Remembering the great divide
Rethinking India and Pakistan’s shared history beyond the legacy of the 1947 Partition.
The anniversary of Pakistan and India’s independence from the British in 1947 is separated by a mere 24 hours. Pakistanis celebrate on the 14th of August and Indians on the 15th. For many on both sides, conversations around independence are dominated by a sense of national pride. For others, however, independence is more about the tragedy of Partition and how its memories shaped the modern-day dynamics in the region.
For nearly a millennium, Sikhs, Hindus and Muslims lived side by side across the Indian subcontinent. But with Partition, these communities turned on each other in a terrifying outbreak of violence. Partition also brought about one of the biggest migrations in modern history. Millions of Muslims moved to what are known today as Pakistan and Bangladesh and millions of Sikhs and Hindus to modern day India. Hundreds of thousands did not finish their journeys. By 1948, more than fifteen million people had been uprooted and nearly two million dead.
The 1947 Partition manifests itself today in therocky relationship between the two nuclear-armed South Asian neighbours. The two sides have had a long and complicated history with each other, with periodic cross border attacks,water dispute, and an ongoing conflict over Kashmir.
In this episode, we discuss the legacy of the 1947 Partition and the efforts being made by some to rethink India and Pakistan’s shared history. Join the conversation at 19:30 GMT.
In this episode of The Stream, we speak with:
Qasim Aslam @qasim_aslam
Co-founder, The History Project
Guneeta Singh Bhalla @1947Partition
Founder and Executive Director, The 1947 Partition Archive
Nisid Hajari @NisidHajari
Author, Midnight’s Furies: The Deadly Legacy of India’s Partition
Amber Abbas @AHASouthAsia
Assistant Professor of History, St. Joseph University