India Independence Act 1947 and Its Failure


The Muslims and the Hindus in British India had a tense relationship for a very long time. The Hindus formed the larger group of the nation, while the Muslims were the smallest group. The latter perceived the Hindus dominated them, and thus they were not happy about this. Through their political leader, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the Muslims felt they needed a new nation to separate them from the Hindus. Political leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi tried advocating for peace through uniting the Muslims and Hindus, but his efforts were unsuccessful. Peace can be found in disputing communities by dividing the disputing groups. In handing Independence to British India, the colonists saw that separating the nation into India and Pakistan would solve the disputes between the two groups. In this India Independence Act, the Muslims were to occupy Pakistan while the Hindus India. Despite these efforts, the peace has not been restored as the two groups still fight over areas such as Kashmir. The main research will be the reasons and consequences of the Indian Independence Act 1947 failure. The specific form of the Act led to controversies in the regional division and, consequently, to conflicts.

Prerequisites for the Indian Liberation

Mahatma Gandhi was one of the most influential men in India’s liberalization towards independence. His initial arrest was in South Africa in 1922, followed by subsequent arrests in India in 1930, 1933, and 1942 (White-Spunner, 2017). Gandhi, Azad, Sarojini, Nehru, and other affiliates of the Congress Working Committee were arrested on 9th August 1942 (Venkatraman, 2019). The mass arrest of these leaders created unrest in the entire country, especially in Tamilnadu. The public organized a series of meetings and processions to find how these leaders could be released. In India, almost all other Congress leaders and colleges in the province of Tamilnadu demonstrated against the imprisonment of Gandhi. This government had intended to take action against Congress and Gandhi.

The government first wanted to control the media to avoid publishing stories related to Gandhi’s arrest. Governor of Madras suggested to the Viceroy to ban any reference to Gandhi’s apprehension in the press as it would trigger people (Venkatraman, 2019). The government perceived that the volume of news regarding the arrest of the leaders produced adverse effects on the people. It demanded the news publishers submit drafts of their news before publication. The government even temporarily stopped the publication of newspapers and periodicals such as the Free Press, the Indian Express, the Dhinamani, and the Hindustan, among others. The police ensured that the March to Freedom film was not watched in the City of Madras. The government feared that watching such movies would provoke more citizens (White-Spunner, 2017). His efforts towards India achieving independence were seen when he encouraged the Indians to cease buying British goods, avoid paying taxes, and participate in peaceful protests.

These efforts did not deter the people from their quest to attain independence. On 23rd July 1940, The Mail published a story on Rajagopalachari demanding people’s freedom (Venkatraman, 2019). Many citizens welcomed this effort as they hoped to preserve their liberty and democracy. The Mail also printed an article that supported Gandhi’s confidence in their quest for freedom. Furthermore, it also published an article that pressured the government to release Gandhi. The Viceroy, Mr. Churchill, ignored the calls of the Indians to let Gandhi free. The debate on the freeing of Gandhi in the House of Lords of British Parliament was criticized by some leaders. Gandhi addressed a letter to Jinnah, which the Viceroy refused to forward. These demands led to his release on 6th May 1944 after serving 21 months in prison (White-Spunner, 2017). He was ready to continue fighting for the rights of his people.

An Interim Government of Jawaharlal Nehru was formed in 1946, and many people supported it and criticized the Central Government. The Mail congratulated the British government’s promise of handing honor and supported the formation of Interim Government (Venkatraman, 2019). After Gandhi’s release, he advocated for the unity of the Muslims and the Indians. He wanted everyone to realize that they were Indian citizens, and any division was what he hated. Gandhi led the negotiations to ensure Muslim-Indian unity, as they could live together as brothers. On 15th August 1947, The Hindu published an article championing the nation’s independence. The people congratulated Gandhi for being an architect of freedom through non-violence form.

Perspectives on Liberation Movements in India

Internal relations theory encompasses a set of ideas, such as liberalism, national interests, constructivism, and realism, discussing how the internal system operates. Mahatma Gandhi was a liberal leader as he played a crucial involvement in leading major liberal movements demanding India’s Independence (Bailey & Ager, 2019). These liberation movements included the non-cooperation movements, the Champaran Movement, Kheda Movement, and Civil Disobedience. In all these, Gandhi ensured that he always stood for the rights of the people.

The Champaran Movement of 1917 in Bihar was Gandhi’s first involvement in the struggle for freedom in India. When he returned to India in 1915, he discovered that the British had subjected the Indians to tyrannous colonial rule (Bailey & Ager, 2019). The colonialists forced the civilians to grow cash crops on their land and then sell them to the British at lower costs. Gandhi heard the farmers’ complaints in Champaran and went to listen to them. He started the civil disobedience movement and began the demonstration against the landlord exploiting the citizens. Based on the international relation theory, Gandhi wanted to help protect the national interests of his nation by driving the British rulers out of the country.

The Kheda Movement of 1918 resulted from the financial burden that the colonialists had inflicted on the Indians. Floods had severely affected the Kheda village in Gujarat, and the residents requested the government to exempt them from tax payment (Bailey & Ager, 2019). The government refused and even threatened to seize their land, but they remained threatened. Gandhi and Vallabhbhai Patel were crucial in initiating the revolution by the farmers against tax payment. Finally, the British government let off the tax until the flood’s effect was over. Internal relation theory stresses liberalism as the way people can attain their desired interests, and Gandhi advocated for India’s freedom through the method.

The Khilafat Movement of 1919 was started after World War I, when Muslims became fearful of the security of their Caliph because of the threats levied on him. Gandhi came to the Muslims for their political support towards Indian independence and offered to be their spokesperson (Bailey & Ager, 2019). He supported the community by launching the Khilafat Movement to champion Muslim rights. His notable personality made him the Muslim national leader.

The Non-Cooperation Liberation of 1920 was initiated after Gandhi found out that the British successfully controlled India because of the cooperation they were getting from the citizens. He told people to adhere to non-cooperation peacefully as a method of independence attainment (Bailey & Ager, 2019). Gandhi framed the concept of Swaraj that became a fundamental element in the quest for independence. It entailed boycotting the establishments run by the colonialists, such as the colleges, schools, and government offices.

Gandhi launched the Quit India Movement of 1942 during World War II to drive the British out of India. He made a speech that provoked the government leading to the arrest of the Indian National Congress leaders in 1942 (Bailey & Ager, 2019). These arrests did not deter the efforts of the people in demanding their freedom by protesting across the nation. Even though the colonialists successfully oppressed the people to stop these movements, they realized that their days of ruling India were ending. By the end of World War II, the British had given clear indications of handing over the power to the inhabitants of India. Finally, Gandhi called off the movement, and many prisoners were released. The Civil Disobedience Movement led by Mahatma Gandhi aimed at driving the colonists from India. People sold political pamphlets violating the colonial rules that prohibited them. Citizens started protesting in front of the government offices and shops owned by foreigners. The people were demanding the release of prisoners and independence for their nation.

Literature Overview of Events to India’s Independence Act

There were several key events in the freedom to attain independence in British India. The first key event was the revolution against the British Raj, which contributed to the disbanding of the East India Company and the shifting of the powers to the British Crown in 1858 (Tharoor, 2016). In 1885, there was the establishment of the Indian Congress that became a potent party with the Muslim League. Mahatma Gandhi, one of the most influential Indians ever, came back to India in 1915. In 1916, the Lucknow Pact drove to the agreement between the Muslim League and the Indian Congress. In 1917, Gandhi championed The Champraman Satyagraha that contributed to the farmers’ revolt against the colonialists (Tharoor, 2016). In 1919, the British government banned public gatherings from punishing citizens for their disobedience. Unaware of this directive, the citizens gathered at Jallianwala Bagh, and the authority ordered the troops to open fire against them, which killed many people.

Because of this government’s treatment, the people launched the Non-cooperation Movement in 1920. Mahatma Gandhi was the key leader of this movement that saw the Indians avoiding purchasing British goods. In 1921, Subhash Chandra Bose returned to India and joined the congress, wrote influential newspaper articles, and later became the Mayor of Calcutta (Tharoor, 2016). In 1930, the Indian Congress declared the nation independent, which the colonizers did not recognize. In 1930, the Dandi March was against the salt tax imposed on citizens peacefully. The Government of India Act of 1935 led to the formation of the constitution (Tharoor, 2016). There was the creation of India’s National Army which main aim was to help liberate the nation from British rule. There was the Quit India Movement of 1942 led by Gandhi in which aim was to drive away from the colonists. There was the Royal Navy strike in 1946 where the soldiers were demanding better food and better working conditions (Tharoor, 2016). Finally, there was the independence and subdivision of British India in 1947 through the India Independence Act.

The Indian Independence Act of 1947

The British Parliament passed and enacted the Indian Independence Act of 1947. It declared India an independent country, and British India was divided into India and Pakistan. Prime Minister Clement Attlee designed the Act, and it received royal assent on 18th July 1947 (Roland, 2019). The newly formed nations, Pakistan and India, came into existence on 15th August 1947 (Roland, 2019). The British government agreed on dividing British India to ensure equity between the Muslims and Hindus. The plan was to ensure the autonomy and sovereignty of both nations. After the agreement, Pakistan and India had the right to make their constitution. The nations would also be privileged to make their laws on extraterritorial operations. There was to be the establishment of the Governor-General position in each of the nations. These Governors-General were empowered to bring the Act into force. The Act would mean that British India’s Majesty’s Government would lose all responsibilities.

The Indian Independence Act that was enacted had specific specifications. The British rule in India was to be over on 15th August 1947 (Roland, 2019). An independent India was created out of Bombay Presidency, Madras Presidency, Central Provinces, United Provinces, the Carnatic, East Punjab, Assam, West Bengal, Islands of Nicobar, and Lakshadweep, and the North-East Frontier Agency. Pakistan was created from North-West Frontier Province, West Punjab, East Bengal, and Bengal. The two countries were members of the British Commonwealth, and they were allowed to leave whenever they could.

The significant factor that led to dividing British India was mainly religion. Concerning the international theory, realism is a state where nations try to increase their power relative to the other nation. The Muslims and Hindu group each wanted to attain more power through the division of British India. The intolerance of Hinduism to other religions, such as Muslim, raised differences between the two groups. Gandhi tried addressing the Muslims and the Hindus to live in cohesion as brothers and sisters, but the dispute between the two groups intensified (Roland, 2019). The Muslims were the minority group in British India, and they felt the Hindus were dominating them. Gandhi’s effort to encourage the two groups to live together was unfruitful, and the Muslim political group leader, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, believed that the Muslims required their homeland within India. Many people left their property, fleeing to the dominant group’s country.

The greatest fear of many individuals was losing their lives because of the subdivision of the nation. The Muslims had feared that kafirs, the non-believers who were the Hindu group, would rule them. Widespread violence between the two groups began in Calcutta and later spread throughout Northern India (Roland, 2019). Calcutta’s widespread killings happened as the Muslims demanded a new nation, Pakistan. It was one of the worst riots that British India had ever experienced. There existed Hindu racist regulations such as not allowing the Muslims to touch their utensils intensified hated between the two groups. The Hindus also regarded the cow as a sacred animal, while the Muslims found the cow to be a cheap source of meat. The former thus prohibited the killing of the cows and even opted to attack the Muslims who were slaughtering cattle. These religious differences between the two groups were enough to create hostility.

Prime Minister Clement Attlee saw that dividing the two nations would help restore peace between the two groups. There were preceding violence, rioting, murder, property loss, and rape (Roland, 2019). The violence was severe in Punjab as Hindus and Muslims met, heading in different directions to their new countries. This division displaced more than sixteen million individuals; approximately two million people were killed, and close to 100,000 girls and women were raped or abducted (Roland, 2019). The conflicts also resulted from how the territories were divided, with the Pakistanis resisting removing their troops from Kashmir, after which Indians would replicate the same. There was a ceasefire on Kashmir, and a Line of Control was agreed upon with the region’s majority under the Indian government. The Indian Congress failing to meet the demands of the Muslims made them develop the feeling that they needed a different country where people could listen to their demands.

The Act’s Role and Factors that Caused Division of British India

The primary rationale behind the creation of the nation of Pakistan was that the Muslims wanted to live based on their Islam religion. The country was created through the subdivision of British India in 1947 through the Indian Independence Act of 1947. Creating new provinces was a complex issue resulting in wars between Pakistan and India (Qadir, 2021). The contradictory interests made Pakistan lose the federalism it had inherited from British colonists. Mistrust and incoordination resulted in political insecurity in the nation.

The Act’s key role was to ensure long-lasting peace and stability between the Hindus and Muslims by subdividing British India into India and Pakistan. The era of British colonial rule ended through this division (Khan, 2021). After the division, Muhammad Ali Jinnah was Pakistan’s Governor-General, while Liaquat Ali Khan became the Prime minister. In India, Jawaharlal Nehru was the Prime Minister, while Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was the Home Minister.

Pakistan inherited the federal form of government and practiced it through the constitution. Mistrust and lack of cooperation resulted in instability as the citizens in the nations fought over the unfair distribution of the resources (Qadir, 2021). After the division of British India, the Pakistans demanded the establishment of new provinces within their nation. The people recommended the creation of new regions in Pakistan to ensure equity in the distribution of natural resources. It also provides adequate devolution power for political development and improving Pakistan’s federation.

The formation of new provinces should not be handled in a hurry, as it creates insecurity and insurgency in a nation. There should be enough budget to cater to the new administrative units (Qadir, 2021). Community participation should be allowed during the separation of countries and new provinces. The ultimate aim should be tailored to solidify the federation of Pakistan. The British rulers had followed the divide and rule policy where people were categorized based on religion and treated differently. The Muslims were rulers of the continent for many years, and thus the British feared this influence. During the division, the women were subject to instruments of mistreatment by the Muslims and Hindus.

Consequences of Act’s Formation and its Failure to Restore Peace

On 14th August, two countries, India and Pakistan, were formed without boundaries. It meant the ending of the British colonial rule that had existed in the nation for approximately three hundred years. The nation that the people would fall in all depended on the dividing line of British India (Ali, 2017). The uncertainty that the people faced about the fate of the country they were to fall into was to have a disastrous toll on the prospects. Furthermore, Pakistan was divided into East and West Pakistan, which later gave birth to Bangladesh. The Act does not cover the birth of Bangladesh, which happened later on after the independence. The country’s division was about to cause twelve to eighteen million dislocation and migrations into new and unknown territories. To the people demarcating the nation, it only meant a pen lashing over a piece of paper. However, the mere line was about to cause one of the deadliest disasters ever experienced in the nation.

There was a conceptual divide between the Muslims and the Hindus in the nation. There were potent feelings for nationalism in the country; by the 19th century, their liberation conflicts were linked to religious rather than class identities (Ali, 2017). The Muslims found it hard to be under colonial rule and power imposition. Many of them rejected learning English and associating with the colonists. The Muslims were not happy with the Hindus as they saw them cooperating with the British. The Hindus found better government positions and thus thought that the colonizers favored the Hindus. Congress made several mistakes, such as through the national anthem, which contained anti-Muslim sentiments.

The partition of British India left both India and Pakistan in a disastrous state. The division was under riots, people dying, rapes, murders, and looting. Fifteen million refugees went across the new borders to unknown regions as they had initially been rooted to the roots of the home of their ancestors (Ali, 2017). Liberalism, according to the international theory, claims that the world is a harsh place, and wars are some of the liberal activities. However, it emphasizes that the consequences of using military power will be more than its benefits. The provinces of Punjab and Bengal were divided, causing riots and leading to the murder of many Muslims and Hindus. After many years of attaining independence, the nations have not from the wounds left behind due to mass destruction. The instability that was experienced during the demarcation resulted in a ruined economy. These effects were implicated on two young nations without an established and experienced government system.

One of the primary factors to the Act’s failure was that some leaders, such as Gandhi, died soon after the partition. Gandhi was a champion of peace who encouraged Christians and Muslims to live in cohesion. India and Pakistan have been at war for a very long time on which nation should legally own Kashmir (Sardesai, 2019). According to the international relations theory, nations always behave based on their national interests. Pakistan and India had national interests to protect their territories, thus the conflicts. The Kashmir conflict started in 1947 when India and Pakistan claimed Jammu and Kashmir; the dispute has escalated into three wars. After the partition, the Pakistanis militants invaded Kashmir, making the Hindu ruler flee India. Despite the existing agreements on the Line of Control between the two countries, the countries still attack each other. The UN has tried its best to restore peace within the nations has been futile.

The Act on Nationalism, Liberalism, Foreign policy, Social constructivism, and Realism

The partition of India was arguably the largest migration caused by the division of a nation. Based on the international relations theory, liberalism protects individual freedom through limiting and controlling political power (Ali et al., 2017). Foreign policy refers to the study of the foreign relations of India and Pakistan past their independence. Social constructivism is essential to scholars in understanding a nation’s internal and external relationships. Nationalism entails the identification of a country with its citizens. The rivalry between the two societies is studied in realism, which stresses that countries are motivated by their national interest. It represents the state of issues and is practical to face the truth.

Based on realism, British India’s division was thought to help restore the awaited peace in the nation, but it destroyed the integration of the nations without repair. The nation’s division remains an aspect of partition history that is crucial but ignored by many scholars. The hostility between the two countries has origin as historical and ideological differences. It is thought that the unfinished partition plan of the nation intensified the wars between the two populations (Sharma, 2021). Pakistanis continually believe that allocating the more significant part of the Gurdaspur district to East Punjab caused severe injustice. The allocation of the bigger portions of the Muslim community of Gurdaspur to the Hindus was illegal based on the Act’s charter. The two nations have had conflicts over the sharing of certain regions, such as Kashmir, which has resources such as hydroelectric power production and the security of irrigation waters. The bifurcation of the nation gave way to unaccountable practical concerns, such as wars. The allocation of Gurdaspur was not done in the best way and thus has sparked a non-ending war between the two nations.

Based on the international relations theory, the emergence of nationalism can happen through interaction between members of a specific group. The Indians wanted to stick together and form their nation to avoid Hindus’ domination over them. They wanted to be identified as a government of Pakistan having Muslim hegemony (Ali et al., 2017). On the other hand, the Hindus wanted the leadership powers as they felt the more significant portion of the population. They were fit to protect the territories they thought were part of the nation. The British rule in the region increased the ego of the Hindus, while the Muslims were ready to fight to protect their identity. The liberal war movements between the two nations were to defend their countries and identity. During the post-independence era, the two nations wrote past heinous events regarding the present political perceptions. The foreign policy between India and Pakistan has been guided by wars since British India’s partition, as the two states have been hostile. The Kashmir dispute has severely affected the positive interactions of the two nations as each nation wants to control the bigger part of the region.

Internal relations theory stresses that social constructivism entails knowledge being constructed through human interaction. The interaction process can have harmful consequences on human life, especially to the future generations of hostile nations (Ali et al., 2017). India and Pakistan still suffer the harmful effects brought about by the Act. Constructivists help explain the idea, norms, and beliefs formation within the psycho-social environment. The India-Pakistan dispute has been escalating over decades, and it has been hard to solve the conflict between the two nations amicably. People have interacted over time and intensified each other with hatred toward the duo group, Muslim and Hindus. The interests of each country have inflicted both material and non-material losses. The India-Pakistan relations have been tense since the nation’s partition in 1947. These wars have resulted in poverty and underdevelopment within the two countries, especially in the regions heavily affected by the war.

Through constructivism, a nation can develop an ego and maximize its power, wealth, and security to exploit other countries. India felt like the larger country during the nation’s division and thus opted to divide some areas, such as Gurdaspur, not based on the Act’s agreement. Pakistan perceives India as a threat to both its social and corporate identity. On the other hand, India perceives Pakistan as an aggressive country with the potential to weaken its culture and integration. Until 2017, the two countries have engaged in over three wars and experienced many political-economic crises (Michael, 2018). The two nations’ ego has significantly impacted their agreement in the international arena. The British had worked hard to maintain hostilities between the two groups by ruling the nation favorably to the Hindus. The Muslims were discontented with how the Hindus held political positions and dominated them.


The Indian Independence Act of 1947 has failed to find peace between the Pakistan Muslims and the Hindus of India. Mahatma Gandhi tried to encourage the Muslims and the Pakistans to live in peace and unity, but the wars continued post-independence among the duo groups. The two parties have engaged in conflicts over a long time because British India’s division was done. The Independence Act of 1947 led to the largest displacement of people between the two nations. Many people lost their lives as fights existed when the two groups migrated. Many women and girls were raped and abducted during this migratory process. It was thought that the division would restore peace among the duo groups, but the contrary has happened over many years. The Kashmir conflict has been a territorial dispute between Pakistan and India because of the partition of the Kashmir and Jammu region. These regions have caused more than three wars between the Hindus and Muslims. The resources within Kashmir and Jammu have created problems on how the resources within the area should be shared. Proper conflict resolution methods must be found to solve the ever-lasting conflict among these two groups.


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Premium Papers. "India Independence Act 1947 and Its Failure." January 3, 2023.