Pakistan is celebrating 75 years of its independence, with India to follow a day later. But behind these celebrations lie countless stories of pain and tragedy – arising from what is known in the sub-continent as the ‘Partition of India’. The border determining this was finalized 75 years ago.
These are the lines a British Lawyer, Sir Cyril Radcliffe drew across the map of British India to create India and Pakistan. Pakistan itself divided into East and West Pakistan.
In creating Hindu majority India and Islamic Pakistan, conditions were set for mass migration and religious pogroms. Some 12 million people found themselves on the wrong side of a line that divided nations along religious lines. Hindus in newly created Pakistan fled to India and Muslims in the opposite direction. Up to a million people were massacred in the ensuing violence.
It is a story of shared violence, among Pakistanis and Indians. As both countries head into independence day celebrations, its worth hearing from those who witnessed these new nations being born – amidst the carnage, as well as the promise of a better future.
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