Political map of south Asia on february 20 1945 – Land of Maps

Exploring the Political Map of South Asia on February 20, 1945


The political map of South Asia on February 20, 1945, reveals the geopolitical landscape during a significant period in history. South Asia, a region comprising countries such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives, experienced major political changes during the mid-1940s. This article aims to delve into the historical context, colonial legacy, major political players, shifting borders, and key events that shaped South Asia’s political map on this date.

Historical Background

The mid-1940s marked a crucial phase for South Asia’s political map due to various historical events. At the time, the region was under British colonial rule. The British had established dominance in South Asia during the 18th and 19th centuries, exploiting its resources and controlling virtually every aspect of the political and economic landscape. However, the desire for independence was growing among the South Asian nations, fueled by movements such as the Indian National Congress and the All India Muslim League.

The demand for self-governance reached its peak in the mid-1940s when key leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, and others spearheaded the fight against British rule. The Quit India Movement in 1942 and the Lahore Resolution in 1940 were significant milestones towards achieving independence. These events set the stage for the political transformation that would soon reshape South Asia.

Colonial Legacy

The impact of British colonial rule on South Asia was profound and had lasting effects on the political map of the region. The British practiced a policy of divide and rule, fostering divisions among different communities in South Asia to maintain control. This resulted in tensions between Hindus and Muslims, with the latter advocating for a separate nation – Pakistan. The idea of Pakistan gained momentum during the 1940s, leading to the eventual partition of India and the creation of two independent nations – India and Pakistan – in 1947.

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The divide was not confined to India and Pakistan alone. Other countries in South Asia also experienced territorial changes during this period. For instance, Sri Lanka (known as Ceylon at the time) gained independence from British rule in 1948 and remained a separate entity. Similarly, Nepal, Bhutan, and the Maldives maintained their autonomy during the decolonization process.

Major Political Players

Several influential leaders and political parties emerged during this period, shaping the political map of South Asia. The Indian National Congress, led by Mahatma Gandhi and later by Jawaharlal Nehru, played a crucial role in the freedom struggle and the formation of India as an independent nation. The All India Muslim League, led by Muhammad Ali Jinnah, advocated for the creation of Pakistan, a separate homeland for Muslims in South Asia.

In addition to these prominent political organizations, other players such as the Communist Party of India, the Ghadar Party, and provincial parties represented the diverse political landscape of South Asia in 1945. These parties held varying ideologies, ranging from socialism to nationalism, and contributed to the debates and discussions surrounding the future of the region.

Shifting Borders

The period leading up to 1945 witnessed significant shifts in nationhood and territory in South Asia. The partition of India into India and Pakistan in 1947 resulted in the creation of new borders and the displacement of millions of people. The Radcliffe Line demarcated the boundary between the two nations, leading to religious violence and mass migrations, especially along the Punjab and Bengal regions.

During this time, the princely states in South Asia, which were previously ruled by local royalty under British suzerainty, also underwent changes in their political status. The majority of princely states acceded to either India or Pakistan based on geographical proximity and religious affiliations. This process further shaped the political map of South Asia, defining the boundaries of the newly formed nations.

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Key Events

The year 1945 witnessed several significant political events in South Asia. The Simla Conference, held in June 1945, was a crucial negotiation between the Indian National Congress and the Muslim League to discuss the issue of self-governance. However, disagreements emerged between the two parties regarding the creation of Pakistan and the division of power, hindering the progress towards a unified solution.

Another significant event was the formation of the Interim Government of India in September 1946, which consisted of members from the Congress, the Muslim League, and other political groups. This interim government aimed to prepare for India’s transition to independence, marking a critical step towards self-rule.


Q: How did British colonial rule impact the political map of South Asia?
A: British colonial rule fostered divisions among different communities, leading to the demand for a separate nation for Muslims – Pakistan. It also practiced the policy of divide and rule, which had lasting effects on the political landscape.
Q: Who were the major political players in South Asia during this period?
A: The major political players included Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, and various political parties such as the Indian National Congress, the All India Muslim League, and the Communist Party of India.
Q: Did all South Asian countries gain independence during this period?
A: While India and Pakistan achieved independence, other countries like Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, and the Maldives maintained their autonomy during the decolonization process.
Q: What were the major events in South Asia in 1945?
A: The Simla Conference and the formation of the Interim Government of India were among the major events that influenced the political landscape of South Asia in 1945.
Q: How did the partition of India in 1947 impact the region?
A: The partition resulted in the creation of India and Pakistan, leading to the displacement of millions and religious violence. It significantly reshaped the political map of South Asia.


The political map of South Asia on February 20, 1945, reflected a region in the midst of significant transformations. The struggle for independence from British rule, the formation of India and Pakistan, and the shifting borders were key factors that defined the political landscape. Understanding this historical context is essential to comprehend the region’s present-day challenges and prospects. South Asia continues to evolve politically, with its rich history shaping its future aspirations.

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