Chapter 15
India and Pakistan

A YEAR OR so before the transfer of power, C. R. Rajagopalachari, the wisest of the Congress leaders, incurred unpopularity with his party by suggesting that, if the Muslims really wanted Pakistan, the Hindus would be wise to accept their demand. If this advice had been taken at that time, partition might have resulted in the creation of two friendly States, anxious to co-operate and ready to enter into agreements covering matters of common interest over a wide field. The worst evils of the division of India would thus have been avoided. Unfortunately, this did not happen and in 1947 most Congressmen accepted partition with unconsenting minds, in the absence of any practicable alternative. The Hindus as a whole bitterly resented partition and, in spite of Gandhi's wise advice, the more militant sections amongst them openly declared that, before long, an India free from British control would reunite the two parts of the subcontinent. Pakistan was very conscious of this feeling and regarded her powerful neighbour from the outset with fear and suspicion, which were strengthened by the belief that she had been unjustly treated by India in the division of the assets and particularly the military stores of undivided India.

Any chance that this suspicion and bitterness might gradually fade away was destroyed by the Punjab massacres in 1947, which we have already described. Every refugee fed the fire of hatred with his own tale of horror and brutality, and since India and Pakistan were now in the main the lands of the Hindus and Muslims respectively, the mounting communal antagonism naturally exacerbated the bad feeling between the two countries. They were thus in no mood for a calm approach to the three dangerously controversial issues of Kashmir, evacuee property and economic relationships, with which they were almost immediately confronted. We must now deal in some detail with these matters.

-146-

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