The British ruled the Indian subcontinent for nearly 200 years
from 1756 to 1947.After a revolt between 1857 and 1859, the British initiated political reforms, allowing the formation of political parties. The Indian National Congress, representing the overwhelming majority of Hindus, was created in 1885. The Muslim League was formed in 1906 to represent the Muslim minority. When the British introduced constitutional reforms in 1909, the Muslims demanded and acquired separate electoral rolls. This guaranteed Muslims representation in the provincial as well as the national legislatures until independence was granted in 1947.
By 1940, however, the Muslim League had resolved to seek the partitioning of the subcontinent and the creation of a separate Muslim statePakistan. During preindependence talks in 1946, therefore, the British government found that the stand of the Muslim League on separation and that of the Congress on the territorial unity of India were irreconcilable. The British then decided on partition and on August 14, 1947, transferred power to Pakistan. India gained its independence the next day. Pakistan came into existence in two parts: West Pakistan, coextensive with the country's present boundaries, and East Pakistan, now known as Bangladesh. The two were separated by 1,600 km (1,000 mi) of Indian territory.
Problems of Partition
The division of the subcontinent caused tremendous dislocation of populations. Some 3.5 million Hindus and Sikhs moved from Pakistan into India, and about 5 million Muslims migrated from India to Pakistan. The demographic shift caused an initial bitterness between the two countries that was further intensified by each country's accession of a portion of the princely states. Nearly all of these 562 widely scattered polities joined either India or Pakistan; the princes of Hyderabad, Junagadh, and Kashmir, however, chose not to join either country.