The Cost of Independence - Talha Hasan
15 August 1947. A historical day in the Indian subcontinent. It was the day India gained independence from the British at the cost of partition.
India was split into two countries. A Muslim majority Pakistan and a Hindu majority India. The partition still affects the region to this day. But why did it happen?
The British conquered the region in the 18th century. Soon after establishing the British Raj, the British began a policy of Divide and Rule.
Hindus were the largest religious group in India. Muslims were the largest minority. There were also many other religious groups such as Christians, Buddhists, Zoroasteraians, Jains, Sikhs and Jews. The British divided them. Even water had religion in undivided India. There were separate electorates for religious groups. They had to study in different schools. The British divided communities that used to live together in harmony.
Mahatma Gandhi, the father of all Indians, didn't want independence at the cost of partition. Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, asserted that the division created by the British is too deep to repair. He proposed the Two-Nation Theory. According to the theory, Hindus and Muslims are two separate nations and they must be separated to have peace.
In the end, the British declared India would be partitioned into two separate countries. Riots broke out all over the place. More than a million people died in the aftermath of the partition. 10 to 20 million people were displaced. A hastily drawn line on a map by the British divided millions of families. India gained independence and India burned.
The partition changed the subcontinent forever. The horrors of the partition still reflect. India and Pakistan have gone to war four times. What awaits in the future only God knows. The British came to one of the richest places in the world, divided and destroyed it. The ghosts of the partition can never go away unless India and Pakistan decide to put the conflicts away and focus on peace. However, peace is not near as the present becomes past. India and Pakistan have to go a long way if they want peace. It's certainly not going to happen in the near future.