Conflict and Compromise: the Case of India and Pakistan

Topics: Pakistan, British Empire, Indian Rebellion of 1857 Pages: 8 (3055 words) Published: February 10, 2013
Conflict and Compromise: The Case of India and Pakistan
Goutham Bollu
Senior Division

Conflict and Compromise: The Case of India and Pakistan

Though they have been in existence for less than a century, India and Pakistan have enough history between them to fill several books. Tensions between Hindus and Muslims grew rapidly with the split of India and Pakistan in 1947. Before tensions were running high, but now gave way to rioting. It all started when India, then also including what is now present day Pakistan, was under British rule. The British had been ruling for roughly a century and ground the native’s faces in the dirt the entire time they were in power. Naturally, there were dissenters who did not appreciate being told what to do and these voices grew stronger as time went along. Over the time, Britain had given more and more freedom to India until it was almost free. Around the time of World War 2, Britain asked for the assistance of Indians to fight in the war against Japan. India relented but then talks broke down and India demanded it be free. The Muslim faction of British India (or British Raj), which made up a smaller percentage of British India than Hindus did, did not want India to be free, since they felt they would be treated like second class citizens. Under British doctrine, all natives were treated equal and the Muslims thought they would be treated more fairly under British rule. To fully understand the depth of the situation, one would have to go back when the British first staked their claim in India.

On Dec. 31, 1600, Queen Elizabeth I granted permission to the British East India Company to carry out trade in the East, mainly India. In 1608, the first British traders landed in present-day Gujurat. They established a trading post (factory) and began trading with the locals. In 1612, traders fought off the Portuguese at the Battle of Swally, which won them the favor of the Mughal Emperor, Jahangir. Jahangir showed them his gratitude by granting the British traders the right to build trading posts in his land in exchange of European goods. This had a huge economic impact on the Mughal Empire and set the precedent for many of the other empires to follow. The emperor Jahangir was a benevolent man and was well respected by his subjects, but he did not realize his act was setting up the entire subcontinent for disaster. In 1670, Charles II granted the right to the Company to raise an army, acquire land, print money and do everything that would basically make it it’s own country. Not until the eighteenth century were the British taken seriously enough to be considered a threat, and by then no one was powerful enough to stop them. They moved across the land, annexing all lands in present-day India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, parts of Bangladesh and Nepal. Some kingdoms fought valiantly against the might of the East India Trading Company but fell in the end, most notably Tippu Sultan of the Mysore Kingdom. Some small kingdoms remained but they too, were soon taken after the Lord Dalhousie, who devised the Doctrine of Lapse, which said the Company had the right to take over any kingdom whose ruler had died without a male heir. At the end of their campaign, the Company had an army of over 280,000; only 38,000 of whom were British. The rest of the 242,000 were called sepoys, (or sipiaahi in Urdu, meaning “soldier”) a mix of Hindus and Muslims some of whom served of their own free will but more were conscripted. Soon, there was a complete monopoly on British India; the Company stripped the land of precious materials like gold, silver, diamonds and silk. Indians did not make money off these since it was used to pay ridiculously high taxes. Indians now went through one of the most difficult times in their history. At this time, much of India was hit with a huge drought that made farming very hard. What the East India Trading Company was...

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