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What were the main issues of the 1947 partition of the subcontinent into India and Pakistan?

Independence from England, democratic self-governance, and religious and ethnic loyalties were three key issues in the 1947 partition of the subcontinent into India and Pakistan. Along with the dissolution of the British colony, the independence movement’s leaders demanded the establishment of a democratic regime rather than a monarchy. Concerns over religious persecution of minorities factored into the creation of India, in which the majority of the people were Hindu, and Pakistan, which was mainly Muslim.

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Independence from England was the primary factor behind the Partition of the South Asian Subcontinent in 1947, thereby creating two nations: India and Pakistan. Two other key issues were democratic self-governance and the recognition of differing religious and ethnic loyalties. Leaders of the independence movement had long been insisting that the British colony should be dissolved; the free territories, they asserted, should be democratically governed, not monarchies. Rather than assume that a single nation could adequately represent the great diversity of the region’s people, leaders were extremely concerned that there would be widespread persecution based on religion. These issues helped fuel the creation of two countries rather than one. In India, the majority of the people were Hindu, while Pakistan—split between the east and west portions—would be a majority Muslim nation.

As World War II drew to a close, anti-colonialism gained traction in many parts of the world. England also found it impractical to continue governing so many far-flung territories. Within South Asia, numerous parties recognized that there were more religions and a much larger number of ethnic groups than just two. Acknowledging the discrimination that minorities would face did little to prevent that discrimination. Fear and violence drove millions of people to flee across the newly established borders.

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