British Empire
The end of the British empire - India
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Report from British officials in India after the assassination of Gandhi in 1948
(Catalogue ref: DO 142/307)
  • This extract comes from a long and detailed report written by British officials soon after the death of Gandhi in January 1948. The officials lived and worked near Gandhi's house, so they saw much of what he did in his last few months. Several staff from the British offices actually visited Gandhi and they were nearby when he was assassinated.
  • As you can read in sources 6 and 7 of this case study, independence for India and Pakistan took place in the midst of terrible violence between Hindus and Sikhs and Muslims. Gandhi was appalled by this violence and went on hunger strike until it ended. His action did help to calm the violence, but did not end it.
  • Many Hindus and Sikhs were especially bitter about the partition of India in 1947. Millions fled from the new Muslim-dominated state of Pakistan (millions of Muslims also fled from India to Pakistan).
  • Many Hindus and Sikhs blamed Gandhi and the Indian National Congress for allowing India to be divided and for them having to leave their homes.
  • In January 1948 an extremist went to a meeting where Gandhi was speaking and murdered him.
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