INDIA, August 3, 2022 (National Geographic): The end of British colonial rule birthed two sovereign nations—but hastily drawn borders caused simmering tensions to boil over. 75 years later, memories of Partition still haunt survivors. Wiithin hours, the long-awaited transition of power—and the partition of India into two nations, majority-Hindu India and majority-Muslim Pakistan—had become a nightmare as simmering secular tensions, stoked by divisive colonial rule, boiled over. Hundreds of thousands of Indians and Pakistanis’ lives were disrupted—or ended—during what is now known as Partition. On its surface, the August 1947 creation of two self-governing nations was a victory for those who longed for self-determination. But simmering secular tensions and a severely mismanaged transition turned Britain’s historic exit from the colony into a bloodbath.

Partition’s roots date back to the 17th century, when the British East India Company, a private company that traded in Indian riches like spices and silks, began acquiring Indian land, taking over local governments, and making laws that flew in the face of longstanding cultural traditions. As Britain drained India of its wealth and profited from its natural resources, it subdivided 60 percent of the nation into provinces and recognised a patchwork of hundreds of pre-existing “princely states,” autonomous entities overseen by local rulers. To preserve its dominance, the British Raj deliberately emphasized differences between religious and ethnic communities. As geographer A.J. Christopher explains, colonial administrators used traits like religion and skin color to segregate and isolate their subjects. They eventually established a limited political role for Indians—but the process for getting those positions often pitted Hindus and Muslims against one another. What Britain cast as a triumph was actually the beginning of the largest human migration in history and one of humanity’s most brutal episodes. Uncertain about where the borders had been drawn—and which country they currently lived in—as many as 18 million people packed up their belongings and set out to reach the “right” country.

Read this lengthy report on Partition from India’s point of view at source.