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?
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 Choudhary Rahmat Ali, a student studying in England who pitched the idea to Mohammed Ali Jinnah at a dinner. Choudhary Rahmat Ali is also credited with coining the name "Pakistan". 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.
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.
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.
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.
Friends,I am weak in English.The slogan of Hindu mahasabha & RSS - "Hindu ,Hindi, Hindustan" slogan and their demand for prohibition of cow slaughter in India annoyed the muslims of British India.On the other hand hindus suspected the patriotism of muslims for their love of Arab land and Afghanistan.The question about future national language of India was also a great factor in the partition of India.Hindus opposed the quota system for minorities.Absence or Lack of great leaders like Abraham Lincoln & Garibalidi in India was also a great factor. The role of local rulers of princely states was full of communalism and partiality in nature. Crores of illiterate poor people were easily influenced by communal leaders and by rumours.
Read Jaswant Singh's book on Jinnah. You will learn that Sardar Patel, Nehru and Gandhi were actually responsible for dividing India. Simply, because they were fearful that Muslims would be nearly half of the population in a united India, making it hard for the Hindu counterpart to dominate. Hence, their desire to divide India. The English grabbed the opportunity to weaken the subcontinent. Muslims' plight in today' India is a testimonial to what would have happened to them in an undivided India.
I fully agree that a united India would have been a mess for the Muslims, as they would have been subjugated by the Hindu majority, which was unwilling to grant proportionate representation to minorities in a united India. After all, Jinnah was a member of Congress till 1913, and Iqbal had written saarey jehaan se piara Hindustan hamaaraa.
We can set aside out hate and respect oneanother as good neighbors, who have a shared heritage.