Birth of India in 1947

It is popularly believed that Pakistan has a short history that begins in 1947 whereas India has a thousands of years of history. How true is this claim?

If you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it, and you will even come to believe it yourself.

This article is first part of a series in which different famous myths and misconceptions will be debunked.

Pakistan was founded on August 14, 1947. The popular opinion is that India existed since thousands of years and has an old history. It is a gross misrepresentation of history and India came into being on August 15, 1947.

The Myth

Most of the Indians as well as Pakistanis believe that India has been there since thousands of years. Following is a map of that ‘thousands of years old’ India:

A rough representation of how India is viewed by many people that ‘existed since 5000 years till 1947, when it was partitioned’.

According to this map, different rulers (originating from India or foreigners) ruled it during course of history but it remained united like this. However, in August 1947, it was partitioned and a new country Pakistan was created from this huge piece of Indian land.

The Truth

The fact is that India never existed as depicted in the map (shown previously). This piece of land was collectively known as India (there were other names too like Hind, Bharat etc) but India was never a single country or ruled by a single government. You can visualize it as a small continent having different kingdoms ruled by different kings. Each kingdom was independent and had its own laws.

In more than 5000 years of history of this region India (please don’t confuse it with country), most of its part was united under one government for only 36 years. It was under emperor Ashoka (from 268 BC to 232 BC). In rest of the time, India was always divided into multiple countries or kingdoms.

The following video shows how India’s map changed during the history from 2800 BC to 2016.

India was always divided into kingdoms and ruled by multiple rulers at same time

Another worth-reading article is The changing map of India from 1 AD to the 20th century. The maps used in this article were originally created by historian Thomas Lessman.

When Britishers were leaving India in 1947, they created two new countries. One country was Pakistan and other new country was India. It’s an established fact and is documented by historians. In news media of 1940’s, it was never claimed that only one new country (Pakistan) was being created.

In 1975, a well-researched book Freedom at Midnight was released. It is a non-fiction book and describes events around partition of 1947. It was authored by Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre. They reportedly spent $300,000 only in research for writing this book. Following are some excerpts from this book:

Beyond New Delhi’s Constituent Assembly hall, in the vastness of the two new states, the momentous changes portended by he conch shell’s call found their echo in jubilant cheers and a thousand small gestures.

Freedom at Midnight (Page 319)

So, there were two new states India and Pakistan.

At the outset, Congress claimed the most precious asset of all, the name ‘India’. Rejecting a proposal to name their new dominion ‘Hindustan’, Congress insisted that, since Pakistan was seceding, the name India and India’s identity in groups like the UN remain theirs.

Freedom at Midnight (Page 213)

Since two new countries were created, both of them had free will to decide the name. One of those countries chose the name “India”.

Following is a newspaper headline (dated August 14, 1947) from an American newspaper:

Two new nations of India and Pakistan were born

Conclusion

Since a few years, propaganda was done by Indians that Pakistan has a very short history and it starts from 1947 only whereas history of India is very rich and old. The intention for spreading this misinformation was to make Pakistanis feel inferior and unfortunately, many Pakistanis fell in this trap.

We have seen proofs that in 1947, both India and Pakistan were born. When we talk of history, we refer to this piece of land where we live (that had different names under different empires). It’s only a myth that all of this region was always called India.

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