- This is an extract from a report sent by British officials in India
to the Commonwealth Relations Office in London in September 1947. This
was soon after India was partitioned into India and Pakistan and became
independent from British rule.
- The main events described in the report are the terrible violent outbreaks
that came as India became independent.
- The majority of Indians were Hindus, but a very large number of Indians
were Muslims. As the campaign for Indian independence grew it was largely
headed by Hindus like Gandhi. Muslims became concerned that they would
be a minority in India and campaigned for their own Muslim state of
- Tension between Hindus and Muslims erupted into violence as Indian
independence got closer. There were terrible atrocities by both sides
and thousands were killed. Around 2 million people fled from their homes
to areas of Pakistan or India where they would not be a minority.
- In 1947 the final partition of India created the two states, although
violence continued for some time. Partition left 18 million Hindus in
Pakistan and 40 million Muslims in India. There were serious disputes
over territories, particularly Kashmir. Even today, relations between
India and Pakistan remain tense and there have been many outbreaks of
violence and open war in the 1960s.
- Other parts of this report suggest that the police and armed
forces of India and Pakistan were inadequate to cope with the tensions.
There were too few of them, they were not well trained and they were
badly equipped. However, the main issue was that, with the removal of
British commanders, the police and army supported their traditional
family and religious communities instead of the new government of India.