It seemed yesterday, when we were under the British crown until the midnight of August 14 of 1947, when the first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru announced during his speech about our freedom from the 190 years of British rule. When the whole world was sleeping, undivided Bharat was awakening out of joy of being free. That day, the Aazaan of Muslims and the bell of temples were heard at the same time. But, no one got offended, because, irrespective of religions, the prayers were heard.
But, all dreams were crushed down when Lord Mountbatten declared that our undivided country will be cut down into two pieces through the Indian Independence Act, 1947
into India and Pakistan. The partition involved the division of three provinces: Assam, Bengal and Punjab, based on the religious majorities among them. Radcliffe took only 5 days to design new fate of undivided Bhaarat. He marked 6,100 Kilometres of a religious border line not only in the map, but also in the minds of the people.
The communal clashes replaced the joy of freedom. Millions of Muslims started to migrate to Pakistan and same amount of people came to India, leaving everything, in the fear of unnatural death and rape. More than 83,000 women and girls were raped at that time. People became thirsty of blood and hungery for flesh for brother like anti- religious people. They had openly started carrying swords, guns and killed thousands of lives. Partition displaced over more than 14 million people, creating refugee crises in the newly constituted dominions. During the transition, trains, cars full of bodies arrived at railway stations in the twin cities of Lahore and Amritsar in the Province of Punjab, which was split down in the middle. The transition was chaotic. Trains, busses and cars were overloaded with the people, urging to cross the border. More than 15 million people crossed the border mostly on foot.
Soon, the borders of Pakistan and India were marked down with blood of both dominions’ people. Blood had nothing to deal with religion, but, yet, people were craving for each other’s blood at that period of time.
In the cost of millions of lives and shattering thousands of dreams of freedom, both countries got its own territories and Constitutions. They forgot the Sepoy Movement of 1957, which they fought together. They forgot the fact that both Congress and Muslim League were able to weaken the British Empire, because of which British could not resist the demand for independence. By the end of the war, communal differences started growing and at the support of Jinna’s demand for having a separate State for Muslims were conceived by the Mountbatten plan.
King George VI remained the head of the state of India until the Constitution of India came into force, i.e. till 1950. Likewise, Pakistan remained under a Dominion of the Crown until 1956, when its Constitution came into action.
Apart from these two Dominions, Kashmir was trying to save itself from both of them. Both Dominions claimed to grab the whole Kashmir but wished to rule in parts. India and Pakistan is still fighting for it. However, it is parted through the Line of Control (LoC). It is an official name of the disputed frontier.
Since 1947, India and Pakistan have fought three wars, especially to acquire Kashmir on its own. However, both the nation are trying to trash the memories of partition into History, which is seen in the Wagah border at the time of sunset, where parade of patriotism of each border guards is seen daily, which in a mock confrontation, goose- step up to each other, stomp their feet and shout their lungs out during their daily retreat. Maybe, slowly but steadily, the memories of partition were fading and it’s high time to replace the bad memories with the good ones.
British have succeeded in sowing the seed of hatred among us in the name of religion. Even after more than 70 years of Independence, we are carrying this feeling in our hearts. The divisional line, which was drawn 70 years ago, yet it could not be rubbed from the minds of the citizens of both of the dominions.
Can’t we take a vow on this prestigious day of being free from all kinds of differences which are based on community, religion and embrace each other as brothers?
Written by- Anjilina Kalita
J.B Law College