Hindustan attained its freedom after 150 years of the British Raj. The partition of British India created two dominions – India, which today is the Republic of India and Pakistan, which today is the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and People’s Republic of Bangladesh. Upon the India Pakistan partition, Pakistan became the Muslim homeland and India has become a secular country. The India-Pakistan partition has proved to be costly for many as thousands of people which also included women and children were killed and millions of people refugees overnight. Punjab region was the worst affected which faced the religious riots leading to chaos and bloodshed. The India-Pakistan partition triggered the largest mass migration in the world history.
Here is a list of 10 unknown facts about the India-Pakistan partition that might shock you:
- The estimated loss of life during the India-Pakistan partition is about 1 million. For Punjab alone, it was about 5,00,000 – 8,00,000 people who lost their lives. Millions became homeless.
- The Radcliffe Line (its western part is the India-Pakistan border while the eastern part is the India-Bangladesh border) which is the demarcation line between India and Pakistan was named after Cyril Radcliffe, the British lawyer who was charged with dividing the 450,000 km square territory impartially. Ironically, Radcliffe had never been to India earlier.
- Cyril Radcliffe and the other commissioners only had the geographical layout of the territory and no special knowledge that was needed for the task. They had about only 5 weeks to complete the given task. The two nations were divided on the basis of religions, castes, and maps.
- Pakistan became independent on 14th August while India got independence on 15th August but the border between the two countries was announced on 17th August 1947.
- Mahatma Gandhi – the Father of the Nation was not present in Delhi at the time of the partition. He was in Calcutta, on the day of independence where he seeks to restore peace between the Hindus and the Muslims and prayed to stop the communal killings.
- Initially, the people in the Muslim-dominated districts of Bengal – Murshidabad, and Malda had no idea that they were a part of India hence put Pakistani flags on their houses.
- The Shakargarh tehsil of Punjab’s Gurdaspur became a part of Pakistan, as majority of people were Muslims. In fact, the Ahmadi populations there are not considered as Muslims in Pakistan.
- Chittagong which is now in Bangladesh became a part of Pakistan back then in spite of having only 2% population of Muslim.
- It was Muhammad Ali Jinnah who had this dream of creating a separate nation exclusively for the Muslims and wanted to be its supreme leader. But barely after a year of the independence, Muhammad Ali Jinnah died in September 1948 as he was suffering from Pneumonia which back then had no good treatment.
- The state of Jammu and Kashmir, back then governed by Maharaja Hari Singh, which shares its border with Pakistan, was given options to select which side to join. Pakistan believed that Jammu and Kashmir should belong to them since it had a large number of Muslim populations. However, in October 1947, the Hindu Maharaja finally decided to make Jammu & Kashmir a part of India.