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Who was responsible for the partition of India? Did it happen due to Mohammed Ali Jinnah or Mahatma Gandhi? Or were the British of the view that the country needed to be divided?

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The actual decision of how to divide the country - how to draw the partition line - was the work of, Sir Cyril Radcliffe, chair of the Border Commissions.

There were two border Commissions. One for Punjab and the other for Bengal. Each commission had 4 representatives. Of which, 2 were from the Indian National Congress and the other 2 were from the Muslim League. Radcliffe had just 5 weeks to decide the border - before 15 August 1947 (though it was actually published on the 17th).

The whole task was a dreadful mess. The resulting ethnic cleansing saw some 25 million refugees and an estimated 1.5 million dead. Border disputes, particularly in Kashmir, continue to this day.

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India had lived with a mix of Hindu and Muslims side by side for hundreds of years. There is no reason that this peaceful coexistence could not have continued for long after but for a few high profile politicians (some of whom counted Gandhi as a friend) who sought partition and stirred trouble. –  Rincewind42 Jan 8 '12 at 12:36
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@Rincewnd - I think that's a little like claiming that europeans and native americans had lived peacefully for centuries before civil rights campaigners stirred it up. –  none Jan 8 '12 at 16:06
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@mgb But Muslim 'minorities' (along with others) still live in a 'Hindu' India. –  rest_day Jan 30 '12 at 19:51
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@mgb Sure, minorities in Greater India were oppressed but it was no genocide. It is important to remember that the Muslims were both minority in some areas and majority in others. You seem to favour the Muslims in Hindu India while ignoring the Hindus in Muslim Pakistan. The partition triggered a massive genocide of minorities on both sides of the borders. There were other options and the negligence and over-hast of the partition is a tragedy that was foreseen and could have been prevented. –  Rincewind42 Jan 31 '12 at 12:11
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@Rincewind42 - Could you perhaps add some of the information (including names) in your first comment into your answer? IMHO this answer (as well as the other answer) aren't good enough to upvote becuase they both just talk about the British doing it without mentioning any Indians themselves pushing for partition (and who). I suspect the Brits would have been perfectly happy to keep the entire area whole, if that had been the expressed desire of everyone else, but that isn't the impression I get reading these answers. Am I wrong? –  T.E.D. Jul 7 '12 at 16:27
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The partition of India was undertaken per the Indian Independence Act of the British Parliament, taken after consultation with the main interest groups.

Gandhi agreed to the partition reluctantly; other groups, such as the Muslim League, enthusiastically.

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Why did you choose to link to a clone of Wikipedia (absoluteastonomy.com) instead of the original article on Wikipedia itself? Is there some benefit to doing this? –  mgkrebbs Dec 8 '11 at 3:18
    
@mgkrebbs: Probably my bad linking skills. But that's the source I used. –  Tom Au Dec 10 '11 at 20:01
    
This answer is not of top quality. I could not understand why the asker accepted this. –  BROY Apr 21 '12 at 15:22
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@BROY, can you show us what a good answer to this question looks like? –  Joe May 24 '12 at 17:24
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According to Freedom at Midnight by Dominique Lapierre and Larry Collins (I have a link to Wikipedia but have read the book multiple times), the idea for Pakistan came from a British Raj (wasn't sure whether to write India or Pakistan here) student studying in England who pitched the idea to Mohammed Ali Jinnah at a dinner. Jinnah wasn't receptive to the idea but warmed to it when the Government of India Act of 1935 saw most of the spoils go to Hindus.

Convinced that Muslims had no place in an independent India, he became a strident proponent of a separate Muslim state. Despite a great deal of diplomacy and attempts at persuasion by many, including Gandhi and Viceroy Mountbatten, he remained steadfast to this idea, threatening violence and predicting civil war if the division wasn't allowed to happen. The other leaders of Congress, tired of fighting and wanting to get the transfer of power over with, accepted his demands reluctantly. Gandhi was reportedly saddened, but powerless; he couldn't be seen to be feuding publicly with the other leaders of Congress (mostly Nehru and Patel) by breaking ranks.

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Of the three answers Jayaraj's answer is the most appropriate. Other answers are purely technical. Those answers are akin to saying the US President is elected by the state electors ignoring the fact that the election by state electors is mostly a formality after the people of the United States have voted.

Jinnah didn't stop with just threatening violence. His call for "Direct Action Day" on 16th August 1946 was indeed a call for foreceful action to get what he wanted, the partition of India. Read here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Direct_Action_Day.

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Welcome to History SE! Thanks for your answer. Great to have you here. –  American Luke Oct 25 '12 at 12:59
    
+1 for noting the technicality of the other answers. –  Felix Goldberg Dec 19 '12 at 17:50
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