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From the collected works of Mahatma Gandhi, we can learn that he was not as vehemently opposed to the Partition of India as one would expect. (See here)

Probably no one is more distressed than I am over the impending division of India. But I have no desire to launch a struggle against what promises to be an accomplished fact.

However, to what extent did he influence the resulting lines that were drawn or expedite the partitioning process? As an example, did he mitigate the intense riots and pressure from both sides? Or ease cultural and ethnic tension between Muslims and Hindu’s? Or what political leaders did he talk to to expedite the process?

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This question appears to be off-topic because it has completely misinterpreted the quote on which it is based. – Pieter Geerkens Oct 22 '13 at 23:33
I vote for this to be kept open, as an answer of "it's a false premise" is an answer; and people may very well be searching in the internet with this premise in mind. – LateralFractal Oct 23 '13 at 1:49
Probably the best question is something like, "what exactly was Gandhi's stance on partition?" He said a number of things that can be interpreted by different people in different ways. – Tom Au Oct 26 '13 at 16:13

Gandhi was never in favor of Partition. Towards the time of independence Gandhi's influence in Congress decisions was reduced as he concentrated on other activities helping in empowerment of population. He was kept in dark and was subsided from the important Partition related discussions.

Gandhi did not take part in celebrations of Independence day, he called it "Black day" and was in Calcutta trying to control communal riots there.

Reference: Freedom At Midnight , Partition and Gandhi(From answer of Arani)

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Very informative; I would upvote if you included sources/citations for those of us who wanted to do further research. – Mark C. Wallace Nov 8 '13 at 11:37
@MarkC.Wallace: You can get more information about this by searching about Gandhi and Navakhali district. – AskingStory Nov 8 '13 at 17:50
I agree that this is the "official" history of modern India. And though I disagree with this answer, I feel that in the interest of fairness, I should add the reference that this response deserves. My own answer is in a different post. – Arani Nov 8 '13 at 22:36

Gandhi never called publicly for India's partition. Before the announcement of the partition plan (known as Mountbatten plan), he had said India could only be divided over his "dead body". But after the plan was announced, he urged all Indians to accept it (without explicitly supporting partition). But to say that Gandhi did not have enough influence in the Congress is, in my opinion, completely wrong. All Congress leaders, Nehru and Patel included, had sided with Gandhi for over 20 years in all internal and external conflicts. His hold over the Congress machinery was made even stronger by the fact that most state Congress leaders were "Gandhian" leaders -- leaders who had been mentored personally by Gandhi himself, and had always stood by his ideology (Example: Prafulla Ghosh in Bengal, Morarji Desai in Bombay, Rajagopalachari in Madras, etc). He had explicit veto powers over the decision of the Congress Working Committee (see Pant resolution). Had Gandhi publicly said that he opposed partition, it is hard to believe that the Congress could have gone against his public stance.

However, it is true that Gandhi tried to stop the communal riots that engulfed India. But this was not an exception, considering the fact that almost all Indian and Pakistani leaders at least claimed to have tried their best (and in many cases actually tried their best) to stop the destruction.

References: All books on India's freedom struggle deal with Gandhi's reaction to the Mountbatten plan, and his assassination due to his efforts to restore communal amity in India. References to the Pant resolution are found mainly in books dealing with the resignation of Subhas Bose (since it was used to force him to resign) from the Congress presidency, including his autobiography, The Indian Struggle. For leaders of provinces, check the first chief ministers (provinces) that were sworn in both 1937 and 1947, and their biographies (even a glance at Wikipedia shows this, but you have to look at their official biographies for more authoritative sources) -- majority of them had been inspired and led by Gandhi for over 20 years. For references on Gandhi's attempts to stop communal riots, see mkgandhi.org, and the book Freedom at Midnight.

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@MonsterTruck You must understand that adding sources to this type of response is difficult, since it contains a lot of information, but I have tried my best. – Arani Nov 9 '13 at 12:31
@MonsterTruck Agreed with you, and have added sources accordingly. – Arani Nov 9 '13 at 15:24
Reasons behind the downvote, please? Is it because I disagree with the textbook version? I think as long as I give sources and give specific reasons, it should be okay. – Arani Dec 6 '13 at 16:36

Gandhi had no effect on Partition at all. The British devolved power to the Provinces thus weakening the center- i.e. Delhi could not have waged a war to prevent any Province breaking away. Lord Wavell, as Viceroy, realized that the Army and the Central Bureaucracy could not stand against popular uprisings in the Districts. By bargaining with Gandhi and Jinnah, Britain hoped to be able to leave India honorably while protecting its investments there rather than having to scuttle and run and lose its investments in the ensuing anarchy. Gandhi knew the game was up once his tough minded lieutenant, Sardar Vallabhai Patel, realized that Liaqat Ali Khan, of the Muslim League, could not just paralyze the interim government but also create an anti-'Bania' (Hindu merchant) coalition which would tax Gandhi's supporters out of existence. Congress knew it couldn't allow ethnic cleansing of Muslims because they were a potential vote bank. However, it didn't have a great deal of power and local factors, not Cabinet ministers, decided things. Interestingly, some of the worst ethnic cleansing of Hindus in Pakistan wasn't carried out by Jinnah's Muslim League but rivals from other parties. There is a story about Gandhi (and Shurawardy) ending the Calcutta riots. As a matter of fact there were a lot of ex I.N.A soldiers and Leftists and wandering Sadhus and so forth attempting to combat communal tension. Gandhi certainly did not cause the blood letting of Partition and contributed a little to defusing tensions. However, his belief that sleeping naked with his great-niece would enhance his 'soul force' met a set back in Naokhali. The local Muslim 'pirzada'organizing the pogroms was far more successful. It was a bitter pill for Gandhi to swallow. Had he not been struck down by an assassin's bullets history might remember Gandhi very differently.

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