Online History Simulation: Mid-1940s India Conference by the Buddhists, Hindus, and Muslims

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Online History Simulation: Mid-1940s India Conference by the Buddhists, Hindus, and Muslims

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Before the horrific partition of India in 1947 with the deaths of nearly one million Hindus and Muslims, students serve as members of the India Conference to find a more peaceful solution. They are randomly assigned to one of three negotiation teams representing leaders from the Buddhists, Hindus, and Muslims. Students know the decisions made will be important for cultural harmony in the region. Students are to focus on the needs of their religious identity group and also consider the greater good for all current citizens. Among the questions that this simulation explores is whether there were alternatives to the terrible consequences to the power vacuum within India when the British departed and the U.N. decision to create Pakistan without adequate safeguards for safe passage, resolving land ownership, and simply the emotional trauma of splitting apart families, friends, and ethnic group that had lived together for centuries. Over the years, students in this simulation have created options for India preserving its current boundaries and more often actions to spin off one or more new countries. Despite India being composed of many ethnic groups, this simulation focuses only on the Buddhists, Hindus, and Muslims. The bargaining positions for these three groups are sometimes more dramatic than reality simply to create a more energized negotiation environment. Many other ethnic groups would have been possibilities, but sake of simplicity only three groups were selected for the history simulation. The simulation receives approval by the students. As noted above, an evaluation form is completed by the students. It is partially a reflection on what they learned and partially an evaluation with suggestions to change. Often, those changes are reflected in the curriculum which is updated annually. This simulation has been used each semester for over one year. It has been effectively used in face-to-face and online classes of 30. They often share comments similar to face-to-face Yalta Conference negotiations simulation, some students find this activity a stretch since it relies on creative writing which is unfamiliar for some.


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Arendale, D. R., & Ghere, D. (2018). Mid-1940s India Conference online history simulation among the Buddhists, Hindus, and Muslims. Unpublished manuscript. Department of Curriculum and Instruction, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN. doi:10.13140/RG.2.2.15588.94088 Available online:

Suggested citation

Arendale, David. (2018). Online History Simulation: Mid-1940s India Conference by the Buddhists, Hindus, and Muslims. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy, 10.13140/RG.2.2.15588.94088.

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