Class 12 History Chapter 16 Understanding Partition

Class 12 History Chapter 16 Understanding Partition The answer to each chapter is provided in the list so that you can easily browse through different chapters Assam Board HS 2nd Year History Chapter 16 Understanding Partition Question Answer.

Class 12 History Chapter 16 Understanding Partition

Join Telegram channel

Also, you can read the SCERT book online in these sections Solutions by Expert Teachers as per SCERT (CBSE) Book guidelines. These solutions are part of SCERT All Subject Solutions. Here we have given Assam Board Class 12 History Chapter 16 Understanding Partition Solutions for All Subjects, You can practice these here.

Understanding Partition

Chapter – 16


Very Short Answer Type Questions

Q.1. What was the most important but tragic provision of the Mountbatten plan? 

Ans : The most tragic provision of the Mountbatten plan was division of the country into two independent dominions namely India and Pakistan. 

Q.2. What were Mahatma Gandhi’s arguments against partition? 

Ans : a) Gandhi felt that for both Hindus and Muslims India is their homeland. They have a common culture and speak the same language. 

b) They have common eating habits and have the same blood. 

Q.3. What are the similarities which exist between the Punjab and Bengal experiences of partition? 

Ans : a) In both these states women were the prime targets women’s bodies were treated as territories to be conquered.

b) Dishonouring women of a community was seen as dishonouring the entire community and a means of taking revenge. 

Q.4. How do people refer to partition? 

Ans : People and survivors often refer to partition as mashaal-la (martial law), mara-mari (killings), and raula or hullar (disturbance, tumult, uproar). 

Q.5. When and where was the Muslim League formed? 

Ans : The Muslim League was initially floated in Dhaka in 1906, and quickly taken over by the U.P. based Muslim elite. 

Q.6. Name two sources which serve as example of testimony of partition as an enormous history of help, humanity and harmony. 

Ans : Partition narratives of Abdul Latif and memoir of Khushdeva Singh entitled Love is stronger than hate A remembrance of 1947. 

Q.7. Who constituted the Cabinet Mission? 

Ans: The Cabinet Mission was a 3 member mission including : 

i) Lord Pathwik Lawrence the Secretary of State of India.

ii) Sir Stafford Cripps. 

iii) Mr. A. V. Alexander.

8. What are the Lucknow pact? When was it achieved?

Ans : The Lucknow pact was an understanding between moderate and extremist members of the congress and between the congress and O the Muslim League. The Lucknow pact was achieved in December 1916. 

Q.9. Write a very short note on Arya Samaj.

Ans : Arya Samaj : It was a North Indian Hindu reform organization of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Particularly active in the Punjab, which sought to revive vedic learning and combine it with modern education in the sciences.

Q.10. When was the announcement regarding Indian Independence made and by whom? 

Ans : The announcement was made creating the two separate states of India and Pakistan on June 3, 1947.

It was made by Lord Mountbatten, the last Viceroy of India. 

B. Textual Questions & Answers : 

Q.1. What did the Muslim League demand through its resolution of 1940?

Ans: The Muslim League demanded the following things through its resolution of 1940 – 

League demanded through its resolution 23 March, 1940 at Lahore a measure of autonomy for the Muslim majority areas of the Indian Sub- continent. We should keep in mind that in beginning the revolution was not very ambitious politically because it had never mention the world partition or creation of pakistan. It is historical fact that Sikander Hayat Khan, Punjab premier and leader of the Unionist party, who had drifted the resolution, declared in a Punjab assembly speech on 1 Mrch 1941 that he was opposed to a Pakistan that would mean “Muslim Raj here and Hindu Raj elsewhere. 

If Pakistan means unalloyed Muslim Raj in the punjab then. I will have nothing to do with it”. He reiterated his plea for a loose, confederating units. As for as background of Pakistan resolution is concern historian say that the origin of this demand can be traced back to the Urdu pact Mohammed Iqbal, the write of “Sare Jahan -se Achha Hindustan Hamara”. In his presidental address to the Muslim League in 1930, the Poet spoke of a need for a “North West Indian Muslim state”. We should explain the demand of Iqbal in a real and broder contest which he was having in his mind. According to supporter scholars that it was not visualising the emergency of a new country in that speech. 

Iqbal realy desired a reorganisation of Muslim- majoríty angreed by the rapid spread of Tabligh and Tanzim after 1923. As middle class published and commerical activist sought to build greater soliderity within their communities, mobilising people against the other community, riots spread in differences between Muslim and Hindus. Those riots created very disturbing memories in the mind of the people of violence and mutual hate. At last we can say that communal riots only communal riots were responsible for partition. In fact partition was a qualitative very different phenomenon from earlier communal politics, and to understand it we require to look carefully at the events of last decade (1937-1947) of British rule.

Q.2. Why did some people think of partition as a very sudden development? 

Ans : Many people considered the partition of India in 1947 as a very sudden developement. Even the Muslims were not clear what the creation of pakistan meant to them. They were also unaware how the creation of their own country might shape their lives in the future. Many people had migrated to the new country with the hope that they would soon come back as and when the peace prevailed in the region. Many Muslim leaders were even not serious in their demand for pakistan. Many-a-times Jinnah used the idea of pakistan to seek favour from the British and to block concessions to the congress. In other words, the partition of the country took place. So suddenly that nobody realised what had happened within a few days. 

Q.3. How did ordinary people view partition? 

Ans : Some ordinary people mistakenly believe that the partition is not final and complete it would not be permanent. After some days peace, low and order will be restored and all peoples irrespective of their religion or community will go back to their, original place, villages, towns or cities or will back go their respective state. The ordinary people viewed partition in terms of the sufferings and challenges of the times. For them it was not a mere territorial division nor was it about the party politics of the Muslim League congress or other parties. For them, it meant the death of loved ones, the rape and abduction of their women and loss of property and wealth. It also meant being uprooted from their homes, transported to refugee camps and forced to start life afresh. 

Q.4. What were Mahatma Gandhi’s arguments against partition? 

Ans: Mahatma Gandhi was opposed to the idea of partition as he did not believe in the two notion theory. He rejected religion as determining a nation. He believed that Hindus and Muslims shared a common culture and constituted a single nation. He believed Hindus and Muslims were one. He further believed that while Muslim League demanded parition to create a seperate Muslim state, the demand for partition was unislamic as Islam stood for unity and brotherhood not for disrupting unity. Even till the day of Independence Gandhi never accepted partition as right. He did not participate in the festivals of Independence and toured riot stricken areas with message of peace and non-violence. 

Q.5. Why is partition viewed as an extremely significant marker in South Asian history? 

Ans : The partition viewed as an extremely significant marker in South Asian history because people have experience division earlier also. Country were one and last by the emperors or rulers in different ages. Even Roman Empire disintegration, even persian empire disintegrated. So many countries which once were part and parcel of huge Indian sub- continent had been separated. Even Burma was separated from India after the Indian Act of 1935. Several part of China were taken by Russian rulers or other attackers. Taiwan is a separate country since 1949. Indo- China had been partitioned. Korea has been partitioned but as far as the division of India is considered extremely important marker in South Asian history due to following reasons. 

The people of India from all communities, religion sects participated for freedom of their motherland for more than 90 years if he accept 1857 as ever first war of Independence but the joy of long struggle of the people of Indian’s independence from colonial rule in 1947 was tarnished by the violence and brutality of partition. The partition of British India into the sovereign states of India and pakistan (with its western and eastern wings) led to many sudden developments. 

Thousands of lives were snuffed out, many others changed dramatically, cities changed, India changed, a new country was born and these was unprecedented genocidal violence and migration. The partition is also important because we can collect historical information through knowing hearing experiences of ordinary people which they had gained during the period 1946-1950 and beyond. Through the use of oral history or interviews we can get knowledge about some certain aspects of society past of which may know very little or nothing from other types of sources. 

Write a Short Essay on the Following

Q.6. Why was British India partitioned? 

Ans : Though the partition of India was painful yet it was essential. The congress was forced to accept it in wake of the prevailing circumstances. In reality this partition could be postponed. The following arguments can be given in this regard. 

The leaders of the congress were exhausted due to long- drawn battle for independence. So they accepted the partition plan. But they should have thought that Jinnah, the main spokesperson for pakistan, was suffering from cancer. He had become quite weak and had no power to fight any more. Had congress kept patience, it was possible that Jinnah could have left this demand for partition. He would have made some agreement with the congress. 

The congress wanted to get maximum benefit from the Labour Government in England. It feared that it might lose freedom if even the conservative party came to power. But it was just a fallacy of the congress. The conservative Government could not be formed in England before at least 1950. During these three years, it would not have been difficult to change the scenario by starting a big movement against the British and for Hindu- Muslim unity. Congress was weary of the communal riots. 

It wanted to get rid of them. So it accepted Mountbatten’s plan for the partition of India. Rather than accepting the proposal of the viceroy, the congress should have pressurised him to crush those who spread communal violence and caused communal riots. If the British Government could repress Non-cooperation Movement and Quit India Movement, why could it not crush merely a few hundred rioteers and fanatica. Having taken any of these steps, the partition of the country have been definitely postponed. 

Q.7. How did women experience partition? 

Ans : Women experienced partition in a most harrowing way. They became the prime targets of persecution. Attackers treated women’s bodies as territory to be conquered. 

Women were raped, adducted sold aften many times over. They were forced to settle down to a new life with strangers in unknown circumstances. Traumatised when some began to develop new family bonds in their changed circumstances they were torn away from their new bondings. Prakash Tandon in his punjabi century an autobiographical social history of colonial punjab recounts how a sikh youth who married a Muslim girl was hounded. So afraid was the youth of the police and social workers that he hid with his wife in a sugarcane field, delivered her with his own hands, in three days lost his wife because of high fever, but had not dared to take her to the hospital. 

Governments both Indian and Pakistani were insensitive to the feelings of women and complexities of human relationships. Believing them to be on the wrong side of the border, women were torn away from their new relatives. According to one estimate 30,000 women were recovered overall 22,000 Muslim women in India and 800, Hindu and Sikh women in pakistan in an operation that ended as late as 1954. Dishonouring women of a community was seen as dishonouring the community itself and as a mode of revenge. For virility it was believed lay in the ability to protect your possession – Za(women) and zamin (land). Many women were killed under the notion of saving honour of women. Women were not allowed to voice their opinion. Fear that their women would be violted, drove many to force their women to commit suicide. 

Urvashi Butalia in her book the other side of silences narrates one such gruesome incident in the village of Thoa Khalsa, rawalpindi district where during partition 90 women are said to have voluntarily jumped into the well rather than fall pray into enemy hands. These suicide sare celebrated even today as martyrdom. 

Q.8. How did the congress come to change its views on partitions? 

Ans: The Indian National congress was not a favour of partition of India. Several leaders including Mahatma Gandhi of this party had expressed their views against partition of the country. 

After withdrawing its support to the Cabinet Mission plan, The Muslim League decided on “Direct Action” for winning its pakistan demand. it announced 16 August 1946 as “Direct Action Day”. On the day, riots broke out in calcutta., lasting several days and leaving several thousand people dead. By March 1947 violence spread to many parts of northern India. It was in March 1947 that the congress high command voted for dividing the Punjab into two halves, one with Muslim majority, and it asked for the application of a similar principle to Bengal. 

By this time, given the numbers game, many Sikh leaders and congressmen in the Punjab were convinced that partition was necessary evil, otherwise they would be swamped by Muslim majorities and Muslim leaders would dictate terms. In Bengal too a section of bhadralok Bengali Hindus, who wanted political power to remain with them, began to fear the “permanent tutelage of Muslim” (as one of their leaders put it). Since they were in a numerical minority, they felt that only a division of the province could ensure their political dominance. 

The blood bath continued for about a year from March 1947 onwards. One main reason for this was the collapse of the institutions of governance. Penderel Moon, an administrator serving in Bahawalpur (in present- day pakistan) at the time noted how the police failed to fire even a single shot when arson and killing were taking place in Amritsar in March 1947. Amritsar district became the scene of blood shed later in the year when there was a complete breakdown of authority in the city. British official did not know how to handle the situation, they were unwilling to take decisions, and hesitant to intervene. 

When panic- stricken people appealed for help, British official asked them to contact “Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Vallabh Bhai Patel or M.A. Jinnah. Nobody knew who could exercise authority and power. The Top leadership of the Indian parties, barring Mahatma Gandhi, were involved in negotiations regarding independence while many Indian civil servants in the affected provinces feared for their own lives and property. The British were busy preparing to quit India. Problems were compounded because Indian soldiers and policemen came to act as Hindus, Muslims or Sikhs. 

As communal tension mounted, the professional commitment of those in uniform could not be relied upon. In many places not only did policemen help their co-religionist but they also attacked members of other communities. While carnages occured in Calcutta and Noakhali in 1946, the partition was most bloody and destructive in the Punjab. The near-total displacement of Hindus and Sikhs eastwards into India from West Punjab and of almost all Punjab speaking Muslims to pakistan happened in relatively short period of two years between 1946 and 1948. 

There is however, a huge similarity between the Punjab and Bengal experiences. In both these states, women and girls became prime targets of persecution. Attackers treated women’s bodies as territory to be conquered. Dishonouring women of a community was seen as dishonouring the community itself, and a mode of taking revenge. 

Q.9. Examine the strengths and limitations of oral history. How have oral- history techniques furthered our understanding of partition?

Ans: The history of partition has been reconstructed by the help of oral narratives, memories, diaries and family histories. These help to understand the problem faced by ordinary people during this harrowing time. Oral sources help us to grasp experiences and memories in details. It enables historians to write vivid accounts of what people experienced during partition. It is impossible to extract this kind of information from government documents. 

Government documents deal with policy matters and may throw ample light on negotiations between the British and other major political parties. But it does not tell us about the day to day experiences of those affected by the partition. Oral history also allow historians to depict the experiences of the poor and helpless. For e.g. that of the women of Thoa Khalsa or the middle class Bengali widow bent double over road laying work in Bihar. Thus oral history of partition has helped to depict the experiences of those whose existence have been hitherto ignored, who are not rich or have been taken for granted. 

However historians have felt that oral data lacks concrete details and the chronology they yield is not precise. Historians feel that oral accounts are concerned with tangential issues and that small individual experiences are irrelevant to the unfolding of the larger canvas of history. With regard to events like the Indian parition and the German Holocaust there is a lot of information about the sufferring that the people faced. By comparing statements, oral or written and by corroborating what they yield with findings from other sources historians can weight the reliability of piece of evidence. 

Moreover if history has to focus on the trails and tribulations of the ordinary and powerless, then the oral history of partition is not concerned with tangential matters. Different types of sources have to tapped for answering different types of questions and while government reports can tell us of the number of “recovered” women exchanged by both the countries but it is the women who will tell us about their suffering. But oral data on partitions is not easily available. People may not want to talk about what are intensely personal experiences and many may not remember events with accuracy considering the time period which has lapsed.

Map Work

Q.10. On an outline map of South Asia, mark out Sections A, B and C of the Cabinet Mission proposals. How is this map different from the political map of present – day South Asia?

Ans :                      

Class 12 History chapter 16 Map 1

C. Passage Based Question & Answers : 

Read the following carefully. Answer all the questions below it. 


The League’s resolution of 1940 demanded : that geographically contiguous units are demarcated into regions, which should be so constituted, with such territorial readjustments as may be necessary, that the areas in which the Muslims are numerically in a majority as in the north-western and eastern zones of India should be grouped to constitute “Independent States”. In which the constituent units shall be autonomous and sovereign. 


Q.1. What was the Muslim League demanding? Was it demanding Pakistan as we know it today? 

Ans: The Muslim League was demanding division of India on the basic of its “Two Nation Theory”. No it was not demanding Pakistan as we know it today.

Q.2. In which year and where the Muslim League was founded. Who was its most popular leader at the time of partition of the country?

Ans: The Muslim League was founded in 1906, in Dakka (now a days the capital town of Bangladesh). Mohammed Ali Jinah was its most popular leader at the time of partition the country.

Q.3. When and where did the Muslim League pass resolution? What were the main points of it? 

Ans : The Muslim League passed its resolution in 1940 in Lahore for Pakistan. The Muslim League’s Resolution of 1940 demanded that geographically contiguous units were demarcated constituted, with such territorial readjustments as might be necessary. According to League the areas in which the Muslims were numerically in a majority as in the north western and eastern zones of India should be grouped to constitute independent states in which the constituent units should be autonomous and sovereign.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top