Indo-Pak War of 1947- India to celebrate 75th year of independence

10 Aug 2022  Read 678 Views

How’s the Josh? It has to be high as we reach our 75th year of independence, India at 75 is trending on every social media platform. So here we are sharing with you the journey of 75 years of independence. The moment the clock struck midnight on August 15, 1947, every Indian’s heart got filled with joy, success & pride, the independence from British colonial rule called for massive celebrations. However, this triumph also paved the way for unimaginable violence, riots and bloodshed, yes you heard it right! 

We are talking about the partition of India, which triggered one of the bloodiest disruptions in human history. The said violent separation led to the bitter rivalry between India and Pakistan. Around 14 million people were thought to have abandoned their homes in the summer and fall of the colonial British administrators who started dismantling their empire in southern Asia. Approximately two lacs to two million people were killed during that time.

In this article, we have covered the entire timeline of the 1947 partition of India and Pakistan, the 1947 Indo- Pak war post-independence, and many more. Let’s get started.

Timeline of 1947 partition of India & Pakistan

“When they partitioned, there were probably no two countries on Earth as alike as India and Pakistan,” said Nisid Hajari, Author of “Midnight’s Furies: The Deadly Legacy of India’s Partition.”

First War of Independence

  • The demand for Indian independence began with the Indian Mutiny, the first war of independence in 1857, which was an unsuccessful rebellion against British rule in India (1857-59)

  • The rebellion, later on, grew in intensity after World War- II (1939-45), when Indians highly expected self-government to be granted to them in return for their contribution to the war. This, however, came with serious inter-communal violence between Hindus, Sikhs, and Muslims.

Partition of the country

  • The then-elected government in Britain was ready to grant independence and hoped to leave behind a United India. But even after repeated talks, the Hindu Indian National Congress (Govt. of India thereafter) and the Muslim League could not agree on the shape of the new state.

  • Due to this disagreement, the British concluded that partition was the only solution. On 2nd June 1947, the last Viceroy of India, Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten, announced that Britain had accepted that the country should be divided into a Hindu India and a Muslim Pakistan mainly, surrounding the geographically separate territories of West Pakistan (now Pakistan) & East Pakistan (now Bangladesh).

Surrendering the Princely States 

  • The 'Princely States of India' (a sovereign entity of the British Empire that was not directly governed by the British but rather by an Indian ruler under the British Crown) were given a choice to join any of the two countries. Amongst these the states whose princes failed to join either country (The Indian Independence Act of 1947) or chose some other country irrespective of their majority religion, such as Maharaja of Kashmir and Hyderabad, became the object of bitter dispute.

  • Mountbatten confirmed the date for independence as 15th August 1947. As soon as this was announced, British troops were withdrawn to their barracks. With each day passing towards independence, responsibility for maintaining law and order was handed over to the Indian Army.

The largest migration in history

  • Partition meant millions of people found themselves on the ‘wrong’ side of the borders. 10 million became refugees, making it the largest population movement in history. Muslims traveled to Pakistan, whereas Sikhs and Hindus to India. 

  • Millions of refugees were killed in massacres across the borders. Some of the worst atrocities took place in Punjab. Despite the efforts of the 55,000-strong Punjab Boundary Force, over 200,000 people were killed.

  • Lord Mountbatten was criticized later for rushing the partition process and failing to handle the migration and communal violence which attended the birth of the new nations.

Division of Indian Army

  • The end of British rule in India also spelled the end of the existing Indian Army and its administration. Field Marshal Sir Claude Auchinleck oversaw the division of this force. Around 260,000 men, mainly Hindus and Sikhs went to India. And 140,000 men, mainly Muslims, went to Pakistan. The Brigade of Gurkhas, recruited in Nepal, was split between India & Britain.

  • Many British officers stayed back and assisted in the transition, including General Sir Robert Lockhart, India's first Chief of Army Staff, and General Sir Frank Messervy, who became Pakistan's first Chief of Army Staff.

Withdrawal of British regiments

  • Post-independence, British Army regiments were gradually withdrawn from the subcontinent. This included a well-planned and orderly withdrawal from Waziristan and other tribal regions of the North-West Frontier.

  • The last unit to leave India was the 1st Battalion, Somerset Light Infantry (Prince Albert’s), which embarked at Bombay on 28 February 1948. With this, Britain’s global military capability was shortened, as it no longer had the Indian Army at its disposal. Many British officers were sad to leave India and their Indian soldiers.

  • India and Pakistan’s independence at midnight on 14th & 15th August 1947 was a crucial moment in the history of the British Empire. Moreover, the British withdrawal was seen as a precedent by other parts of the Empire.

 October 22 Invasion- War over Kashmir

  • Immediately post-independence, tensions between India and Pakistan rose. Territorial disputes over the Kashmir region mainly sparked two of the three major Indo-Pakistani wars in 1947, 1965, and the limited war of 1999.

  • The 1947 war was the first of these three full-scale wars that broke out over the princely state of Kashmir. 

  • As discussed, the Maharaja of Kashmir was reluctant to join India or Pakistan as Jammu and Kashmir was a princely state ruled by Maharaja Hari Singh. 

  • So Pakistan retaliated with Operation Gulmarg, And on October 22, Pakistan sponsored a tribal invasion by its tribal raiders & Army Regulars with the object of annexing the state.

Battle of Shalateng

  • On October 20th-21st, 1947, over 5,000 Pakistani Army soldiers with Kabailis (tribesmen) invaded the Indian territory and seized the bridge surrounding the Neelam river on the Hazara road, which connects Muzaffarabad to Abbottabad (now it is in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir), and occupied Muzaffarabad. 

  • The Pakistani troops (tribal raiders & Army Regulars) then turned towards Uri. Coming at the ‘Operation Gulmarg’ now.

The Indo- Pak War of 1947-48

  • On October 27th, 1947, the Indian Army landed in Srinagar airport and thus began what is historically known as the Indo-Pakistan War, 1947-48. The war saw iconic battles over two campaigning seasons in areas ranging from Zoji La to the Kashmir valley, Poonch and Mendhar, etc.

  • Before the landing of the Indian Army in Srinagar and opposing the tribal onslaught, the invading forces had disrupted everything that came their way. After the Muzzafarabad, Domel, and Uri incidents, the tribal Lashkars led by the Pakistani army reached Baramulla and wrecked it however, the records are not very well-known. The men and children there, were tortured and killed, while the women were raped and brought back as sex workers. 

  • The Nuns of the Convent there were raped and killed ruthlessly. The Kashmir Pundit community was identified for special treatment, including the most depraved form of torture and cruelty. 

  • Whole families committed mass suicide in the face of this brutal and merciless onslaught by jumping from rooftops or jumping in Jhelum rivers etc.

Maharaja of Kashmir seeks help from India

  • The Maharaja of Kashmir appealed to India for help, granted on the condition that he accedes to India. Indian troops were airlifted into Srinagar and managed to repel the Pakistani invaders.

  • Then, a massive war raged across the state until a United Nations-sponsored ceasefire in 1948. the Indian troops started landing in Jammu and Kashmir on October 27 & they launched a counter-attack. The war continued till the end of 1948 & a ceasefire agreement was officially signed in January 1949.

 Indo- Pak Partition and Forced Migration

The India–Pakistan Partition resulted in one of the largest forced migrations of the 20th century. In August 1947, when the Britishers finally left, the subcontinent was partitioned into two independent nations: Hindu-majority India and Muslim-majority Pakistan. No sooner, there began one of the greatest migrations in human history, as millions of Muslims trekked to West and East Pakistan (the latter now known as Bangladesh) while millions of Hindus and Sikhs headed in the opposite direction while many hundreds of thousands never made it.

Conclusion

The 1947 Indo- Pak war was fought between India and Pakistan due to the Kashmir issue. In the 1971 Indo- Pak war, they fought over the secession of East Pakistan, which later became Bangladesh, an independent nation. In the 1999 Indo- Pak war, after Pakistani troops crossed into an area of Kashmir called Kargil, the two countries came alarmingly close to a nuclear exchange. Despite many peace negotiations and moments of rapprochement, the Indo-Pak conflict remained the dominant geopolitical reality of the region.

About the Author: Kakoli Nath | 82 Post(s)

Kakoli Nath is a legal Content Curator at Finology Legal who pursued BBA.LL.B (5 years integrated course) & she is a patent analyst. She has pursued advanced certification in Forensics Psychology and Criminal Profiling from IFS, Pune.

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