Road to Pakistan

The Lahore Resolution of 1940 was the outcome of political confrontation between Hindus and Muslims. The Resolution demanded that geographically contiguous units:

“be demarcated into regions, which should be constituted with such territorial readjustments as may be necessary so that the areas in which the Muslims are numerically in a majority should be grouped to constitute ‘Independent States’ in which the constitutional units be autonomous and sovereign”.

From a constitutional point of view, the Lahore Resolution asserted that South Asia consisted of many nations and not of two nations. It was, in effect, a blueprint for the Balkanization of South Asia and not merely for its partition into two units.

Fervor for the Lahore Resolution sprang not merely from the disillusionment of Muslims with Hindu leadership. It was also facilitated by the vagueness of the Resolution itself, which promised everything to everybody. The native Muslim Jotedars of Bengal maintained that the Lahore Resolution was legally a charter for a Muslim-dominated independent and sovereign Bengal whereas the immigrant Muslim Ashraf of Bengal thought that the Lahore Resolution was a mandate for merging geographically-dispersed Muslim majority areas into an Islamic state

Ultimately, the demands of the Jotedars for an Independent Bengal were opposed by both the Ashraf and the Hindu middle class. Ironically, the formal decision for the partition of Bengal was taken not by Muslims but by Hindu leaders who had fought for an undivided Bengal four decades ago.

The partition of the South Asian subcontinent into two independent states in 1947 was a defeat for the British policy. It partially undid Pax Britannica, which the British had viewed as the greatest achievement of their rule. Nevertheless, the partition forestalled the Balkanization of the subcontinent, which would have swept away the entire political structure so laboriously built by the British rulers. The eastern areas of Bengal were constituted into a province of Pakistan and its political boundaries were drawn up arbitrarily.

Be Sociable, Share!