Chapter 35
South Asia & The Middle
By: Cherease Street
Section 1: Nations of South Asia
Since the 1800’s Indian nationalists had demanded independence.
After World War II, Britain finally agreed to these demands. As the
long awaiting dream approached a new issue surfaced. What would
happen to the Muslim minority in a Hindu dominated India?
Independence and Partition
Two States
Muhammad Ali Jinnah, leader of
the Muslim League, insisted that
Muslims have their own state,
Pakistan. The disputes between
Hindu’s and Muslims helped
convince Britain to partition
(divide) the subcontinent. In
1947 British officials drew borders
to create Hindu India and Muslim
Pakistan. Pakistan was made up of
vastly separated areas that had a
large Muslim population.
Tragedy Unfolds
That same year millions of Hindus and Muslims
crossed the borders of India and Pakistan in both
directions.During the mass migration northern India
plunged into savage violence. Muslims slaughtered
Hindu neighbours. As many as one million , mostly
Muslims, died.
Gandhi was a major political and spiritual leader of
India and the Indian independence movement. In
India, he is recognized as the Father of The Nation.
Horrified at the partition and violence Gandhi
turned to satygraha (soul force). on January 30,
1948, he was shot and killed by a Hindu extremist.
Gandhi’s death discredited the extremists and helped
end the worst violence.
World’s Largest Democracy
India based its government and system of law on Britain’s systems.
Even though Indians united behind the Congress party in its drive
to independence, the new nation was still deeply divided. Indian
spoke a variety of languages and dialects. Although most Indians
were Hindu, millions were Muslim, Christian, Sikh, or Buddhist.
India’s constitution set up a federal system, similar to the one of the
United states. The governments powers were divided between a
strong central government and smaller local governments.
The Nehru Dynasty
For 40 years after independence India was led by the Nehru family.
As prime minister from 1947- 1964 Jawaharlal Nehru worked to
build a modern secular state dedicated to promote social justice.
After he died, his daughter Indira Gandhi, and later Rajiv Gandhi
became the new leaders of India. Both were popular, energetic
leaders, but their high-handed politics sometimes eroded goodwill.
Economic Growth
After independence India wanted to expand their agriculture and
industry. India’s government adopted the socialist five year plan to
set economic goals and manage resources.
Industrial Growth
While under British rule India had a basic
transportation network. After their
independence, Nehru had dams built to
produce hydroelectric power and poured
resources into heavy industries such as steel.
In a few decades, India was on the verge of
becoming an industrial power. Despite the
progress India lacked oil and natural gas,
which were two resources essential to
economic growth. As a result, India had to
rely on expensive imported oil.
Green Revolution
Desiring India to be self-sufficient in food
production, Nehru took advantage of the
Green Revolution. New seeds, chemical
fertilizers, and irrigation methods boosted
crop output. Only farmers with enough
land and money benefited from the new
crops. Most farmers depended on the
seasonal monsoons and produced enough
to survive with few surplus.
India’s government built schools and universities needed to educate
the work force to support an industrial economy. India’s literacy
rate climbed, although mostly for boys because they were more
likely to attend school. Children of poor families often got little
schooling because they were needed to work.
The Population Issue
Rapid population growth hampered efforts to improve conditions
for most people. India’s population has almost tripled since
independence. Food output increased, but so did demand. More
than a third of Indians live below poverty level, eating only one
meal a day.
As population boomed and the Green Revolution eliminated many
agricultural jobs, millions of people streamed into cities to find
work. Many of the cities did not have enough jobs to eliminate the
rising unemployment rate.
The government encouraged family planning, but did not impose
harsh population control measures as china did.
Economic Reforms
An economic slowdown and pressure from foreign lenders forced
India’s government to impose new reforms. India formed their
economic reforms after the Asian Tigers. Privatizing industries and
making foreign investments easier were one of the first reforms.
These steps helped India to take a major role in textiles, software
production, and other industries.
Social Changes
India’s constitution banned discrimination against Untouchables.
The government set aside jobs and universities for these groups that
were long mistreated.Violent protest by the upper caste Hindu’s
forced the government to back off of its plans.
Women gained the right to vote. A few educated women won
elected offices or entered professions. Still many girls of poor
families received schooling. In rural areas women made up a
majority of the work force, but few received wages for their labors.
Indian women formed organizations like the Self-Employed
Women’s Association (SEWA) which created opportunities for
women. Women’s groups also protested violence against women,
dowry laws, and environmental protection.
Enduring Issues
In the early 1990’s the Bharata Janata party (BJP) won growing
support and wanted a government guided by Hindu principles. In
1992 the BJP called for the destruction of the Ayodhya Mosque.
In 1983, Sikh separatists occupied the Golden Temple in Amritsar to
push the demands of their own state. When talks failed Indira
Gandhi sent troops to clear the temple. Thousands of Sikhs died and
a few months later Gandhi was killed by her own Sikh bodyguards.
Pakistan’s road to
West and East Pakistan were separated by a huge chunk of India. As
tension between the Bangalis and the Punjabis flared the Bangalis
broke away. In 1971 they declared independence for Bangladesh.
A civilian politician Ali Bhutto became president. He promised to
rebuild Pakistan, but was later overthrown and executed by the
military. 1988 Bhutto’s Benazir Bhutto daughter became the first
woman to head a modern Muslim state. Two years later she was
dismissed on charges of corruption.
Economic Choices
Pakistan moved to improve agriculture. It distributed unused land
to landless farmers, experimented with new high yield crops, and
financed irrigation projects. Building dams and clearing land helped
to boost food output, but at high cost to the environment.
South Asia and the World
Distrust has always been a part of Pakistan’s and India’s relationship.
At independence, border conflicts sparked war over Kashmir.
Kashmir was a princely state signed over to India by a Hindu prince.
Kashmir’s Muslim majority wanted to be part of Pakistan.
The Cold War
In 1974 when India tested a nuclear device Pakistan began to feel
During the Cold War Pakistan and India parted and went their
separate ways. In India Nehru welcomed economic aid from the
Soviet Union and the United States, but still kept their neutrality.
Pakistan feeling threaten by India and the Soviet Union accepted the
US military aid.
In 1979 the Soviet Union invaded and set up a puppet government.
The US funneled weapons to help aid the Afghan guerillas based in
Pakistan. The guerilla attacks eventually forced the Soviets to
Sri Lanka
The Tamil-speaking Hindu minority made efforts to win equality.
When their efforts failed, Tamil rebels waged war to set up a separate
nation. India initially supported them,but later rejected them. Rajiv
Gandhi sent troops to suppress the rebels, but their attempts failed.
His action outraged the Tamil extremists, who assassinated him in
Section 2: Forces Shaping the
Modern Middle East
The Middle East in this chapter
refers to the region from
Egypt in the west to Iran in
the east and from Turkey in
the north to the Arabian
peninsula in the south.
Middle Eastern people speak
more than 30 different
languages. The Muslims in the
region share the same faith,but
belong to different national
Nationalism and Independence
Iraq won freedom from Britain in 1932. After WWII British and
French mandate territories became independent.
Pan-Arabism survived and united the Arab state. The Arab league,
which promoted Arab unity in times of crisis and worked for the
common economic goals. After independence many Arab nations
depended economically on the west. Westerners owned banks and
industries. Ending western domination was a goal of the
governments in the middle east.
Britain and France had drawn borders to serve their own interests.
Arab nations inherited these borders. This led to disputes because
within these borders were various groups who were hostile to one
The Birth of Israel
Jewish migration to Palestine, which began in the late 1800’s
accelerated after WWII. In the US the horrors of the Holocaust
created a strong support for the Jewish homeland.
In 1947 the UN set up a partition plan, but the Arabs rejected it. To
them it was a plan to relocate European Jews on ancient Arab land.
In 1948 the Jews proclaimed the independence of the State Israel.
The US and the USSR recognized the new nation. Arab states
however assembled a military and attacked Israel. In the end Israel
almost doubled its territory.
The nation developed quickly. American aid and high taxes gave
Israel the money to invest in industry and agriculture. Israelis built
factories and developed methods to farm their arid land. Kibbutzim
or collective farms, produced crops to export.
The Impact of Oil
The 1973 OPEC oil embargo showed that oil could be a powerful
diplomatic weapon. Oil rich nations like Saudi Arabia and Kuwait
were able to build roads, hospitals, and schools. Poor countries
lacked money that was necessary to develop.
Political and Economic Patterns
Most middle eastern nations developed authoritarian governments.
Jordan and Saudi Arabia were ruled by a hereditary monarchs. In
Iraq and Syria, a single party won power. Dictators like Iraq’s Saddam
Hussein brutally suppressed opponents, but enjoyed some popular
backing because their social and economic policies improved life for
many. Only Israel and Turkey formed a multi-party democratic
In the 1950’s Arab nations turned to socialism because it was the
best way to end foreign economic control and modernize rapidly.
They nationalize their banks, oil, and factories. Despite their efforts
they still depended heavily on the industrial world for their
Governments raised money from foreign loans. They used the funds
to finance industry and agricultural projects, especially irrigation
improvement projects.
Keep the Water Flowing
In the later 1980’s Turkey began building dams to harness the waters
of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. The goal of these massive projects
were to turn the once arid region into a bread basket.
Water is a vital resource for people all over the world. Nowhere is it
more vital than in areas like the middle east where rainfall is limited
and water is scarce. Growing population and rising standard of living
increased demands for water. Farmers in the middle east can
produce good crops if they got sufficient water. In these regions
farming accounts for 80% of the water usage.
Dam building also sparked conflict over water rights because many
rivers in the middle east run through more than one country.
Islamic Revival
As in the past the Muslim Quran and Sharia provide guidance in all
aspects of life. During the age of imperialism westerners urged
Muslims to modernize. Some middle eastern leaders adopted the
western models of government, and promise economic progress
and social justice.
After failed development many Muslim leaders and writers called for
a return to the laws of the Sharia. Islamic reformers did not reject
modernization, but they did reject westernization. They believed
that return to the old Muslim ways was the only way out of their
Across the Muslim world the Islamic revival sparked debate between
reformers and secularists.
Women In The Middle East
Since the 1950’s women in most countries have won the right to
vote and equality before the law. They attend schools and
universities. Middle and Upper-class women have entered
professions such as law, engineering, and medicine. In various
countries many urban women gave up the old practices of wearing a
hejab or cover.
In recent times however many educated Muslim women returned to
wearing a hejab. Women who returned to the hejab saw it as an
expression of sincere loyalty to Muslim values and practices.
Under Sharia law women held a powerful role in the family and in
economic decision making. However in other countries women’s
rights were limited by law. Many women spoke out against these
treatments and the need for women to be recognized as full
contributions to national life.
Section 3: Nation Building In
The Middle East
Turkey had been an independent republic since the 1920’s. Kemal
Ataturk pushed to built a modern secular state modeled after the
west. The Soviets tried to expand southward into Turkey to gain
control of the Bosporus. With US aid Turkey held off the threat. In
the 1950’s Turkey joined NATO and remained a key ally in the
In times of unrest the military seized power. Later Turkey will have a
multi-party democratic government. Turkey transformed its
economy, building dams, and expanding industry. They even
sought to join the European Union, so they exported crops to
Europe. The EU agreed to form closer ties.
Conflicts In Turkey
Turkey tried to force the Kurds within its borders to abandon their
identity. They were forbidden to speak, broadcast, or publish books
in their language. Kurdish revolts were fiercely suppressed. Gradually
the Turkish government agreed to end laws against the Kurdish
Turkey also had a waging conflict with the island of Cyprus in the
Mediterranean. There were numerous conflicts between the Greek
majority and the Muslim minority on this island.
Egypt: A Leader In The Arab
Egypt has ties with both Africa where it is located and the Arab
world the source of their main religion. Egypt’s location between
the Red Sea and the Mediterranean has always been important. It is
the most populated Arab state and controls the Suez Canal. It is a
rich agricultural region.
Gamal Abdel Nasser emerged as a towering figure in the middle
east. Nasser was a military officer who came to power after the
overthrow of a ruler who led foreigners to dominate his country.
He was determined to modernize and at the same time end foreign
Britain and France threatened to invade, but his defiance boosted
his prestige in the Arab world. He later formed a union with Syria, as
a step toward a Pan-Arab goal. He was an outspoken enemy of
Israel he waged two wars against the state , but lost both.
Economic Development
Nasser turned to Socialism . He nationalized banks and businesses
and undertook sweeping land reforms. Nasser built a huge dam on
the upper Nile, called the Aswan High Dam. The massive dam
created a reservoir, lake Nasser and 2 million acres of new farmland.
It made year round irrigation for farming possible.
After Nasser’s death the new president Anwar Sadat turned to the
policy of infitah or opening. His goal was to encourage foreign
investment and private business.
Sadat moved away from the Soviets and closer to the US. 1979 was
the year he became the first Arab leader to make peace with Israel.
Sadat made promises, but did not improve the lives of Egyptians. In
1981 Sadat was assassinated.
Unresolved Issues
Sadat’s successor was Hosni Mubarak. Farm output expanded, but it
could not keep up with the population boom. Many families that
streamed to Cairo ended up living in crowded slums.
Islamic organizations developed schools, medical services and relief
for the poor.
Iran: Goals for the Revolution
The discovery of vast oil fields made Iran a focus for British, Soviet
and US interests. In 1945 Muhammad Reza Pahlavi was backed by the
west, but faced opposition from groups at home. Iranian parliament
voted to nationalized the oil industry.
He used oil wealth to build roads and industries. He granted women
rights and redistributed some land to the peasants. He reduced the
power of the Ulama or Islamic Scholars, teachers and legal experts.
Unrest grew and his Savak or secret police arrested, tortured or
executed opponents, especially members of the left wing groups.
In the 1970’s Shiites rallied leaders like Ayatollah Ruhollah
Khomeini. He accused the government of violating Islamic law. The
Ulama returned to guide leaders of a new Islamic republic that would
restore the Sharia to the center of Iranian life. The revolutionaries
banned western books, music and movies. He also abolished all
previous legislature favoring women.
Section 4: The Middle East and
the World
During the Cold War, the United States fought communist threats
in Turkey and backed the anti-communist Shah of Iran, while the
Soviet Union found allies in the four Middle Eastern countries of
Iraq, Syria, Egypt, and Libya.
The Arab Israeli Conflict
In 1967, Israel won the Golan Heights from Syria, East Jerusalem
and the West Bank from Jordan, and the Gaza strip and Sinai
Peninsula from Egypt. Israel refused to give up these territories until
Arab nations recognized Israel’s right to exist.
Meanwhile, the Palestine Liberation Organization waged guerrilla
war against Israelis both at home and abroad.
When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the peace process was
accelerated because with soviet aid some Arab governments
accepted the need for negotiation with Israel.
In 1993 a historic agreement was signed between Israel and the PLO.
People on both sides criticized the agreement as world leaders
worked hard to bring peace to the region.
Civil War in Lebanon
In Lebanon, the government depended on a delicate balance among
Maronites (a Christian sect), Sunni and Shiite Muslims, Druze (a sect
derived from Islam) and others. When Muslims began to
outnumber Maronites, unrest spread. In 1975, civil war broke out in
Lebanon. Not until 1990 did Lebanese leaders finally restore some
Two Wars In The Persian Gulf
In the Persian Gulf, tensions were fed by Border dispute, oil wealth,
foreign intervention and ambitious rulers. Then, in 1980, Iraqi
dictator Saddam Hussein attacked Iran. The war lasted eight years
and both sides suffered heavy casualties. Hussein again acted
aggressively in 1990, when he sent Iraqi troops into Kuwait. United
States President George Bush organized American, European, and
Arab forces to drive Iraq out of Kuwait. For years after the war, UN
economic sanctions stopped Iraq from selling its oil abroad. The
goal was to force Hussein to cease his chemical and nuclear
Section 4 Review of Terms and
Yitzhak Rabin Israeli prime minister who signed an
agreement giving Palestinians limited self-rule
PLO Organization that waged guerrilla war against
Intifada Uprising of Palestinian youths
Yasir Arafat Leader of the PLO
Questions 1 and 2
The main course of the Arab-Israeli conflicts from 1948 to 1973 was the clash
Islamic Fundamentalism and Orthodox Judaism
Arab socialism and Israeli capitalism
Arab nationalism and Jewish nationalism
Israeli technology and Saudi Arabian economic goals
In Iran, the Revolution of 1979 and the rise of Islamic fundamentalism resulted in
an increase in woman’s rights
the westernisation and modernization of the nation
a return to many traditional customs
the introduction of a democratic form of government
Questions 3 and 4
Israel is a country that has
an abundance of oil
a democratically elected government
Islam as its official religion
friendly ties to Jordan
The 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran was a reaction to the failure of Shah Reza Pahlavi
modernize the nation’s economy
meet the social and political needs of the people
establish political ties with western nations
supply the military with advanced weapons technology
Question 5
The actions of most Islamic fundamentalists show that they support
a Zionist movement
equal rights for women
traditional Muslim teachings
a renewed attempt at modernization
Answers 1-3
Question 1: Correct Answer Number: 3
Explanation: The Arab-Israeli conflict stems from the division of Palestine
by the United Nations in 1947. Separate Jewish and Arab states were
created. The Jews accepted this plan, while the Arabs did not. Shortly after,
the Jews created the state of Israel, which caused all of the neighbouring
Arab nations to attack. There has been nearly constant warfare in this
region since the creation of Israel.
Question 2: Correct Answer Number: 3
Explanation: The revolution of 1979 ended the westernisation and
modernization of Iran, and set up a traditional government and society
based upon the Koran.
Question 3: Correct Answer Number: 2
Explanation: Israel’s government is a Parliamentary Democracy.
Answers 4-5
Question 4: Correct Answer Number: 2
Explanation: Shah Reza Pahlavi westernised and modernized Iran. However,
he ruled as a dictator, often violating his people’s civil rights in an effort to
stay in power. This ultimately led to the revolution that removed him from
Question 5: Correct Answer Number: 3
Explanation: Islamic fundamentalism is a movement to reject
westernisation and return to a more tradition society based upon the

Chapter 35 South Asia & The Middle East