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Partition of India

70 years

Independence for India and Pakistan

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The end of British rule in India

On 15 August 1947 India regained its independence and 200 years of British rule came to an end.

The Radcliffe Line was drawn to separate the officially Muslim Dominion of Pakistan and East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) from the officially secular Union of India. This partition sparked the largest mass migration in history, with between 10 and 12 million people displaced. At least one million people died from religious violence across the region. Although Viceroy Louis Mountbatten originally planned to leave in 1948 he brought the date forward to August, and the British left the fledgling governments in a state of civil unrest.

Seventy years after independence the legacy of partition lives on in both the histories of families displaced at the time and territory disputes, in particular the region of Kashmir, that remain unresolved to this day.

Mountbatten addressing the Independence Day assembly
Quote of the week

“A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance.”

Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India

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