Partition of India
The Partition of British India on 15 August 1947 led to the creation of two sovereign states, both dominions: Pakistan (which later split into the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the People's Republic of Bangladesh in 1971) and India (later the Republic of India).
Since the 1920s the Indian independence movement had been demanding Pūrṇa Swarāj (complete self-rule) for the Indian nation and the establishment of the Dominion of India and the Dominion of Pakistan was a major victory for the Swarajis. Nevertheless, the Partition was controversial among the people, and resulted in significant political instability and displacement.
Most of the 552 princely states within Indian territory acceded to the Dominion of India due to the work of the civil servant V. P. Menon. The Hindu-majority Junagadh State located in modern-day Gujarat attempted to accede to Pakistan under the Muslim Nawab Muhammad Mahabat Khanji III. It was annexed militarily by the Indian government. Similarly, the State of Hyderabad sought to remain independent and was also annexed by India in 1948.
Conflict with Pakistan
The newly created states of Pakistan and India both joined the Commonwealth, a platform for cooperation between the countries that had been part of the British Empire. Nevertheless, they soon found themselves at war beginning in October 1947, over the contested princely state of Jammu and Kashmir. Pakistani militants entered the state, alarming Maharaja Hari Singh who appealed to India for military intervention, in exchange for the signing of the Instrument of Accession and annexation into India. The region is contested to this day and two other Indo-Pakistan wars occurred as part of the Kashmir conflict.
Hostilities and Mahatma Gandhi's attempt to reconcile the two nations via a fast led to his assassination in 1948 by Nathuram Godse, further increasing tensions between the two new states.
The Dominion of India began working towards a constitution based on liberal democracy immediately after independence.
Republic of India
The Constituent Assembly adopted the Constitution of India, drafted by a committee headed by B. R. Ambedkar, on 26 November 1949. India became a federal, democratic republic after its constitution came into effect on 26 January 1950, henceforth celebrated as Republic Day. The governmental structure was similar to that of the United Kingdom but within a federal system. Rajendra Prasad became the first President of India.