When did the conflict between India and Pakistan originate?
Pakistan was created as a Muslim-majority country separate from India, which is dominated by Hindus and has large minorities of Muslims, Sikhs and followers of other religions. The separation of the two countries, known as the partition, resulted in violent riots as people were uprooted. Many Muslims moved from what is now India to Pakistan and many Hindus moved from what is now Pakistan to India. About 500,000 people died. Conflict still exists over governance of Jammu and Kashmir, a once autonomous state. Many Pakistanis believe it should be part of Pakistan because of its predominantly Muslim population. India states that it belongs to India because it agreed to join the country in 1947.
How does the conflict between India and Pakistan affect the rest of the world?
The conflict between India and Pakistan often affects immigration. The first Indian immigrants to the United States came from the Punjab region. Today, Indians represent many regions, languages and cultural groups. Many do not come from India at all. Communities exist all over the world, so about 20 percent of Indians in America were born outside of India. Of U.S. Indians, about 4 percent come from Guyana and British Guyana, 2 percent came to the United States from Pakistan or Trinidad and Tobago and another 1 percent come from Bangladesh and the United Kingdom. They also come to the United States from Canada and through Mexico.
What else was affected by the conflict between India and Pakistan?
Bengal is a very populous region on the eastern part of the subcontinent along the Bay of Bengal. During the Partition of 1947, which created independent India and Pakistan, Bengal was split along religious lines. The western part, which was mostly Hindu, became a state in India called West Bengal. The eastern part, mostly Muslim, became East Pakistan — part of the single nation, Pakistan, that was split between two non-contiguous areas. Following a civil war (in which India supported the Bengali insurgents against Pakistani government forces), East Pakistan became an independent country in 1971, called Bangladesh, or “Bengal Country.” By language and ethnicity, people in both West Bengal and Bangladesh are Bengali; they are part of the same region. But by nationality, people from Bangladesh are called Bangladeshis.