Why did the British Leave India in 1947

A lot many people and some eminent historians opine that the British left India in 1947 due to agitation of Gandhi. This is a travesty of facts as Gandhi and his creed of non violence was in real terms not a threat toy the British Raj at all. In fact Gandhi was agitating for 30 years for 'swaraj' (Independence) and he was nowhere near his goal despite the famous Round table conferences in England.

A lot many people and some eminent historians opine that the British left India in 1947 due to agitation of Gandhi. This is a travesty of facts as Gandhi and his creed of non violence was in real terms not a threat toy the British Raj at all. In fact Gandhi was agitating for 30 years for 'swaraj' (Independence) and he was nowhere near his goal despite the famous Round table conferences in England.

Gandhi had launched any number of agitations and civil disobedience movements, but the Raj remained entrenched. This was because support from the Princely and maharajah lobby that had sided with the English. In addition the British had their beck and call a trained and battle hardened army which if required could put down any rebellion. In fact this army was the backbone of the Raj.

However things began to change from 1939 onwards. That was the year when the Second World War was unleashed by Hitler. Hitler quickly over ran Europe and his allies the Japanese opened a front against the English in the East.

The result was the defeat of British arms in Singapore and Burma and soon the Imperial army was at the gates of India. The British at this time had to expand the Indian army which soon numbered 2.5 million men. In addition this army which was expanded very fast could not be fully indoctrinated in the essence of the values of the Raj. The Army was used against the Germans in Africa and more important it did the bulk of fighting against the Japanese. At that time the factor of Subhas Bose and his INA emerged. Bose began to appeal to soldiers of the Indian army to desert and join him with his famous war cry 'Delhi Chalo' (onwards to Delhi. Though as a percentage very few Indian soldiers defected, yet the numbers that went over to Bose made a big dent in the Psyche of the British. It dawned on them that perhaps the army was not entirely reliable. After the war the British put the INA officers on trial in the Red fort. But the result was bad from the British angle as an undercurrent of unrest spread in the Army.

At about the same time the Royal Indian Navy mutinied at Bombay and the British were soon at a loss as to what to do. There was no doubt that the instrument that helped their rule in India was no longer reliable. In addition the war had sapped the English economy and England at home was economically in dire straits. Hence it was a no go for the English. Gentlemen as ever they exited from India gracefully. In real terms Gandhi and his agitations had no effect. He was only a side show.

 


 

 


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