The partition of India in 1947 divided British India into two independent dominions: India and Pakistan. The Dominion of India is today the Republic of India, and the Dominion of Pakistan is the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the People's Republic of Bangladesh. The partition involved the division of two provinces, Bengal and Punjab, based on district-wide non-Muslim or Muslim majorities. The partition also saw the division of the British Indian Army, the Royal Indian Navy, the Royal Indian Air Force, the Indian Civil Service, the railways, and the central treasury. The partition was outlined in the Indian Independence Act 1947 and resulted in the dissolution of the British Raj, i.e., Crown rule in India. The two self-governing independent Dominions of India and Pakistan legally came into existence at midnight on 14–15 August 1947.
The partition displaced between 10 and 20 million people along religious lines, creating overwhelming calamity in the newly-constituted dominions. It is estimated that around 200,000–2 million people died during migration. It is often described as the largest mass human migration and one of the largest refugee crises in history. There was large-scale violence, with estimates of the loss of life accompanying or preceding the partition disputed and varying between several hundred thousand and two million. The violent nature of the partition created an atmosphere of hostility and suspicion between India and Pakistan that affects their relationship to this day.
The term partition of India does not cover the secession of Bangladesh from Pakistan in 1971, nor the earlier separations of Burma (now Myanmar) and Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) from the administration of India. The term also does not cover the political integration of princely states into the two new dominions, nor the disputes of annexation or division arising in the princely states of Hyderabad, Junagadh, and Jammu and Kashmir, though violence along religious lines did break out in some princely states at the time of the partition. It does not cover the incorporation of the enclaves of French India into India during the period 1947–1954, nor the annexation of Goa and other districts of Portuguese India by India in 1961. Other contemporaneous political entities in the region in 1947—the Kingdom of Sikkim, Kingdom of Bhutan, Kingdom of Nepal, Kingdom of Afghanistan, and the Maldives—were unaffected by the partition.
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