76 Years on, there is still much learning to be done

In August 1947, after long years of bitter struggle, India and Pakistan finally won their freedom as new independent countries. New democracies were born, people found their voice and were finally able to determine their own destiny.

However, at the same time, there is a bitter-sweet quality to the remembrance. In his speech of August 1947, Pandit Nehru, India’s first Prime Minister spoke of the ‘labour pains of the birth of freedom’. He was referring to the violent rupture of partition, the bloody fracture of the Indian subcontinent into two independent states: a Hindu-majority India and the Muslim-majority Pakistan. This sparked one of the largest migrations in human history. Overnight friends became enemies, terrible scenes of murder left countless dead and countless lives completely shattered, with over million people killed. All suffered. Though amidst the horror, there were acts of kindness and humanity. These memories, both good and bad, must be passed down; almost all Partition survivors have already died, and now, more than ever, there is real urgency to listen and to honour these memories.

We must continue to talk about one of the most tumultuous events of the twentieth century so that we can ensure that such horrors don’t happen again. For anyone looking to learn or read more on Partition, this page holds a series of resources, for all ages, created by people knowledgeable and knowing about such matters. It is by no means definitive – we have simply found them to be useful, inspiring and accessible.

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