In episode 8 of our web series exploring the relationship between Britain and India, our roundtable charts the history of events that lead to the subcontinent.

India and Pakistan are separated by the line on a map. How was this line drawn and what were the implications? Should independence be frowned upon or celebrated? We reveal the accurate historical events behind partition and question: Freedom – but at what cost?

The main two groups that made the greatest impact on Independence was the Indian National Congress (Congress) and the All India Muslim League.  The Lucknow Pact of December 1916 brought the Congress and Muslim League together to demand Indian Autonomy. With the Congress and Muslim League putting aside religious differences a unified campaign emerged which, strengthened the independence movement greatly.

Mohandas K Gandhi along with others including Jawaharlal Nehru, Muhammad Ali Jinnah led the non-cooperation movement. Through a series of rallies, marches, non-violent conformations and boycotts of British goods the struggle for independence started to affect how the country was governed. Gandhi led the Congress from 1920 and through various campaigns made demands for Independence.  Gandhi won many concessions including a role in local government for Congress in 1930. It was with the outbreak of World War II and the Viceroy’s intention to declare War with Germany in 1939 without consulting with Congress that sewed the seeds for partition. Gandhi demanded full independence in 1942 and campaigned against Indian Participation in World War II with the Quit India Movement.  Gandhi along with tens of thousands of Congress leaders were Imprisoned. The Muslim League moved against Gandhi to supported the British in World War II and to demand a separate Muslim State.

After World War II had ended the New Labour government led by Clement Attlee was keen to push ahead with Independence.  The British had long held the two nation theory that concluded that people identified by religion across the subcontinent.