless. Thus, they were stripped of their local or regional cultures.

ii)It was like a civil war because there were well-organised forces on both sides and concerted attempts to wipe out entire populations of other community as enemies.

iii)It has been called by the ordinary people as “maashall-la – martial law”, “mara mari” (killings), and “raula” or “hullar” (disturbance tumult, uproar). Sometimes it has been described as “holocaust” but it was not state-driven extermination.

iv)The Partition has led to produce India-haters in Pakistan and Pakistan-haters in India. Though such people were there before Partition but they were strengthened because of 1947.

v)Memories of Partition still continue to shape the history of people on both sides of border. Communal groups use them to create feelings of suspicion and hatred.

vi)The relations between India and Pakistan too have been influenced by the legacy of the Partition.

Q6.Why was British India partitioned?

Answer :Partition of India was not a sudden event because even in its resolution of March 1940, the Muslim League had only demanded a measure of autonomy for the Muslim majority areas of the subcontinent. It was a culmination of events such as communal politics that started developing in the opening decades of the twentieth century as mentioned below :

i)Government of India Act 1909 and 1919 – The British Government granted separate electorate for Muslims in 1909. These were expanded in 1919. Separate electorates implied that Muslims could elect their own representatives in designated constituencies. Thus, religious identities were encouraged. Community identities no longer indicated simple difference in faith and belief: but they led to active opposition and hostilities between communities.

ii)Events during 1920s and 1930s – During the 1920s and 1930s, Muslims were agitated by the activities of the Hindus such as “music-before-mosque”, cow protection movement, and shuddhi movement of Arya Samaj. Similarly, Hindus were angered by the rapid spread of tabligh (propaganda) and tanzim (organisation). These activities led to riots at different places and deepened differences between two communities.

iii)The provincial elections of 1937 and the Congress ministries – In the elections of 1937, Congress did well but Muslim League failed poorly in the constituencies reserved for Muslims. The Muslim League wanted to form a joint government with the Congress in United Provinces where Congress had won an absolute majority. The Congress had, therefore, rejected the offer. This led to drifting away of the Muslim League but thereafter Muslim League doubled its efforts at expanding its social support.

iv)Policies of the Congress ministries – The Congress ministry in UP wanted to abolish landlordism which was supported by the Muslim League. The Congress also could gain much in its mass contact programme in UP. But its policies alarmed the conservative Muslims.

v)Rise of Hindu Mahasabha and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh – The rise of Hindu Mahasabha and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh which had over 100,000 trained and highly disciplined cadres pledged to an ideology of Hindu nationalism, convinced Muslims that India was a land of the Hindus.

The above factors created differences between two communities but inspite of this fact remains that the Cabinet Mission (1946) plan that recommended a loose three-tier confederation was accepted by all the major parties. It was due to later developments such as ‘Direct Action da/ (16 August, 1946), riots and violence, fear of Sikh leaders and Congressmen in the Punjab and a section of bhadralok. Bengali Hindus in Bengal which compelled the Congress to accept the partition of the country.

Q7. How did women experience Partition?

Ans:i)The women had harrowing experiences of the Partition — (i) Women were raped, abducted, sold and forced to settle down to a new life with strangers in unknown circumstances.

ii)Later on when women adjusted themselves in new conditions and developed new family bonds, they were traced and sent back to their earlier families. The governments were insensitive to the complexities of human relationships. They also did not consult the concerned women. Thus, the government undermined their right to take decisions regarding their own lives.

iii)At some places, women were killed by their own men to preserve their ‘honour’. Some women might have been compelled to end their lives against their will

Q8.How did the Congress come to change its views on Partition?

Answer :Initially, the proposals of the Cabinet Mission were accepted by all the major political parties but due to differences over interpretation of the plan, neither the Congress, nor the League agreed to the Cabinet Mission’s proposal. Thereafter, following developments took place:

i)The Muslim League announced 16 August 1946 as “Direct Action Day” for winning its Pakistan demand.

ii)“Direct Action Day” led to riots at Calcutta and other places.
At that time, many Sikh leaders and Congressmen in the Punjab were convinced that Partition was a necessary evil, otherwise they would be swamped by Muslim majority and Muslim leaders would dictate their terms to them.

iii)Similarly, a section of bhadralok, Bengali Hindus, who wanted political power to remain with them, began to fear the “permanent tutelage of Muslims”. They were in a numerical minority so only a division of the province could ensure their political dominance.

Thus, under these circumstances, the Congress had no option except to agree to the Partition.

Q9. Examine the strengths and limitations of oral history. How have oral-history techniques furthered our understanding of Partition?

Answer: Oral history techniques help historians to write experiences of people during the time of partition. In fact, history of partition has been reconstructed with the help of oral narratives. It is not possible to extract such kind of information from government records. Government would not provide such information which paint them in bad colour. It will also not tell about the daily development of the events during the partition. Moreover, Government was involved in negotiation. Documents of government deal with policy matters and throw light on efforts of major political parties.

But the oral history tells the day to day account. It is told by the people who have actually gone through the trauma and pains of the partition.But the oral data is not free from limitations. Oral data lacks concrete details. It does not have the chronological order. Oral accounts are concerned with tangential issues and that small individual experiences are irrelevant to the unfolding of the larger canvas of history. In oral history people may not talk their personal aspects. They can hide even their fault or fault of their community as a whole. Many people may not remember all events. People tend to forget also. Accuracy of narration can also be questioned.

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NCERT Solutions for Class 12 History

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