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1947- Partition of India

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Title: 1947 - Partition of India

About: The division of British India into the independent nations of India and Pakistan  displaced between 10-12 million people along religious lines, creating an overwhelming refugee crises and triggering widespread violence.

In the post-war world, the march towards decolonization was in many ways an expedient choice for a weakened, weary and overextended British Empire. However, violent divisions between India's Hindu and Muslim communities, and Muslim League leader Mohammed Ali Jinnah's longstanding campaign for an Indian-Muslim political entity in the event of a British withdrawal, meant that India would have to be split into separate majority-Hindu and majority-Muslim countries.

The border between the future states of India and Pakistan was created under the supervision of Sir Cyril Radcliffe, a London barrister who was given only five weeks to draw the new borders. The sub-continent was divided roughly into a central and southern part, where Hindus formed the majority, and two parts in the north-west and north-east which were mostly Muslim. However, Hindu and Muslim communities were scattered throughout British India, so about 15 million people packed up and travelled, often hundreds of miles, to cross the new frontiers.

On the face of things, there was hope for optimism. India had finally gained independence, India's Muslim minority had its own independent state, and the British were in a position to leave their troublesome colonies behind.


However, such victories were incomplete: up to 17 million people were eventually displaced, and 1 million killed in the sectarian violence that followed partition. Terror groups would chase people out of their villages, to get more control for their own side. Gandhi, the emblematic leader of India's independence movement, was assassinated by a Hindu nationalist in January 1948 over his perceived sympathies toward India's Muslims. The rift between India and Pakistan continues to this day.  

Decade: 1940s

Year: 1947

Region: Asia

Country: India + Pakistan + UK

Politics: Imperialism

Society: Migration

Type: Historical Event

Impact: 10

Artist: Ianika Moreno


Group: Genesis

Number: 47/100

Price: 1 ETH


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