The map above was created by Choudhry Rahmat Ali, who was a Pakistani nationalist and is often credited with coming up with the name ‘Pakistan.’
In Now or Never; Are We to Live or Perish Forever? he wrote:
“At this solemn hour in the history of India, when British and Indian statesmen are laying the foundations of a Federal Constitution for that land, we address this appeal to you, in the name of our common heritage, on behalf of our thirty million Muslim brethren who live in PAKSTAN—by which we mean the five Northern units of India, Viz: Punjab, North-West Frontier Province (Afghan Province), Kashmir, Sind and Baluchistan.”
He also wanted to rename the whole sub-continent to Dinia instead of India, which would have had many successor states.
The map shows areas with Muslim majorities (Pakistan, Bangistan, etc.) or areas of significant Muslim influence or importance (e.g. Osmanistan). Needless to say the actual partition of India and Pakistan in 1947, went somewhat differently than that envisaged by Ali.
Under the two-nation theory Muslims and Hindus were both given their own homelands. However, Muslims made up majorities in both the Western and Eastern parts of British India.
Therefore, the Dominion of Pakistan, which became the homeland for Muslims, was divided between East Pakistan (present day Bangladesh) and West Pakistan (present day Pakistan). Moreover, there were both large numbers of Muslims still living in the new Union of India and many Hindus living in one of the two halves of the new Pakistan.
The result was large scale migration and substantial violence with between 250,000 and 1.5 million people dying as result of the border changes.
The Princely States were exempt from having to join either India or Pakistan and could opt to stay independent. Hyderabad, the largest princely state and Osmanistan on Ali’s map, initially opted for independence.
While it’s population was largely (85%) Hindu, it’s ruling Nizam was Muslim. The Indian government did not feel comfortable having a potentially unpredictable state in the middle of the new Union, and decided to annexed Hyderabad in 1948.
Jammu and Kashmir on the other hand had a majority Muslim population (77%) but it’s ruler, Hari Singh, was Hindu. It had been expected that he would join the new state of Pakistan, but an insurgency just before partition resulted in Singh asking India for military aide.
India obliged but took control of most of the state with the rest coming under the control of Pakistan. Singh signed an ascension agreement with India, which has resulted in the very complicated situation that still exists to this day.
Pakistan itself would face its own partition as a result of the Bangladesh Liberation War or Pakistan Civil War in 1971, which resulted in independence for Bangladesh and Western Pakistan continuing on as Pakistan.
And while it seems unlikely that the three states will ever become one again, the concept of an Indo-Pak Confederation still exists.
If you’d like to learn more about the incredibly complex history of India, Pakistan and partition the following books may be of interest:
- Midnight’s Furies: The Deadly Legacy of India’s Partition
- Indian Summer: The Secret History of the End of an Empire
- The Great Partition: The Making of India and Pakistan
- India: A History. Revised and Updated
- The Idea of Pakistan
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