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History, Problems of Partition

Hindu population, demographic shift, plebiscite, princely states, Muslim refugees

The division of India caused tremendous dislocation of populations. Some 3.5 million Hindus and Sikhs moved from Pakistan into India, and about 5 million Muslim refugees (known as Mohajirs) migrated from India to Pakistan. The demographic shift caused an initial bitterness between the two countries that was further intensified by each country’s accession of a portion of the princely states in the region. Nearly all of these 562 widely scattered polities joined either India or Pakistan; however, the Muslim princes of Hyderabad and Junagadh and the Hindu ruler of Kashmir chose not to join either country.

On August 14 and 15, 1947, these three princely states had become technically independent. But when the Muslim ruler of Junagadh, with its predominantly Hindu population, joined Pakistan a month later, India annexed his territory. In September 1948 India used force of arms to annex Hyderabad (now part of Andhra Pradesh state, in central India), which had a mostly Hindu population. The Hindu ruler of Kashmir, whose subjects were 85 percent Muslim, decided to join India. Pakistan, however, questioned his right to do so, and a war broke out between India and Pakistan. Although the United Nations (UN) subsequently resolved that a plebiscite be held under UN auspices to determine the future of Kashmir, India continued to occupy about two-thirds of the state and refused to hold a plebiscite. Pakistan controlled the remaining portion as Azad (Free) Kashmir, an autonomous region, and the Northern Areas, federally administered. This deadlock, which still persists, has intensified suspicion and antagonism between the two countries.

Article key phrases:

Hindu population, demographic shift, plebiscite, princely states, Muslim refugees, Andhra Pradesh state, central India, Sikhs, force of arms, autonomous region, Azad, deadlock, Northern Areas, Junagadh, auspices, antagonism, Hindus, division of India, Pakistan, war, thirds, territory, United Nations, portion, countries, subjects, region, month, right, suspicion


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