Partition at 70: Half and half, but not yet whole

Being half-Indian and half-Pakistani, Independence Day for either of my homelands is always a day for celebration but upon reflection of the partition… I feel anything but.

Yesterday and today marks 70 years from the partition of what was then, British India. The largest forced mass migration in history with more than fifteen million people leaving their cities and towns, families being torn apart and lands that were homes for centuries being abandoned forever, occurring on the back of the culmination of centuries of British Rule in India, yet it remains a largely ignored part of British History. What will we do when it’s too late and those who have stories – no longer have the voice to tell them?

My maternal grandfather tells me how despite being only 12 years old during the partition, he remembers seeing dead bodies piled up at train stations. “People going berserk killing each other for no reason”, he continues, despite the fact that Lucknow, India, was free from riots, but it just makes me wonder. He stayed, and my late paternal grandparents in Mardan, Pakistan stayed, but so many others didn’t have that choice. There is nothing “happy” about the partition, there is nothing to celebrate. What I will celebrate is the independence from British rule, but what I won’t celebrate? I won’t celebrate the partition of a country which was once one yet forced into two and then three, thus fractured forever just like this picture.



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