Updated: Oct 18, 2021
By Natasha Gilman
During the 19th and 20th centuries, the British forces began to utilize Indian wealth for their own prosperity. The British Crown took control of India, soon to be split into India and Pakistan, under Queen Victoria, who overthrew the British India Company’s land. The British used the notion of divide and conquer to overtake India, taking small parts of the country in order to issue full control. Due to this tactic, Hindu and Muslim division was furthered. Britain’s treatment of India caused multiple famines within the country. Utilizing their strong military power, the British enforced harsh rule throughout India, violently opposing the anti-British protests at the time.
The most widely known of these protests were those of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, who argues for non-cooperation through peaceful protests of the British rule. Other figures that prominently shaped British resistance at the time were Bhagat Singh and Subhas Chandra Bose, who fought for armed resistance.
World War II was an instrumental turning point for India’s independence. After Gandhi's development as the leader of the independence movement in 1921, boycotts on British goods and other forms of peaceful protest were issued. When India was asked to enter World War II in support of Britain Gandhi proposed the Quit India Movement, which declared that India would only join if they were granted independence. Along with war tensions, there were additional tensions between Hindus and Muslims at the time, prompting the partition of India into India and Pakistan. Despite the inherent differences between the Hindus and Muslims, the partition lines were often argued, causing the further independence of many nations in the years to follow. The partition was declared on August 14, 1947. Furthermore, the Muslim majority Esat Bengal became East Pakistan, leaving East and West Pakistan, both with culturally different ideals. Then, in 1971, East Pakistan fought for independence, creating Bangladesh.