CLIO FINAL - page 15

“All too often they crossed the border in funereal
silence, blood seeping from under their carriage
doors.”
by Jinnah which they had opposed. Britain feared
having to referee a civil war, and so granted in-
dependence much quicker than hey had planned
and transferred power over 10 months earlier
than expected. When India was finally granted its
freedom in 1947 it was split by a British viceroy,
who based the borders on where the majority or
Muslims, and Hindus were - despite having very
little knowledge on the conditions in India - in
order to try and minimise blood shed between
the two religions. India was split into two independ-
ent nations: India and Pakistan. India contained the
Hindu majority, whilst Pakistan split into east – now
Bangladesh - and west, contained the majority of
Sikhs and Muslims.
This sudden change in power created chaos
across south Asia and what followed was one of the
greatest human tragedies in the twentieth centu-
ry. Thousands of Hindus were forced to flee their
homes, trekking for miles across the subcontinent
from Pakistan to India, whilst thousands of Mus-
lims were also forced to abandon their homes and
cross the border into Pakistan. During this period of
chaos, religious sentiment intensified and there was
very little way of maintaining order; consequently
violence grew. As Nisid Hajari writes, “Foot car-
avans of destitute refugees fleeing the violence
stretched for 50 miles and more. As the peasants
trudged along wearily, mounted guerrillas burst
out of the tall crops that lined the road and culled
them like sheep. Special refugee trains, filled
to bursting when they set out, suffered repeat-
ed ambushes along the way. All too often they
crossed the border in funereal silence, blood
seeping from under their carriage doors.”
Overall between 1 and 2 million died
in the bloody partition and up to 12 million
were displaced, creating a huge refugee crisis
in the newly parted subcontinent. To this day
the relationship between India and Pakistan
is plagued with the distrust and suspicion
caused by the scale of violence and hatred
sparked between them by the partition.
Lily Collins 10LT
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