India and Pakistan
mark 70 years of independence
India and Pakistan mark 70 years of independence from British rule. In 1947, Britain, faced with irreconcilable differences over the demand for a separate state for India's Muslims, decided to divide the country. The break-up, agreed to by most of India's political leaders, brought independence but also tragedy, resulting in the exodus of some 15 million people and the deaths of up to two million in internecine bloodshed.

1858

India comes under direct rule of British crown following failed rebellion of 1857.

1885

All India National Congress founded becomes forum for emerging nationalist feeling.

1906

All India Muslim League founded to defend Muslim political interests.

1920

Mahatma Gandhi launches anti-Bristish civil disobedience campaign.

1930

Poet Allama Iqbal advocates establishment of separate Muslim state. In the 1930s, mistrust increases between Muslim League and Congress.

1933

Name “Pakistan: - Urdu for “Land of the Pure” – coined by Cambridge student Rahmatullah Chowdhry.

1940

Muslim League leader Mohammed Ali Jinnah calls for separate Muslim state.

1946

Cabinet Mission Plan – British proposal for Hindus and Muslims to work together within united India – collapses. Bloodiest Hindu-Muslim violence in nearly a century kills 5,000 in Calcutta, convinces Britain partition is inevitable.

1947 (Jun)

Partition plan of British viceroy Lord Mountbatten accepted by Jinnah and Congress leader Jawaharlal Nehru.

1947 (Jul)

British Parliament passes Indian Independence Act, ordering demarcation of dominions of India and Pakistan by midnight Aug 14-15.

Aug (14-15)

Separate states born – secular but Hindu-dominated Indian and Muslim-majority Pakistan.

Aug (14-15)

Nehru becomes first Prime Minister of India.

Aug(14-15)

Jinnah becomes first Governor General of Pakistan.

1858

India comes under direct rule of British crown following failed rebellion of 1857.

1885

All India National Congress founded, becomes form for emerging nationalist feeling.

1906

All India Muslim League founded to defend Muslim political interests.

1920

Mahatma Gandhi launches anti-Bristish civil disobedience campaign.

1930

Poet Allama Iqbal advocates establishment of separate Muslim state. In the 1930s, mistrust increases between Muslim League and Congress.