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This partition of 1947>>> BBC report


 

The terrible violence that accompanied the birth pangs of the two states from the ashes of empire is an inevitable theme in much commentary. What is being less addressed amid the profusion of human stories and what this article considers - is whether the problems of communal division in the sub-continent were or are best addressed by the partition of territory.

The bare details of 1947 and its legacy are stark. The territorial partition that created modern India and Pakistan involved the internal division of Punjab and Bengal provinces, which - in unimaginable conditions of collapse of authority, flight, and massacre - resulted in the forced movement of 20 million people (Hindus and Sikhs to India and Muslims to Pakistan) and approximately 1.5 million deaths.

This partition 1947 created both a harvest of bitterness and the basis for further conflict. In 1970-71, Pakistan itself was further divided as East Pakistan became the new state of Bangladesh, a process attended by an enormous human tragedy of war and famine.