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Partition; 75 years later

To commemorate 75 years since India’s partition and the creation of Pakistan it’s essential we revisit history.

In 1947, India split into two independent countries; the Hindu majority India and the Muslim majority Pakistan (with East Pakistan becoming Bangladesh at a later date). This came as an unexpected result of Britain’s haphazard plan to leave its colony after three centuries of control. This triggered one of the biggest migrations in history.

Whilst Partition marked freedom from being a British colony, it displaced millions and many people lost their lives. The violence of partition created hostility and religious division between India and Pakistan, one that affects relations between them to this day.

Remembering Partition

Whilst this day is celebrated as Pakistan and India’s independence day, it’s a bittersweet feeling for many as the sacrifice and pain of Partition is still felt within both communities. Many people lost their homes, people, languages and ways of life. Trauma from this is enough to be carried to future generations, despite not having experienced Partition first hand.

Whilst the severity and lasting effect of Partition may be reduced to a few lines in history textbooks, more community groups like @Partitioneducationgroup are coming to the forefront to share how life-changing Partition was, and petitioning for Partition to be added to the formal British curriculum.

Ahmed shared his thoughts.

As a second-generation British Indian, I have mixed feelings about both Independence Day of Pakistan and India. My father came over here in the 1960s because of the labour shortage. I was brought up in a predominantly Pakistani heritage community and so I suppose some of my culture is a mixture of both Pakistani and India.

I think that we would’ve been stronger as one country without our own subset of cultures and religions and we would have less animosity between the two countries.

Aqib, British Pakistani, also shares his thoughts.

My family were already settled in what is now Pakistan, so they never experienced the scramble for migration that many others did during Partition.

There was a time when everyone coincided and lived in harmony, now there is lots of tension in the communities. I personally think the creation of Pakistan was the best thing that happened.

Destruction in Amritsar, a city in Punjab, after communal riots in March 1947. Amritsar’s Muslims, who made up about half its population, left en masse during partition, which placed the city in India. [i]

Regardless of whether people view Partition as a good or bad thing, the remnants of the history will always remain with the South Asian community, and will be carried for generations to come.

To commemorate 75 years since Partition, Channel 4 have released a documentary ‘India 1947 – Partition in colour.’ You can access it here.

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